Introduction: $2 Bill Pad

Picture of $2 Bill Pad

Amaze your friends, impress your family, confound sales clerks and infuriate wait staff with your very own $2 bill tear-off pad. As you peel bills off the stack, they will have a hard time believing your carefully bound bundle of bills are the real deal. This is not only a classy way to carry around your money, but sure to start conversations wherever you go.

When Babak of TOOOL first told me how to make a $2 bill pad, I just knew that I had to make my own. The idea has stayed in the back of my mind for a long while and when I got some extra cash for the holidays, I knew it was finally the right time. I am sure glad that I did and I highly recommend that you make one for yourself and your loved ones.

Step 1: Go Get Stuff

Picture of Go Get Stuff

To make this, you will need:

- $100 dollars worth of brand new crisp $2 bills. It is easier than you may think to acquire these. Go to the largest bank in your area and simply ask the teller to exchange $100 for 50 crisp new $2 bills. If they don't have them on hand, then they should be able to order them for you. I went to the largest Wells Fargo branch in San Francisco for my $2 bills and the teller didn't even seem to flinch when I made this request.

- Rubber cement

- (x3) 0.08" x 2.61" x 6.19" chipboards

- 2 to 3 quick release clamps

Step 2: Bundle the Bills

Picture of Bundle the Bills

Bundle the two dollar bills with with one of the pieces of cardboard on the bottom. The obverse side of the bill should be facing upward.

In case you didn't know, the obverse side is the one with the portrait on it. In this case of the $2 bill, the obverse side has a portrait of Thomas Jefferson.

Step 3: Clamp

Picture of Clamp

Make sure the bills and the cardboard are all evenly lined up and then sandwich them between two more pieces of cardboard such that the top edge of the stack of bills sticks out a little.

The two pieces of cardboard function to protect your notepad from damage while being clamped. It is important they let the top of the bundle stick out a little, as this will be the pad's spine and you don't want to accidentally make the protective cardboard part of the pad.

Clamp the stack firmly in place, as close to the top of the protective cardboard as possible. I clamped both ends and then found that the middle was not being held tight enough for my liking. So, I placed a clamp in the middle as well. The goal should be to keep what will be the spine of your pad compressed as tightly as possible along its length so that the rubber coats the edge and does not seep between the bills.

Step 4: Glue the Spine

Picture of Glue the Spine

Apply a thin coat of rubber cement to the spine. Wait a few minutes and apply another thing coat.

Repeat doing this until there is a thick coat along the spine. I lost count of how many coats I put on, but it was probably around 10.

In retrospect, I would probably have liked to have made it even thicker still. The more coats you put on, the sturdier the spine will be and ultimately you are going to want to have a nice sturdy spine.

Step 5: Release

Picture of Release

Give the rubber cement an hour or two to start to really settle and then release it from the clamp.

Carefully peel away the protective cardboard.

Also, you will probably need to clean rubber cement off of the top bill on the stack. Rather than spending a lot of time fussing with this and risk damaging the spine, I peeled this bill off and then quickly rubbed it clean.

If all went well, you should now have a pad of $2 bills which can be exchanged for goods and services. Go forth into the world and spend - darn you - spend!


ccrome (author)2011-01-04

Awesome. I made one this weekend. Love it.

randofo (author)ccrome2011-01-04

Very cool! Post a picture please :-)

ccrome (author)randofo2011-01-06

Alright, made another one last night. I decided to bind it on the short edge rather than the long edge. It works just dandy that way too.

I did make one mod to this instructable, which is to add a paper decoration to the back, and to use that paper decoration as an extra binding on the edge. This should give some extra strength to the whole thing, but as the bills are used, the excess glue won't rub off. That a definite drawback to using a paper binding -- the original may be better in that regard. I'll see how it goes as I use up my $2 bills. I cut the paper to the height of the bill, but a little longer, then folded the excess across the binding, then trimmed with a sharp knife.

Samuel_Loves_Balling (author)2016-06-07

Isn't this illegal?

No. As long as the money is not destroyed, it is not illegal to use U.S. money to create things. There is a some risk in actually 'defacing'(basically removing the denomination and/or the serial #), as that IS considered illegal by the U.S. government. In the case of paper money(bills), it is rarely enforced. Defacing coinage CAN get you trouble, if done with enough coins. Coins cost more to make and are expected to last longer as valid currency, defacing enough of them could get you in trouble with the U.S. Treasury department and the Secret Service.

As long as the money is still usable and IDENTIFIABLE, you should be safe, unless you have been making enemies among the U.S. law enforcement. If so, and if you managed to annoy someone bad enough, you could find yourself in trouble.

Wow, I never knew that. Thanks for these cool facts. I heard that in Canada, you can get in trouble for intentionally ripping the bills in half. Is this true? Thanks in advance, Drake88.

Not certain about Canada, but in the US any bill that has is at least over 50% and still showing a serial number can be taken to ANY bank for replacement - which ... could be taken as proof of it still being legal tender.

The bill MUST be over half of the bill, though to prevent someone from trying to double their money. I think there is a requirement for larger denominations for the owners' name, though(I've never tried ripping a $50 to find out).


Mark 42 (author)Drake882016-06-09

You can destroy or alter money, as long as you don't try to pass it off as a different denomination.

RodgerC (author)2016-09-19

I did this but went the further step and had the bills sequential; you would think this is easy but the tellers counted in $20 stacks then brought them to me and counted then again to really mix it up. Next time I will tell them what I want. A couple of the store clerks were Chinese and it was getting near their New Years and they bought almost all of the bills; they like to give brand new bills away to the kids on NY's eve.

technosasquatch (author)2010-12-22

even cooler if you can get them in sequential order

skylane (author)technosasquatch2010-12-23

This IS a great idea! if I have time I'm going to make some. I already have $200 worth in sequential order.
I love spending $2 bills and $1 coins. (Susan B or Sacagawea dollars)
I totally baffled a kid at Burger King one day. Gave him a $2 bill & a $1 coin. He called to manager to find out what to do with the $2 bill. After he figured it out, he called the manager back to find out what to do with the $1 coin! I wasn't sure if it was sad of funny.. LOL

riff raff (author)skylane2010-12-23

It's funny...and sad. They don't even know how to count back change any more. If they don't have a computer screen telling them the amount to hand back in a wad, they're lost. :-/

knightowl (author)riff raff2010-12-23

You have never worked retail. It is such a boring, soul crushing experience, that if you don't shut your brain off and zone out you will probably shoot up the place.

IT is so much better, my nice safe cave....

susanrm (author)knightowl2010-12-23

I've worked retail, and yes, it was boring. So to keep myself interested and entertained, I taught myself to count back change quickly without the aid of the register, and to keypunch using the keypad. Instead of becoming a brain-dead zombie, I became quicker and more efficient, developing skills I still use today, including when I teach students to count back change.

snmarkman (author)susanrm2015-12-17

I completely agree, SusanRM. When I was in high school (in the late 90's), I was a delivery driver for a local sandwich shop. I carried a small money pouch with me and learned to be very proficient at counting change. It took me about a month before I stopped even carrying a pocket calculator. After that, I worked at the big blue home improvement store (paying my way through engineering school), and I could instantaneously calculate the change due. I would say the number out loud before typing it into the computer, which usually got a pretty funny response from the customer. It's still a skill I carry to this day. When I was in college, and even now, it really bothered me when my colleagues would use a calculator for simple math, ESPECIALLY addition and subtraction (which is basically what we're talking about here). Take 10 seconds and use your brain!!!!

Something else that I really enjoy doing that totally embarrasses my girlfriend is I add up the grocery bill and mumble the total just as the cashier hits the total button. We don't have sales tax in Oregon, which makes it a lot simpler than it sounds.

Next time you're checking out and paying cash, hand them a random amount of change in addition to the bills. That really trips folks up.


CliffF5 (author)snmarkman2015-12-18

no sales tax in Oregon? I may of just found my new home.

gtoal (author)CliffF52016-07-07

No state income tax in Texas may be preferable in the long run, at least until you retire, and then move to a 'no sales tax' state!

ashery (author)CliffF52016-06-12

may HAVE

oky jim (author)CliffF52016-06-07

They make it up with higher taxes on property and some noxious laws thaqt make dyi'ers grit their teeth, such as homeowners cant do their own electrical repairs or additions unless they are licensed. The state owns all the water in the state, try drilling a well on your property. There are several others but thats enough. Oregon is a beutiful state and its got a lot to offer but be aware that it is far from perfect.

static (author)CliffF52015-12-22

Before yo pack up and move to Oregon because of the lack of sales tax , askk yourself how do they generate the revenue they need? :)

SalbaheJim (author)static2016-06-07

That's why you need to move to Alaska. It,s the only other state that does not have sales tax and, in fact, makes so much money from the oil industry that it actually gives each citizen (man, woman, and child) a check every year as a sort of reverse head tax. Curious? Google the term "Permanent Fund Dividend"! Of course the cost of living is a bit higher...

oky jim (author)snmarkman2016-06-07

Another thing they cant figure out. If you owe say $11.51 hand them $12.51 and they look at you like whats this change for?

SergeE (author)oky jim2016-06-08

If you really want to mess then up, give them $12.01

JeffLH (author)oky jim2016-06-07

Maybe they're thinking "Why did this person hand me $12.51 when he could have easily kept the extra $1.00? Too bad he couldn't count out the correct the right amount. Must be the bad schools."

JeffLH (author)JeffLH2016-06-07

Unless of course all you had were $2 bills.

nanaverm (author)snmarkman2016-06-07

What baffles some clerks is when I give extra pennies to get fewer coins back: like if the bill is $10.27 and I give $11.02.

The $2 bill idea (or $1 coins or even $.50 coins these days) would be perfect for use on April Fools Day! I bet a lot of clerks wouldn't accept them!

static (author)susanrm2015-12-22

My question would be is do store owners want the cashiers to count back change? Those that do would tech the clerks and we would see more change being counted back. In the past counting back change served a purpose before electronic cash registers. Now they don't bother to count out what they hand us. Knowing the skill serves the customer well, because the customer can quickly assess if the received the correct change

paperclip32 (author)susanrm2010-12-24

Good for you,but I doubt the 16-year-olds that work at my local McDonalds are very keen on challenging themselves.

susanrm (author)paperclip322010-12-24

Yeah, that's how old I was when I started doing what I said above (at McDonald's, no less). :-) Best not to prejudge; you never know!

Doctor Freeman (author)susanrm2011-01-10

There was this... A LAZY SLOB at the bowling ally today (an employe mind you)
we had our service light on for 1 and 1/2 hours and he , and the other employes ignored it. Someone in my group went up 5 min after i put the light on because of the stuck ball nobody came, because nobodys' haves brains (It's a long story don't ask) In the bowling ally that would take time to get our ball.

Morantz (author)knightowl2015-12-17

Stay in the cave! Much safer there!

static (author)riff raff2015-12-22

I can hear the uproar if suddenly change was counted back to each customer; people are into much of hurry for that. Hell most customers would understand the concept if it where to happen to them mas was done in the past..

static (author)riff raff2010-12-25

I'm fairly certain it's not fair to blame anyone about something they may never have been taught or may never have experienced a cashier counting back change. In today's hurry up world many will be irritated with a return to change being counted back. These days I notice the shelf above the cash drawer is almost always can't be used for what I was taught to do. I was taught to place the money on on that shelf, so if a customer tries to claim they gave you a larger bill than they did, you can show them what they gave you.

Rlangg (author)skylane2010-12-24

I'm teaching my daughter how to use a payphone, just in case.

ridalyn (author)Rlangg2016-04-15

Where on this planet is there still a working pay-phone?

jpduroche (author)ridalyn2016-06-07

usually at a Sams Club Fuel Center next to the attendants booth, at least there is one here in North Scottsdale Az.....

PeterM13 (author)ridalyn2016-06-07

Any place where there are a lot of people without cell phones, travelers, or people that cannot afford them.

In Maui there are quite a few of them around so the homeless can call the rural roads also have Police and Safety phones at about 3 mile intervals because of poor cell service (think TARDIS) You can tell because they have a blue light on the post

heinv1 (author)ridalyn2016-06-07

In South Africa we still have pay-phones, some even accept credit cards. Never actually used one or seen anyone do so, but they are there.

DeAnnaP16 (author)ridalyn2016-04-30

Austin, Texas East, North & SouthEast Valero convenience stores might havea drive-up pay phone, many independent stores have them. they're located in high crime areas used 4 drive-thru street drug operations.

static (author)Rlangg2015-12-22

"Just in case"?Just in case there's a pay phone close by whenever she needs one. :) I can't recall the last time I seen payphone in service. Even on the Kansas High Plains there are only a few areas not served by cell phone system when roaming is enabled.

badideasrus (author)Rlangg2010-12-28

while your at it, teach her how to drive a manual. its more likely she'll run into one of those than a payphone (though i actually have used one recently)

Rlangg (author)skylane2010-12-24

Your Burger King kid reminds me of the valet parkers who can't drive my manual tranmission car. It's so funny.

dreamweaverabc (author)Rlangg2010-12-25

Well, that reminds me of the guy who saw me pull right up to his store as he washed the glass door, watched me get out of the driver's side, got my service dog out of the back seat, and when I entered his store he asked, "You're not COMPLETELY blind, are you?"

Yeah, you idiot. My dog drives from the back seat and I just sit in front so we don't draw a lot of attention to ourselves. (For those who don't know, a service dog is for multiple kinds of disabilities, but is NOT a guide dog. I'm thinking of making a T-shirt that says, "I don't look disabled? Well, you don't look stupid."

IsarmaC (author)dreamweaverabc2016-05-03

That's just hilarious, I'd buy that shirt too.

Dreamweaverabc, if you make that shirt, I would totally buy it. ...Even though I'm not disabled. I love your dog, by the way :)

qlue (author)Rlangg2010-12-27

Automatics are so scarce here I South Africa that many South Africans don't even know they exist! :p.
(we also don't have 'valet' parking. Unless you count the guy with the AK in your face!)

enginepaul (author)qlue2011-11-27

Now, that's FUNNY. Unfortunately true, but funny.

Doctor Freeman (author)qlue2011-01-11

Ok um... sorry but has tht ever happened to you?.... (thinks ill never go to africa EVER!!!)

qlue (author)Doctor Freeman2011-01-12

lol Hijackings are common in most areas! High levels of unemployment combined with not enough policing is a bad combination! :(
Fortunately, I don't have any personal experience with this but I have many relatives who have been victims! :(

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Bio: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previously life I had founded and run the Instructables ... More »
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