"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Kitchen splashback

The state of the wall around the kitchen sink after living in the house for over 2 years is not acceptable.  Yes, mess happens, especially round the sink area.  I decided that it was definitely time to remedy the situation.
The kitchen sink area - a stunning view out of
 the window, but inside left much to be desired
   - it lacked a certain "je ne sais quoi"
Some of my new followers haven't seen some pictures that inspired me and about which I posted back in December 2011.

I just loved the "historical" look of the concept - the idea of leaving a permanent historical memento in the farmhouse.

This is what I am talking about...
A copper coin wall feature...
...and a copper coin floor.
Thankfully, RMan shared my attraction for the concept.

Well, I have been collecting copper coins since then.  To cover the area I estimated that we needed a couple of thousand of them.

But, coins don't come clean.  They come in all different shades of copper and various stages of cleanliness...
Some of the copper coins before they were cleaned
... so they needed cleaning :)  (As you can tell from the date on the photo's this process was started last year.)

Naturally, Google to the rescue again - "how to clean copper coins" was the search phrase.
Copper coins in vinegar
The toxic chemical abrasive agents were at the top of the lists.  Nope - not for me thanks.  The most eco-friendly ways I could find were to clean them in 1) vinegar, 2) tomato sauce and 3) coke.

So, first I tried vinegar...

... but it turned the coins a dull pink.

I didn't have commercial tomato sauce, and I'm not sacrificing my homemade sauce for this.

So, next up was...
Copper coins in flat coke
 ... placing some coins in coke.  We always have some coke on hand for instances of upset tummies (flat coke).  This method of cleaning the coins took much longer (3 - 5 hours of soaking) than the vinegar method, but did clean the coins more sparkly and to a more natural copper colour.
From left to right:
copper coins cleaned by the coke and
copper coins cleaned by the vinegar.

 The coke coins have a visible glow, whilst
the vinegar coins are dull
Three days of soaking a number of batches later...

...clean(er) coins :)
The copper coins, for the most part,
 cleaned up very nicely
Then RMan and I took the measurements.
Measurements of the
two areas next to the
kitchen sink
Then, we (well actually RMan) got to work on the plywood that we had purchased.
The measurements were
transferred to the plywood
Thank goodness RMan had
the angle grinder to complete
the task
The measurements were transferred to the plywood.  Not being too keen on woodwork, RMan doesn't have a jigsaw, and his circular saw gave up half way through the task (talk about planned obsolescence), so he resorted to using his angle grinder for the last small section(s).

Then, a retaining edge was tacked to the edge of the plywood, firstly to secure the coins, and secondly to retain the resin compound once it was poured onto the coins.
A retaining lip was added
to the plywood to prevent the

resin from seeping out
Some of the clean coins in a bag -
waiting to be placed on the plywood
So, when all of that was finished, I got busy with the bag full that I had collected - and started placing the coins on the plywood.

We decided, for history's sake, to leave the coins with the date facing upwards.

The result?
The way the light is reflected off the copper coin
splashback is gorgeous.  Isn't is funny how one
always "collects" containers near a sink - water jug,
bicarb in sprinkle bottle, vinegar pray, dishwash,
handwash, handcream.
 Stunning!  We love it :)
View of the splashback from the upstairs
mezzanine passage
The long section took 1390 coins, and the shorter section used just over 500 coins.

It was a lovely project to handle - RMan and I doing our creative thing together.  And getting down to it when it is getting chilly outside - the timing was perfect :)

Call all this work an investment LOL  Not only have we created a more pleasing feature of a utility area, but, with the value of the coins used, we have just increased the value of this house by roughly ZAR94.50  ($7.93 / £5.13 / 7.06)  Wow - how extravagant of us! Bwahahahaha...

The final question is : do we need coke in the house - even for upset tummies - if this is what happens to copper coins.  What is it doing to our stomachs overnight...?


  1. That is a beautiful backsplash! and for less than $10. Well plus the plywood & resin cost. We drink ginger ale (carbonated) for upset tummies. Probably not so good for us either but it does help.

    1. DFW - Thanks :) The plywood we had in the garage. The resin - yup, that cost extra. But we have more than enough left to do anything we want with it lol

  2. Dani-I love it! Now that is using your imagination. Can you imagine what copper sheeting would have cost? This is also a GREAT conversation starter.
    Have a good weekend

    1. Sue - Unfortunately I can't claim imagination points - I was steered by others. Copper sheeting - that would've been horrifically expensive - if I could have found it?! Yeah, I reckon who ever lives here after we have left this moral coil will wonder... ;) At least they'll be able to put a date to the "improvements" lol

  3. What a great idea. And attractive as well. The imagination of some folks never ceases to amaze me. Well done!

    1. Thanks Vicki :) Yeah, I love other peoples ideas too ;)

  4. Love it, I've seen these on pinterest. Looks fantastic, well done!

    1. Kirsty - I haven't seen them on Pinterest - I must look :)

  5. All your hard work paid :) off. It looks stunning.

  6. Dani - it is absolutely stunning and so fits with the rest of your beautiful home! great job girl...and i think i just got an idea for my outdoor kitchen - woohoo!

    much love. your friend,

    1. kymber - Having it outdoors you'd probably get more "glow" in the sunlight - clever :)

  7. looks amazing. Love it!

  8. Very clever! How unique and I love the way you tried out different cleaning methods.

    1. Linda - I had to try and find the eco-friendliest method - using chemicals wasn't an option... ;)

  9. Replies
    1. Thanks Quinn. It does provide a bit of a glow in what is normally a very utilitarian area :)

  10. I love that idea. How pretty it is and yes, I bet that is the conversation starter of all conversation starters, ha. Was it hard to keep the coins in a straight line or since you started on the edge, was it easy to keep them all in rows as it went along?

    Nice job!!

    1. 1st Man - Thanks. We started at one corner and worked our way up the first row. Then on to the next row and down it, and the next row and up it, and so on and so on... Very easy to do - just time consuming :)

  11. Oh wow, that looks stunning!!! Well done!

    1. Chickpea - Thanks. It does add a certain je ne sais quois to that corner lol

  12. I remember the Reception counter at the hotel in Porterville was covered in copper coins. Looks striking!

    1. Diana - Did they resin the coins in place?

      I know this won't appeal to everyone, but it seems to fit here, and adds a bit of "history" to the building, without going so far as to put a "2012" above the entrance door lol

  13. With summer imminent I haven't done much blog visiting lately, but am trying to catch up a little on some of my favorite blogs. The copper coin splash is beautiful! Very interesting about cleaning the coins too.

    1. Leigh - Know the feeling - we are swamped with (business) work here. Not condusive to blogging or blog reading ;)

  14. Really looks great Dani and Co.

  15. Hi Dani, sorry I have been AWOL a while ... life getting in the way of blogs :}

    Your splash-back is beautiful, will you cover it with a varnish to prevent future tarnishing?

    I recently cleaned some secateurs in Coke and wondered the same thing about what it does to our insides if it cleans muck off metal so successfully?

    1. Jayne - Thanks.

      The resin which encases the coins will prevent tarnish - the resin creates a lovely smooth finish similar to that of a ceramic tile :)


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