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How to Make a Money Origami Kusudama Flower

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The origami kusudama flower is one of the most popular paper folding projects around. It is beautiful to look at and appears much more complicated than it actually is due to the delicate nature of the individual petals. Recently, I found myself wondering if there was a way to duplicate the look of the kusudama flower using money origami techniques.

There were two major obstacles I encountered when trying to make a money origami kusudama flower. The first was that the dollar bill is a rectangular shape, where the instructions for a basic kusudama flower specify that you use square paper. The second is that it's really frowned upon to deface US currency, so you can't just glue the petals of the flower together like you would in a regular kusudama flower. So, this tutorial uses a slightly different folding technique and keeps the flower petals together with paper clips so it can easily be taken apart and spent by the recipient.

1. Start the Petals

Money Origami Kusudama Flower
© Dana Hinders

Wrinkled bills don't hold their shape as well and will thus be harder to join together for your finished money origami flower. Try to find crisp bills to use for making your origami dollar bill flower. I have heard that it will work to iron the bills to get rid of the creases, but I have yet to personally try this technique with my projects.

To begin the project, place your first dollar bill on the table with the "ONE" side face up. Fold it so the bottom of the bill is just under the phrase "The United States of America."

2. Fold to the Middle

Money Origami Kusudama Flower
© Dana Hinders

Fold the left and right sides of the bill up towards the center as shown in the photo to the left.

3. Secure the Petals

Money Origami Kusudama Flower
© Dana Hinders

Fold the bill in half and either secure with a paper clip.

Repeat the process until you have a total of five identically folded dollar bills. These individual petals will be connected to form your money origami kusudama flower.

4. Join the Petals

Money Origami Kusudama Flower
© Dana Hinders

To join the individual petals together, I simply paper clipped the sides together. I used five petals to form a flower, even though traditional origami kusudama flowers are made with either five or six petals. With five petals made from one dollar bills, this makes it easier to count how much money is in the gift. Feel free to experiment with the number of petals in your flower until you achieve the desired result, however.

Your money origami kusudama flower is now complete. This view shows the bottom of the flower. Notice how George Washington's head creates an interesting symmetrical center for the floral design when viewed from this angle.

5. Comparing the Flowers

Money Origami Kusudama Flower
© Dana Hinders

This picture compares the origami kusudama folded from 6 inch x 6 inch origami paper to a kusudama made from five dollar bills. You can see that they are similar in appearance, despite the change in materials. Mixing the flowers together would result in a very unique gift for a graduation or wedding celebration!

6. A Variation of the Money Origami Flower

Money Origami Kusudama Flower
© Dana Hinders

To make a variation of the flower, curl the bills together tightly and fold the corners down instead of clipping them. Then, you'll end up with a flower that looks something like a tulip.

Can you think of any fun variations of the kusudama flower? Send your pictures and origami folding tips to me at origami@aboutguide.com.

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