Giving money as a gift is always a bit more fun if you give it in an unusual way. Origami is a fun way to try.
I have used origami money as birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, graduation gifts, and even the tips at restaurants.
Money origami can be worked on any denomination and money from any country. I recommend using the newest bills you can find. They do not need to be brand new but you want them to hold a crisp fold.
If you want, you can use 7 different bills: $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. You can also use all the same denomination. This works with either 7 or 8 bills each folded into a square.
If you just want a pretty star--you can use play money. I actually found foreign play money at the dollar store. I let my students try using it for origami. It went over pretty well but you cannot spend it. Play money tears more easily that the real thing too.
Step 1: Squaring Up Your Bills
You can do this by a number of different methods. I have shown the way that turned out to be the simplest for me. You may want to feature a different portion of the bill or you may be starting with non-American money, so feel free to experiment a bit here. I like to square the individual bills all the same way so that I get a repeated design when I assemble the star.
You will need 7 or 8 bills for the whole project. I use 8 when I am alternating 2 colors--like if I use the green side and the black side of the bills.
Fold one corner down to align with the bottom edge of the bill. Use the vertical edge of the top layer to mark the length of your square. Fold the rest of the bill back. U.S. bills will still have a bit sticking out. (Wouldn't it have been nice if someone at the Treasury Department had been a math geek who had been into origami and made the money a 1 by 2 rectangle?) Since the bank people frown on cutting up money, just fold this little bit and tuck it inside. I so wanted to cut off that little piece! Fight the urge. You want the square to lay as flat as possible.
Step 2: Folding Each Unit
Fold all 7 pieces the same way. I have folded one copy using origami paper (white on reverse side) to make the folding easier to see.
First fold--fold in half diagonally. Crease and unfold.
Second and third folds--fold the edges in toward the center crease.
Fourth fold--flip over and bring the smaller angled corner up to meet with the opposite corner. Crease.
Final fold--flip over and fold up the lower triangle. Tuck the triangle under the second/third fold flaps.
Make 7 or 8 of these pieces.
Step 3: Compiling Your Pieces
The front of each piece has a vertical slit. The back of each piece has a corner of loose paper that will fit into the vertical slit. Once you have inserted the corner, you need to tuck the folded corner of the top piece into the slit--this locks the piece in place.
Check where I marked the orange piece to find the vertical slit. The blue x goes in this slit. Then the upper left corner of the blue piece gets tucked into the left edge of the slit.
Money is thicker than the paper I usually use for origami. This makes it challenging to fold--especially with multiple layers. The good part about using money is the durability of each bill. They do not tear easily while you are tucking in the 2nd corner.
You repeat this process of tucking the corner of the paper into the slit and the folded corner to lock it in until you have used all your pieces. Then you have to bring your last piece to the back of your work so that you can tuck the loose corner of the first piece into the slit of the last piece.
Flip the whole start over and pull the remaining loose corner of each piece to the front of the star.
If I am making these out of non-money, I poke a hole in one of the star points and insert a string or other ornament hanger. If I want to hang the money ones, I usually go with tape to hold the string--again, those fussy bank people have a thing about holes in money. It does not devalue the bill, but it does make it tear more easily and then they have to retire the bills and order new ones from the treasury. It is a total pain. You can sometimes just tuck the star into the branches of a Christmas tree.
Dennym33 made it!