My family travels a lot – I’d visited 50+ countries and all seven continents before I left high school. One of my favorite things I’ve collected on nearly all of these trips is foreign currency. Until recently, the coins and bills all lived in a box in a cabinet in my parents’ house. I had my parents bring them up last time they visited (thanks!) so I could try out this idea I’d seen (on pinterest, of course), but with a couple tweaks.
fyi: you can click on this picture to see more detail
First, I got to sort through my coins and pick out which ones I wanted in each frame. I love how there’s such a huge variety – round, square, decagons and wavy edges; some with holes in the middle; from 0.5″ to 1.25″ in diameter; and decorated with animals, people, buildings, flourishes, hearts, and flowers. I picked out at least one from each country I had coins from, and added more that I thought were especially interesting/pretty or were from special countries like Japan and the Cayman Islands (where we went on our honeymoon). I thought it was neat to be able to include coins from countries like Germany and France that now use the Euro instead, and I also added a wheat penny and a couple other odd coins that had found their way into my coin stash like an NYC metro token.
I love the tutorial from Turning Stones, but she glued the coins to the frame backing which I really wanted to avoid. The first thing I tried was just setting all the coins in the frame and using a sturdy backing (plexiglass) to keep the coins alligned. This worked ok, but because the coins are such different thicknesses, some of them slipped past each other and others were clearly at a wonky angle. It took several tries, but I eventually found a way to keep the coins in place and flat against the frame.
What I finally found that worked out the best was to stack the coins in the frame, and then back them with a piece of black flannel (just for a nice looking background) and then a piece of high-loft quilt batting (leftover from my tufted headboard). The batting did a fantastic job of applying just enough pressure to the backs of the coins to keep thin ones from sliding past each other or resting at an angle, while being thin enough for the back of the frame to close up and lay flat. The frames I used were one’s my parents had gotten rid of and didn’t have backs anyways, but I think a new sturdier back is important for keeping the coins from sliding. I got a piece of thin (about 0.1 in) thick 11×14″ sheet of acrylic from home depot for $4 and cut it to size (10″x13″) with one of these knives. Since that was the only thing that wasn’t free for this project, I’m pretty happy with that.
Now I just need to find something to do with the bills – which are Eddie’s favorites. I love being able to display collections – I feel like we have way too much stuff that is cool and meaningful that sits in a box or a closet. If you have any other cool collection display ideas, I’d love to see/hear about them!