Pennies are little more than a pittance in your pocket, but they do have uses.
Here are 10 things you can do with pennies other than put them in a jar.
1. Use them as a tire tread gauge
Hold a penny with Lincoln’s head facing toward the rim of the wheel and place it between several of the grooves in your tire. If you can still see his head and read most of “In God We Trust,” you’ll know your tires are wearing low and need to be replaced.
2. Weigh down your curtains
If you’re tired of the wafting of your lacy, gently wafting curtains, pennies can help you keep them in place.
Glue a few pennies to a paper clip and slide it onto either edge of the bottom of the fabric. Crisis averted.
3. Use them as washers
Considering a standard washer will set you back all of $0.33 each, you can save some change by simply punching a hole through the center of a stack of pennies and using them as washers.
4. Shims for wobbly tables or chair
If you’ve got a table or chair that wobbles, pennies can be used to fix it. Find the short leg(s) that’re causing it to bounce around and glue as many pennies to the bottom of each leg as needed to keep it stable.
5. Use as a makeshift screwdriver
In a pinch, a penny becomes a remarkably effective flathead screwdriver for wide-grooved screws, and a great tool to pry open battery compartments on everything from your TV remote to a keyless entry fob.
6. Make a cold pack
If you’re prone to bumps and bruises, you should keep a cold pack in your freezer. They are an effective way to reduce the swelling on an injury.
You can make your own with an old sock or cotton sack and a whole bunch of pennies. Pour them into the sock, tie it up, and pop it in the freezer. When you take them out, the pennies will form around the leg or arm, and they stay cold for a long time.
7. Save a glass of wine
Finding your wine has gone over is enough to drive you to…more wine.
Wine goes over because volatile sulfur compounds (mercaptans and thiols) form when the chemicals in the wine react with oxygen. However, the wine can be saved by a clean copper penny; just make sure it is dated 1982 or earlier (anything after this date is made mostly of zinc).
Pop the penny in your glass of wine and give it a stir. The sulfur in the wine will bond with the copper in the penny, creating copper sulfide (which has no smell).
8. Keep flowers fresh
A similar chemical process can help keep flowers fresh. Take a pre-1982 penny (real copper instead of the current zinc sandwich), plus a cube of sugar, add both to the vase and add water and flowers. The copper from the penny acts as a natural fungicide, which helps keep your flowers free from yeasts and bacteria.
9. Create tap shoes for kids
If your kid wants to experiment with tap, but you’re not sure if it’s something that’ll go as far as lessons and commitment, this is a fun way to play with the idea.
Find an old pair of shoes or sneakers that are not being used. Find some good, industrial-strength glue, and affix three to five pennies on the front part of the sole, and two to four on the back. Let the glue dry, and you have a pair of tap shoes that sound great on hard surfaces.
10. Make buttons
Pennies can become a fun accessory for coats, jackets, and bags.
First, decide if you want the pennies to look worn and dated, or shiny and new. You can get brand new pennies from banks, or shine your own by popping them in a bowl filled with vinegar and a little salt.
When you have the pennies ready, drill two small holes side-by-side in the center. Now, sew them onto your garment.