Art/craft projects with currency. Ideas please.

Our friend just came back from Bahrain for a visit and gave us an Iraqi note with Saddam’s face on it as a gift.

Looking through my money tin, I realised I have lots of cool notes and coins. I have old French, Italian, Irish, Greek and Spanish money which is not legal tender since the Euro came in. I have Czech, Hungarian and Polish money. There are a few Canadian, NZ, American, Hong Kong and Australian dollars. I have some Zimbabwean high denomination bills (which are worth less than the paper it is printed on) and even some Morroccan, Singaporean, Indian and Maltese money.

I’m thinking of a cool arty/crafty project to display it in an eye-catching way… I don’t want to cut any of the notes, and it would be nice to use some coins if possible. Just putting it all in a frame doesn’t feel right though.

Any ideas?

Hmm… Maybe put all of the bills in a stack, and fan them so you can see a little bit of each, then put that in a shadow box? You could also maybe arrange some of the coins around the corners.

One thing you can do that will give you a little more flexibility is make color copies of the currency. You could copy them at different sizes – enlarge some so you can take just a piece of detail (Saddam’s face :eek: !).

Then you could collage just about anything – a cigar box purse, a lidded wooden or papier mache box, whatever. If you want to make something functional, like a purse, just make sure you use a really good adhesive on the coins – like E6000 or something.

A really cool way to incorporate your money into a piece of art would be to make an altered book. Start with an old economics or world history or geography text book. You could cut shadow boxes in the pages to hold coins, for example.

Let us know what you do and post a pic!

Origami perhaps. Fold all the bills into animal shapes and make a money zoo.

When my parents went on vacation their friends made them a money tree,

They got a terracotta pot filled it with florists foam, stuck a dowel in it and used a foam circle to be the “tree” They folded up the money accordion style and pinned it to the circle until it was covered.

It actually looked quite neat.

Shadow boxes?
'splain please.

I’m not sure if any of these could be done by folding instead of cutting, but it might be of some use:

You know those things like picture frames, but with a little bit of depth so that you can display a somewhat more three dimensional object, say a Japanese fan, or a pair of fancy gloves. Some have one single area for display, or others have different compartments if you are displaying a lot of smaller items.

When I was a kid in the 1970s, there was a big decorating fad to use shadow boxes to display “ye olde fashioned” kitchen-type items, and they sold new, plastic old-fashioned items to fill the boxes. My mom had one, everyone I knew had a mom who had one … Now shadow boxes can be very elegant and interesting, but sometimes I still think of those plastic/old fashioned ones when I hear the words “shadow box”!

Wedding theme shadow box

Empty shadow box with different compartments

You can make rings from coins.


50 cent piece

The process is the same, but you see the end result for each type of coin, which is cool.

I would imagine that doing this with foreign currency would be even more striking, as long as they have the same method of imprinting words around the outside edge of the coin.

Probably incredibly time consuming, but rewarding for a person with a lot of patience, and a tendency toward attention to detail.


May I suggest… origami? There are even books (and internet pages) specifically geared towards folding money (because it’s not a square like regular origami and also because it has illustrations on it that you can make appear in certain places on the finished product). I recently learned how to do an origami turtle (The picture on the middle of the bill ends up being the shell) and have been leaving turtle dollars as tips at restaurants and bars.

hmmm…origami and shadow boxes…I will think on it.

Take the origami idea one step further: A currency Christmas tree. That way you can add the coins among the origami shapes.