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June 18, 2008

a fun charity idea

you know what would be cool? if we could build a small house out of spare change. we collect coins, then have an event where people can come and help build the house. Then when it's over the money is donated to a charity that builds/operates homeless shelters. not sure about the logistics, or how much cash would be needed. But it would be really fun to try. maybe we could cheat on the roof, and make a large fake coin..hmm... help me with the calculations!

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Comments (21)

20 pennies stacked = 1 inch,
1 penny = 1/2 inch in diameter

.80 cents per square inch assuming formation of:

Posted by: Brad at June 18, 2008 10:15 AM

Yeah, it's not a cheap house. Or maybe it is. I dunno. Anyway, you'd need to have just one type of coin (pennies would be cheapest, of course) or it'd throw the whole construction process right out the window. Like building your house with different sized bricks, it'd be bad.

Posted by: Blank-Mage at June 18, 2008 11:10 AM

If everybody could build a standard size brick or block and bring it along, the whole exercise would be like heavy lego

Posted by: Mark at June 18, 2008 12:00 PM

maybe you could get one of those magnet sign companies (for vehicle advertising) to lend some big huge sheets of magnet - so that the whole thing doesn't knock over. That would help with the roof thing too...

of course, not all coins react to a magnet, but maybe enough of them would stick to give the stacks of coins some framework. you could put the really magnetty ones on the roof.

Posted by: natisha at June 18, 2008 12:02 PM

Perhaps use crows to gather the coins?

Posted by: Chris at June 18, 2008 12:39 PM

People have been crushed to death by coins before, too.. I suppose that if you had the right method, you could do it safely. I'll keep thinking about this.

Posted by: Brian at June 18, 2008 1:21 PM

Let us go the kindergarten approach and use some type of glue!

Posted by: Father Louis at June 18, 2008 1:57 PM

you would need almost 300000 0,2€ coins to build a 5 meter wall, 2,5 meters high.
that's a lot of money for such a thin wall... the kids would love it.

Posted by: Jlago at June 18, 2008 3:47 PM

This reminds me of a sandcastle contest, the challenge is building something that stands safely and falls easily. Coins work best for walls and (origamied) paper money would world work well for the roof.

Reduce the scale a bit, say make it a house built for a rubber ducky. A 5" by 5" by 5" Cape Cod style built of stacked quarters will cost around $269.00 (stacked pennies-$18.24, nickels-$56.40, dimes-$205.20). I won't even estimate Susan B. Anthony dollars, no one has any of those lying round.

Around 14-15 pieces of paper money for a couple of windows, a door, roof trusses , and a roof covering would run anywhere from $15 Washingtons to $1500 Franklins.

Tom the Architect

PS If we could play with welding guns we could definitely build a safe House O'Change.

PPS Gold coins pounded to a thickness of 5 millionths of an inch would also make an excellent and light roof covering.

Posted by: Tom at June 18, 2008 3:57 PM

If a method for making a standard brick size can be figured, then people could band together and make bricks, and then transport them to the site. It'd be possible to make the house completely out of coins without cheating that way, but it'd have to be pretty small (tree house sized, maybe?).

Posted by: Jeff at June 18, 2008 4:04 PM

Reminds me of the Gleaners' Food Bank "Canstruction" competitions where teams build canned-food structures around a theme (cans purchased by sponsors) and, at the end, cans are donated to the food bank.

Posted by: Scott T. at June 18, 2008 4:17 PM

long clear tubes that hold coins in rows to make walls and roof. If you used flexible clear plastic you wouldn't have to hold yourself to straight lines. One could drop their coins in whichever side they wanted to fill up. Depending on how big it is, a lot of money could be collected.

Posted by: Meghan at June 18, 2008 6:48 PM

Back when I was still actively doing the smart mob thing, one of my ideas was to have everyone bring a can of food and stack it to create a piece of modern sculpture, then leave. We'd then coordinate with a local food bank to collect the cans.

I went as far as calling the local food bank in San Francisco, who informed me that, no, they wouldn't be able to collect the cans, even if we built the sculpture on their loading dock. I still think it's a good idea, but I was never able to fully figure out the logistics.

So, hey, if the coin thing doesn't work...

Rob Z.

Posted by: Rob Z. at June 18, 2008 6:48 PM

This idea wouldn't require the coins for structure, but it could be justifiable and would bring in a lot of coins: hollow plastic 2x4's filled with coins. Once a board is filled, it is ready to be used for the frame of the house.

The foundation could be like a big plastic tray about 4" high on the sides filled with coins and with plastic panels laid atop them to make the floor. We make the video of the project, and once the house is finished, the money is given to charity, the plastic is recycled. I defer to another mind to figure out how to nail the boards together. Roof: CANDY!

Posted by: jeano at June 18, 2008 7:57 PM

How about making the walls out of rectangular, clear plastic, and filling them with change? Coins could be the "insulation."

Posted by: Sarah at June 18, 2008 8:36 PM

if you are looking for a shelter charity, this is one that the charity I work for often collaborates with, based in Los Angeles. They do great work and have some construction projects going with a capital campaign that might tie in?


Maybe the "house" would be more of a 1/3 scale. And build clear plastic(or lucite?) hollow walls that you fill with coins, so you can see what makes the structure.

Posted by: Courtney at June 19, 2008 1:03 AM

Sorry, sounds like a bad idea.
A house made of money is the epitome of bad taste...it'd be like making a t-shirt out of ham, if you see what I mean...

Lets collect the money, THEN build a proper house ourselves.
Then we draw straws and someone gets/has to live in it.

Posted by: Matan at June 19, 2008 9:28 AM

build it all out of pennies! no one likes pennies anyway

could stack them and encase them in some sort of clear tubing to keep them falling over, then build the house lout of clear, penny filled tubes! like Lincoln logs.. solves the roof problem anyway!

Posted by: Anna Darron at June 19, 2008 9:37 AM

why not a bunch of little ones? I had most of a little one (4x6) built last night in about an hour, but I had to start over, it was too wide. The little ones are pretty easy to make and fairly hard to goof the walls once you get going, though. You could have a whole village of them.

Posted by: SE at June 19, 2008 11:02 AM

I hate to be a hater, but this seems to me to be a bad engineering idea. Even without looking up the relevant data, I've got to believe that a spare change based house would be pretty damn heavy. Just like the commenter who wanted to build canned food sculptures but couldn't find someone willing to pick up the inefficently-collelcted cans, I doubt very many charities would be willing or able to pick up the thousands of pounds of change that even a small structure would end up weighing. Paper / Origami would be a potential solution, but would be way more costly and very difficult to make structurally sound (unless you shellaced the stuff, defeating the charitable purposes).

Come to think of it, even using pennies to build the sturcture would be *way* more costly than buying the wood. I know that's the point, but it's a pretty ridiculous difference, actually.

Okay, I'll nerd it up with some math now: If Brad's right at the beginning that a cubic inch of pennies is $0.80, then an 8 foot 2x4s worth of pennies would cost 2 x 4 x (8 x 12) = 768 sq.in. x $0.80 = $614.40. (which, incidentally would weigh about 337.92 pounds by my calculations). To make a 6ft. high solid wall using these 8ft long penny 2x4s, it would take 18 @ $614.40 = $11,059.20. Not sure how long it would take to get that many pennies--but if you could get them, you could easily buy a house with four solid walls worth. Of course, you'd have to haul 24,330 lbs (10.8 tons) of pennies to the bank at some point...

HOWEVER--I really do like the idea as an art concept though--giving spare change to people seems so futile. It's hard sometimes to even see the good of larger donations. It'd be great to see the physical manifestation of hundreds of small acts of charity.

Posted by: Christian at June 20, 2008 2:04 PM

|.XJune 18, 2008

a no fun charity idea
know what would be cool? if we could build a bighouse out of spare change. we collect coins, then have an event where people can come and help build the house"Oy!". Then when it's over the money is donated to a charity that builds/operates homeless shelters. sure about the logistics, or how much xcash would be needed. But it would be really xfun . we could cheat1 on the roof, and make a large fake 2coin..hmm... Don't help me with the calculations*@ze's page:ze`sfrank.com.a no fun charity idea;]7/17/2008ieie:)/=*.|

Posted by: No,Ieie at July 16, 2008 9:13 PM

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