Thursday, November 1, 2012

“Minting” Our Own Coin

I’m pretty sure that my son is the only coin collector in the second grade at his elementary school. He finds money fascinating and since so much can be learned through the exercise of collecting coins (all the 50 states, the national parks, presidential history, etc.), it’s a hobby that my husband and I have encouraged.

I knew my son would go crazy for this coin craft. I was right.

Here’s the supply list:
1 sheet 6 mm craft foam (any color)
1 sheet of thin craft foam (any color)
A few sheets of dimensional letter stickers (we used foam stickers; thicker is better)
A silhouette-style photo of your child
Glue stick
Heavy-duty aluminum foil
Spray glue
Black permanent marker

Before we got started, we read a great book about money, narrated by a cartoon version of Abraham Lincoln. Did you know Honest Abe had a sense of humor? According to author Jack Silbert, he did! The book Honest Abe’s Funny Money Book is a must-read for kids interested in money. It contains:
  • A timeline of the history of money (e.g. 3,200 years ago, people in China used shells as money).
  • LOADS of historical facts (e.g. George Washington is on the quarter; he was the only president that was elected unanimously twice!)
  • Corny jokes, such as “What did the dollar bill say to the four quarters? ANSWER: I can change!”
Thanks to a little checklist in the book, we also learned the six things on every coin, including the phrase E PLURIBUS UNUM, the coin’s value, and the year it's made.

We were ready to make our own coin now!

I cut a big circle out of the thick foam. We cut out the silhouette of my son’s face, traced it onto the thin craft foam, and glued it in the center of the “coin.” Then he stuck on foam letter stickers. When my son was done decorating the coin, I took it outside and sprayed it with a can of spray glue (Remember: ALWAYS do this in a well ventilated area). Now we covered the “heads” side of the coin with a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil.

We gently rubbed the coin to depress all the areas of foil and outlined everything in black permanent marker to make it even more visible.

After the leftover foil was folded around the back of the coin, we trimmed it, leaving ¼ inch excess to cover the edge of the coin.

For the tails side of the coin, I sketched an eagle onto thin foam and an extra shield to put atop of it for added dimension. My son also wanted to add a banner. Cut out, glue on, add some more letter stickers, a circle of foil and VOILA! Our coin is almost done! Just shoot it with spray glue, smooth the foil down, and trace around the relief with marker.

I have it on good authority that this is the best coin to use for a heads/tails tie-breaker!


  1. You have THE best ideas. Thanks for sharing them.

  2. Hi! I just wanted to thank you for mentioning my book, I really appreciate it! (I actually just got back from seeing the Lincoln movie--he makes a couple of jokes in there too!) I would mention my sort-of sequel, Honest Abe's Guide to Presidential Elections, but that would be shameless self-promotion. So I'll just say that i LOVE this coin-making activity!! Take care and happy holidays!