Chris Slade after completing her penny floor

A penny saved is a penny earned: Retired university lecturer made the most out of lockdown by transforming her dining room floor into being covered entirely out of 30,000 British pennies. Charlotte Lockie spoke to Chris Slade on her inspirations for fabricating the idea, as well as some tips and tricks for guiding you through making one yourself.

With the UK being in its third lockdown, baking banana bread and 5K runs aren’t only on the agenda this time round, but with people spending more time in their homes, it’s a dangerous place for thinking, due to the constant revamping and renovating of each room in your house. However, here’s a penny for your thoughts, have you ever decided on creating a penny floor?

Chris Slade, 62, has lived in Nottingham for 30 years and was involved in senior management and higher education, being an academic lecturer at Nottingham Trent University in psychology.

Though, as a consequence of Chris having an auto immune disease, Polymyalgia, which includes symptoms of joint and muscle stiffness, she sadly had to retire due to her illness.

Chris in the middle of the process during the UK’s third Lockdown

Therefore, with the UK in a lockdown, once again, Chris decided to not halt the years of plans to revamp her old dining laminate and convert it into a thousand-pound floor – quite literally.

She stated, ‘I had been meaning to do it for years but this second lockdown got to me and I thought, I am going to have to have a project otherwise I’m going to go mad.’

Chris explained how her inspirations for the project evolved four years ago, after her friend, who is a property developer down in Portsmouth, posted the idea of a penny floor on her Facebook page, making her immediately think, ‘I’d love to do that, what a brilliant idea,’ Chris stated.

The process began with Chris collecting thousands of pennies, with a little help from friends, family and even the local post office.

The jar of thousands of pennies being saved for the flooring before the start of the process

‘Every time I went to the post office, I would buy stamps costing me £12 and ask for all change to be in pennies,’ Chris said.

After three years passing since her light bulb moment and on the third lockdown of the pandemic, Chris had finally measured up and saved thousands of pennies that were needed to construct the incredible transformation of her dining room.

She expressed the extent of her project, explaining that, ‘I actually needed more than I thought, so I had these huge Sainsburys bags in the back room, full to the top of pennies, ready for me to get to work.’

“What a brilliant idea”
Chris Slade

With an auto-immune disease, a pandemic and millions of Netflix series to binge watch on television, Chris didn’t let anything get in the way of her succeeding the image of a new floor that she thought of many years ago.

‘Lockdown definitely made me think I have to do something, rather than just sitting and watching Netflix and drinking wine,’ Chris said.

30,000 pennies and two pairs of trousers covered in glue later, Chris had managed to completely modify and refurbish her whole dining room floor into an incredible copper shrine.

Tip: Paint your floor in a dark colour beforehand

After the success of the development, she has left some tips and tricks to show you how to create one.

Chris Slade’s tips and tricks to make the famous penny floor:

  • First stage is to make sure to take up all of your old flooring
  • Make sure to plan ahead, in terms of time and how many coins you will need
  • The next stage is to clean your saved pennies, by using a mixture of malt vinegar and salt
  • Put them in the mixture for ten minutes, which should strip off all the tarnish on them
  • Then rinse and rinse, until their shine shows
  • Thoroughly dry them
Chris shows us how the process was going throughout

The next stages are vital in making the floor look effective:

  • Put a dark paint underneath the penny floor to give it a contrast (Chris painted her floor black as there are gaps in between the pennies)
  • Cover the floor in a glue called ‘Epoxy Resin’ (‘mix 100 grams of it, however, it is only useable for 45 minutes until it starts to set,’ says Chris)
  • Pour over the section you are doing and fix the pennies in place
  • When completely covered in the pennies, put an ‘Epoxy Resin’ seal on it, (Chris has stated that she, ‘used a bucket full and an old wallpaper roller that you would use for a ceiling to make sure it is all sealed and filled.’
  • You then end up with a smooth, shining surface, looking like a tiled floor.

Chris continued to highlight her suggested tips and tricks would be:

‘It is very messy, the glue gets everywhere and it definitely takes time, but get the music on and just do it bit by bit. I really enjoyed doing it,’ She expressed.

Looking to future projects, Chris has specified that she is a very passionate gardener and has highlighted that she has decorated around each room of her house already; therefore, could her next venture entail something out of champagne or prosecco corks?

‘I have a jar full of champagne corks I have kept, so something creative with these is a must for my next project,’ she says.

By Charlotte Lockie