Money origami, sometimes referred to as dollar origami or dollar bill origami, offers a unique twist on basic paper folding techniques and can be a memorable way to give a cash gift for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, holiday celebrations, or special occasions. A money origami wreath is particularly impressive if it is given in a box folded from your favorite decorative paper.
The design featured in this tutorial was created by Richard L. Alexander in 2006, based on a multi-piece ring designed by Mette Peterson and a 3-D water wheel created by Paulo Basceta. It is part of the Money Origami: Making the Most of Your Dollar book and DVD kit by Michael G. LaFosse and Richard L. Alexander. It is an example of modular origami, since it is created by joining multiple units that are folded identically.
A beginning or intermediate level origami enthusiast should be able to complete this money origami wreath in 10 to 15 minutes. If you want to practice before making the final model, play money from an old board game makes a good addition to your kit of origami supplies.
1. Fold to George Washington's Nose
You will need a total of eight bills for to make a money origami wreath, although it can be completed with 10 units if you prefer. Money origami works best if you can find crisp bills to fold, especially when you're making a model that requires more than one bill. If the bills are wrinkled, they won't hold their shape very well. If you don't have crisp bills available at home, ask a friendly bank teller for assistance.
Begin your project with George Washington's face facing up. Fold the bottom edge of the bill to his mouth. Crease firmly.
2. Fold to the Filigree
Turn the bill over, the fold up until you are touching the filigree design above the word "ONE." Crease firmly.
3. Frame the Word "STATES"
Fold the left and right sides up to frame the word "STATES." On each side, tuck in the top corners of the back layer as far as they will go so that you have formed small triangles on each side of the bill. When you're finished with this step, your model should look like the photo to the left.
4. Complete the First Money Origami Unit
Mountain fold the left and right sides of your dollar bill origami so they are standing perpendicular to George Washington's face. Your first unit is now complete. Repeat the process until you have a total of eight identical units. Depending upon your budget, you can use all $1 bills for an $8 gift or add in a few larger bills to make a more generous present. For example, a project folded from three $5 bills and five $1 bills would equal a $20 cash gift. A project folded from two $20 bills, one $5 bill, and five $1 bills would equal a $50 cash gift. A project folded from four $20 bills and four $5 bills would equal a $100 cash gift.
5. Connect Your Dollar Origami Units
The individual units are joined together by inserting the rectangular tabs on the bottom unit into the triangular pockets of the top unit. Although some modular origami projects occasionally use glue or tape to hold the design together, remember that it is a federal crime to deface United States currency. If you're having trouble getting your model to stay together, you may need to use crisper bills or check to make sure that each unit is folded to be perfectly symmetrical.
6. Your Money Origami Wreath Is Complete
Your money origami wreath is now complete. If you enjoyed this money origami project, but don't have the cash on hand to fold multiple wreaths, consider making the design with your favorite patterned origami papers cut to size. The finished wreath makes a lovely origami Christmas tree ornament or a cute decoration for your bookshelf.