Money origami projects like the dollar bill shirt are a fun way to give a cash gift. For example, if you wanted to give someone clothes for their birthday and you didn't know what size or style to buy, you could give them a money shirt with a note that encouraged them to have fun on a "shopping spree" paid for by you. (This works especially well for teens, who tend to have picky fashion tastes and not a lot of income of their own.)
Even though the project featured in this tutorial is often called a dollar bill shirt, you can use whatever denomination fits your budget. For a gift, I like to make shirts from $20 bills to place inside a card or small origami box. Another great idea is to combine the money shirt with another project, such as a money origami heart.
Sometimes, people like to make dollar bill origami from foreign currency. This will work fine as long as the bill has roughly the same proportions as U.S. currency. In fact, some people like to cut patterned paper into rectangular strips and use money origami projects to decorate handmade greeting cards or scrapbook pages.
For more creative ways to use money origami, please review our 5 Ways to Use Money Origami sideshow.
1. Fold in Half
To begin making your money origami shirt, find a crisp bill. Money origami always works best with crisp bills, but having a smooth surface is especially important with this project. You want your finished money origami shirt to look like a freshly pressed collared dress shirt - not like a wrinkled garment that's just been pulled out of the laundry hamper!
Place your bill on the table with the president's face on top. Fold it in half. The picture of the president should be in the middle.
Unfold the bill. Fold both of the sides into the middle crease that you made as your first fold. When finished, your money shirt should resemble the photo to the left.
3. Fold Under
At the right edge, fold down the white part under. When finished, your money shirt should resemble the photo to the left.
4. Form the Collar of Your Origami Shirt
Turn your dollar bill over. Fold the corners into the middle. This will be the collar of the finished money origami shirt. The exact angles are not critical; simply do whatever you think gives the collar the most pleasing appearance.
5. Divide Into Thirds
Fold the opposite end in as shown. This fold should divide the bill into thirds, but you can adjust this fold to control the length of the finished shirt if desired.
6. Fold the Shirt Sleeves
Unfold the dollar bill. Use the last crease you made to create squash folds that will act as the sleeves of your origami shirt. Fold each side back into place with the sleeve sticking out.
7. Complete Your Money Origami Shirt
Tuck the end of the bill back under the collar. Your money origami shirt is now complete.
8. More Money Origami Ideas
You can get different looks from this project by starting changing the direction of the bill when you begin. Since each bill is decorated differently, try making this project with various denominations to see what look you prefer.
If you enjoyed making this money origami project, consider investing in a book with several different money origami designs. About Origami recommends Money Origami: Make the Most of Your Dollar! by Michael G. LaFosse and Richard L. Alexander. This book features a variety of dollar bill origami projects, as well as an instructional DVD and practice papers so you can master the folds before making your project from real currency.