How to Fold Money into Objects

Dana Hinders
money origami

Learning how to fold money into objects can be a fun and rewarding pastime. Whether you're interested in creative ways to present cash gifts to your friends or simply want to impress your waitress with a cleverly folded tip, there are a number of fun money origami projects to consider.

About Money Origami

Money origami, sometimes known as dollar bill origami, is the art of folding paper currency into three-dimensional objects. This may include animals, flowers, geometric shapes, or abstract designs.

While money origami is thought to have started in the early 19th century, it did not become widespread as a hobby until the 1950s. Unlike regular origami, which is very popular in China and Japan, money origami is most common in the United States. The most likely explanation for this fact is that the smallest paper currency in the U.S. is the one-dollar bill, while many other countries only have much larger bills available. Therefore, it's often simply more expensive to practice money origami with other forms of currency.

Learn How to Fold Money into Objects

If you'd like to begin making learning how to fold money into objects, here are a few simple tutorials from LoveToKnow Origami that you may find useful:

As you're practicing your favorite money origami designs, remember to make your folds as firm and crisp as possible. Dollar bills and other U.S. currency are 75 percent cotton and 25 percent linen. This means they have less "memory" than regular origami paper.

Advanced Money Origami Projects

Once you've mastered a few basic money origami projects, you may find yourself in search of directions for more complicated models for learning how to fold money into objects. Here are a few resources you can turn to for money origami instructions:

  • The Origami Resource Center, one of the most comprehensive sites for people interested in origami, has a section devoted to the art of money origami.
  • Orikane has several tutorials for people interested in money origami, but you need to complete a free registration process to access all of the site's content.
  • Lisa Shea offers a mixture of pictures and video tutorials covering a range of money origami projects. This site also includes some general information about money origami as well as book reviews of some of most popular money origami titles.

Legal Considerations for Money Origami

One reason that origami made with dollar bills is so popular is that origami traditionally involves no cutting, pasting, or gluing. Since defacing U.S. currency is a federal crime, this is obviously an important consideration for any craft project that involves working with money.

Can I Use Regular Origami Patterns for Money Origami?

At first glance, it might seem like all origami patterns could be folded with the currency of your choice. Paper is paper, right?

Unfortunately, money origami is a special subset of the art of paper folding. While the vast majority of origami patterns are designed to work with square 6 inch x 6 inch origami paper, dollar bills are rectangular. U.S. currency measures 2.61 inches x 6.14 inches. This means project patterns must be created with these specific dimensions in mind. However, with some trial and error, experienced paper folders may be able to translate standard origami patterns into a format that works well with money origami.

How to Fold Money into Objects