Make Wallpaper Out of Money...sort Of.




This started out as a project to make wallpaper out of different paper currencies from all over the world.  Part-way through, however, I decided to frame the money instead so I could take it with me if/when I decide to move.

Part of this project was tedious but in the end I had a lot of fun.  I used money from all over the world and different eras and I learned a lot about history and currency.  I bought money from a country I didn't know existed (Transnistria). It makes a nice conversation piece. :)

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Step 1: Get Your Money and Materials

I bought all of my money on ebay and chose currencies for their historical value or just because they looked cool.  I bought pairs of banknotes from the worst cases of hyperinflation in the last 100 years (Weimar Germany, 1990's Yugoslavia, 1946 Hungary, and Zimbabwe).  My wall of 4'X8' required about 300 different bills.  About a third of the bills are from Yugoslavia which are cheap because they printed so many when they experienced hyperinflation.  I used those mostly as background filler and to test.

I bought some white wallpaper and wallpaper paste and planned on pasting the money to the wallpaper and then pasting it to the wall.  However, upon experimentation the paste caused the paper banknotes to curl and deform.  So I went to Plan B which was to use paper glue and glue stick.  The Zip Dry glue worked great.

For the frame I bought a lot of nice 2" x 0.25" lattice strips and some wood glue. For the corners I used L brackets.

Step 2: Start Gluing

Lay your wallpaper out flat on a table and start gluing.  To get the size I wanted I glued two pieces of the wallpaper together.  I wanted the bills arranged in a haphazard layout so I started by randomly gluing the "background" notes.  Then I began to fill in with more notes until the backing wallpaper was covered.  Save your favorite bills for last.

This was tedious and took me a long time.  I first coated the edges and corners on the back side of the note using the glue stick.  Then I traced near the edge with the paper glue and filled the inside with a squiggle of more paper glue.  Lastly I pressed the bill to the backing wallpaper (or on top of other bills) and used a rag to wipe out any of the paper glue that leaked out.  The glue stick held the corners down and the paper glue did the rest.

Step 3: Make the Frame

At this point you can paste your wallpaper to the wall but I decided to frame it.  I created a wooden frame that was a little smaller than the dimensions of my wallpaper so that the edges of the wallpaper would wrap around the edges and could be tacked on in the back.

I laminated strips of lattice together for the frame and the corners were held together by L-brackets.  T-brackets were used for the cross braces.  I glued one side of the frame and pressed it down on the back of the wallpaper.  Chairs were used to hold it down while the glue dried.

I nailed steel thumbtacks around the edge on the back of the frame to help secure the paper, along with more glue.

Step 4: Hang It Up

I screwed in some D-ring hooks to the back of the frame and strung some cable through them.  Eye hooks are screwed in above the door frames.  I used aluminum cable sleeves and S-hooks to fasten the cable to the eye hooks.

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    18 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Be careful, defacing currency is a criminal offence in a lot of currencies, including Britain. You could get the same effect at less cost by scanning the notes into your computer and printing out copies. You can't get into any trouble for that as office paper does not make a convincing note to the touch and so you couldn't really be accused of forgery.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I usually think of my self as quite knowledgeable when it comes to geography, but Transnistria is a new to me as well, so I had to have a read about it on Wiki :)

    Instructibles never fails to have something educational!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea and a few comments for interest....... photocopying for anything like this where you want it to 'last' won't work cos the ink is not light resistant and will fade.

    If you mix wall paper paste a little thicker, and then use it, it will buckle the paper, but as it dries the note/paper will stretch as tight as a drum and flatten out. The trick is get it as flat as possible, and not panic. Try testing it first, and you'll see what I mean.

    I did the same with my hallway, but used old music sheet bought from ebay it looks fab. One word of warning for those with any allergies or breathing difficulties, is that a lot of vintage paper has microscopic fungi which can set of asthma or give you a bad headache. However wallpaper paste kills it all off because it has an antifungal compound.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I'd like to know this as well. Additionally.. what is the highest and lowest denominations and where are they from?


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I didn't keep any records on how much I spent on the banknotes and stupid ebay doesn't make it easy to find out (I love ebay but their record system needs some work). My guess is that I spent ~ $200 on the money, not including some that I had laying around from past vacations. If someone wanted to do this cheap they could use mostly Yugoslavian banknotes (which are very cheap) along with southeast Asian notes and spend maybe $30.

    The bill I have with the highest face value is a 1946 Hungarian 1,000,000 b.‑pengő (worth 10^18 pengő--the hyperinflation of Hungary was astounding). You can see a picture here: (I've also highlighted it in one of the pictures in my Instructable.) I think I paid ~$2 for mine, including shipping. There are pengos with a higher face value but they start to get expensive.

    The bill with the most zeros printed on it is the Zimbabwe 100 trillion dollar (10^12) banknote (the b-pengo from above doesn't have all the digits printed). I bought 2 for $3.50 including shipping.

    The lowest denomination is probably a one-cent note from Hong Kong (from when they were using the Hong Kong dollar). I also have some Chinese jiao, which is worth one-tenth of their main currency the yuan (i.e. the jiao is the equivalent of the US dime). Both of these were included in a low-priced banknote "lot" I bought on ebay.


    Reply 8 years ago on Step 4

    In theory could you print out/photocopy money so it wouldnt actually cost you anything (much)?


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    You could but I'm not sure how much money it would save you in the end (unless you wanted to have some of the rare/expensive bills on your wall). You'll have to use a high-quality printer to get anywhere near the same details and the cost of the paper+ink isn't negligible. On ebay right now you can buy lots of 100 circulated Yugoslavian dinara for < $15 and if you shop around you can probably get them cheaper. Printing them yourself can't be much cheaper than that, can it? Besides, the coolness factor is lower. ;)


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I'm sure somewhere you can buy packs of monopoly money, how about making a smaller version with some? And there are all the different monopolies now: the simpson's, the original... so many different versions (that have all escaped me)


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Send me $10 and I'll send you my free brochure on how to make money from wallpaper. ;)


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I did the same thing with Business Cards once, but never thought of using Money for that. Looks nice.