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Disney Pressed Penny Guide & Projects

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Some people call them “squishies” or “elongated coins”, but no matter what the name, pressed pennies are an inexpensive souvenir to bring home from your trip.  With so many varieties of the pennies to be found throughout the Walt Disney World Resort, they can be a lot of fun to collect too! 

So, where do you find them? and what do you do with them? Here is our guide to Pressed Penny Collecting, as well as some project ideas for your Pressed Pennies.

On the off chance that any of you reading this have absolutely no idea what a pressed penny is, here’s the deal.

A pressed penny is made by a machine that looks like this:

Insert your penny, and some money (50 cents on the older machines, more on the new ones) and the machine will drop your penny and press it with a cylinder that flattens the coin and imprints a design.

Your penny comes back to you looking like this:

Where to Find Pressed Penny Machines

These machines can be found throughout the parks and resorts in Walt Disney World and Disneyland.  Some are completely electronic and require you only to insert your coins and push a button.  Others have a hand crank you have to position over your choice prior to inserting your coins, and then crank yourself to do the pressing.  Both of these versions cost 50 cents for each penny you press. Personally, I think the crank is more fun, but that style seems to be in the minority.

Recently in Walt Disney World, we have seen newer machines that do not require coins at all. Instead, you can pay with a credit card and get one pressed “coin” for $1.00 or a whole set of 8 for $5.00.

In addition to the pennies, some machines allow you to press quarters or even dimes, and in Disneyland, even nickels.

Where to Keep Your Pressed Pennies

In most gift shops you will find penny press collection books for storing your coins.  Over the years I have filled nearly 5 of these books.

I pulled out my pressed penny books and did a quick count.  At present, I have 205 pressed pennies, and 10 pressed quarters.

That seems like a lot, but at Walt Disney World Resort alone there are nearly 200 pressed coin machines with over 500 different pressed penny designs and over 70 quarter and dime designs.

I don’t even have half, especially since I have some duplicates and a few non-Disney pennies. Plus, Disney does update the machines and designs every so often.

Hunting Down Pennies:

One of my big problems from trip to trip is remembering which pennies I have and which I don’t.  I don’t lug all my collection books with me, so I have to rely on memory, and that isn’t always reliable. 

Luckily for me, I’ve stumbled across some great resources online and even found some current checklists for pressed coins at WDW.  I’ve read you can obtain a list of pressed coin locations from Guest Services, but I’ve never tried. Thanks to the folks at https://www.presscoins.com/, however, I’ll be armed with a checklist for my next trip.  I just need to go through and mark off the ones I have already.

The other part of hunting down the penny machines is to be prepared with a stock of pennies and quarters for the machines.  Sometimes you can get change from a cashier, but I find it’s best to hand pick your pennies at home before you ever leave.  This way, you’ll have nice shiny pennies for use in the machines.

One of our Disney life hacks is to use a mini M&M container to carry your quarters and pennies.

Shine Your Penny With Ketchup

And if all you have are dull pennies, do not give up hope.  I was in this same situation last year at Hilton Head Island.  I came across a penny press machine and wanted to get one, but all I had was a couple of dull pennies.

I had read that you could clean a penny with ketchup.  So I grabbed a ketchup packet and some napkins from a nearby concession stand. Then I placed the penny in the napkin and covered it with ketchup.  I let it sit like that for about a minute, and then I rubbed the napkin all over it to remove the ketchup and what do you know, the penny was nice and shiny!! 

Other cleaning agents:

  • “Brasso” or other brand metal cleaner
  • Vinegar and Salt
  • Lemon and Salt
  • Pencil Eraser

Pressed Penny Projects

So other than keeping your pressed pennies in these little books, what else can you do with them?  Some very creative people have shared their ideas on the web, making artwork and jewelry from their pennies.

Here are a few ideas: 

  • Create a Mickey head shape and frame it
  • Earrings
  • Bracelet
  • Necklace
  • Lapel Pins
  • Magnet
  • Bookmark
  • Money clip

DIY Pressed Penny Bracelet

I decided to give it a try, and turn a couple of my pressed pennies into bracelets.

My first objective was to get holes into my penny.  I bought a very small drill from the jewelry section in the craft store.  It cost me $4, and it’s just like a precision screwdriver, but it has a drill bit instead of a screwdriver head.  A little pressure while twisting was all I needed to get a small hole in my penny.

I also bought a length of copper chain and some assorted connectors.  With those in hand, I measured out some of the chain, connected it to my penny, and added a claw clamp to one end.

I then made another for my daughter, using an Ariel penny she picked out.

Not too shabby.  I think I may have found an idea for one of our Fish Extender gifts on next year’s cruise.

DIY Alex & Ani Pressed Penny Bracelet

After my success with the simple bracelets, I decided to try and Alex & Ani style creation.

What do you think?  Has this inspired you to do something with your Disney pressed pennies?  If you didn’t have any, are you thinking of getting some next time you see a pressed penny machine? 

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