$2 Bill Pad




About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author ...

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

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 or padding compound

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

- 2 to 3 quick release clamps

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Step 2: 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

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

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

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!



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312 Discussions


Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

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.


7 weeks ago on Introduction

Wow, I was reviewing your instructable (nice job, btw) and realized what a small world it is--I know Babak too!

Might have to do this for Christmas, maybe I'll even tear apart a regular notepad and glue the bills inside.

I'm always looking for unique ways to give money to my nieces. We've done cash in the confetti-filled balloons, wrapped up a small pinata filled with cash and had them smash it open, and my favorite memory, we hid stacks of bills on the blades of the ceiling fan, wrapped up the fan's remote in a little gift bag, instructed them to turn on the fan and made it rain.


3 years ago

This is such a great idea. My parents have been giving $2 money books for twenty or more years. I don't know if the bank charges them or not, but they get their $2 and $1 money books from their local bank- already made and sealed . They get some $25 books of one dollar bills and some $50 books of two dollars bills and some $100 and $200 books of two dollar bills. They give the money books to kids, grandkids, teachers , pretty much everyone they need to give a christmas gift to. A long time ago the bank even designed a cover for them, but about five years ago the bank said they were no longer permitted to do that so my parents take the money books to Kinkos and have covers made. The white covers go on top of the money books and read, in a pretty font ( green & red) Happy Holidays, Love the Sugar Family ; and some read , " Happy Holidays from Barbara & Alan.

1 reply

Reply 11 months ago

Exactly, I have a moneybook of 1's and 2's already done like this from the bank, I just request them or have them hold one for me when they come in.

All this extra work is so unnecessary, I use them for tips and I always peel them off the pad and stick them in my wallet. I don't carry the pad around anyways.


11 months ago

Not to discredit the post and all the comments but I have gotten money pads a bunch from the bank.
In fact I got $200 worth of $2 bills last year already on a pad like this. I have it in front of me right now with 10 bills left. Have you ever tried asking the bank for a pad of $2 bills??
My mom makes money roses out of $2 bills because Asian people spend a lot for them so we have the bank save the pads for us whenever they become available.


Reply 2 years ago

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.


Reply 2 years ago

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.


Reply 1 year ago

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 42Drake88

Reply 2 years ago

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


2 years ago

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.


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 raffskylane

Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

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. :-/

knightowlriff raff

Reply 8 years ago on Step 5

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....


Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

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.


Reply 3 years ago

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.