How to: Origami Art With Dollars

by Allison Horky
Dollar bills make great origami folding paper.

Dollar bills make great origami folding paper.

Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images

Origami is traditionally folded from origami paper, but using a dollar bill puts a fun twist on the activity. Most origami begins with a square, so starting with a rectangle adds an element of challenge and creativity to the situation. Leave folded dollar bills for tips, entertain your friends at the bar or enclose it in a birthday card as a gift. When your skills become advanced there are plenty of design that use two or three bills to create complicated figures.

Items you will need

  • Dollar bill
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Ring

Step 1

Place the bill front-side up on a table. Fold the white borders along the length of the dollar bill downward onto the front of the bill. Do not fold the short sides. Fold the bill in half lengthwise with the folded borders now touching on the interior of the fold. The back of the bill should be on the exterior. Fold the bill in half again with the "ONE" logo facing up.

Step 2

Turn the bill so the folds are facing away from your body. The "In God We Trust" phrase will be upside down. Fold the left-hand side short border inward. Fold the "ONE" insignia inward also, squaring it in the same direction you folded the border inward. It should be perfectly lined up with the sides and not askew. The end with the folded "ONE" is end "A" and the opposite end is "B."

Step 3

Hold end "A" facing up with your thumb and forefinger. Grab the end "B" and run the length of the bill along the corner of a table to create a curve in the bill. The curve should downward away from the "ONE" fold and not up toward it.

Step 4

Set the bill on a flat surface with end "A" on the left and the "ONE" logo facing up. Fold the bill into a 90-degree angle, sending end "B" away from your body. The placement of the 90 degree fold determines the size of the ring. Lift the bill off the table and fold end "B" over the lengthwise crease so that it faces toward your body.

Step 5

Grab end "A" and use the curve you created to loop the end around until it is squarely on top of the 90 degree fold created by the tail. Lift the "ONE" insignia and wrap end "B" around the ring until you have run out. Tuck the folded border on end "A" between end "B" and the body of the ring. End "B" will be in two places: under the "ONE" logo or on the interior of the ring. If it is under the "ONE" logo, the border tucking should secure the end. If it is on the interior of the ring, you rely on your finger to hold end "B" in place.

Bowtie

Step 1

Fold the bill in half to create a center line. Unfold the bill and lie it on a flat surface. Fold each of the corners inward, using the center line as your guide. Line the short end of the bill up with the center line and crease the bill along the diagonal fold. Fold each of the long ends toward the center of the bill, lining the border up with the center line. The long ends should not overlap at all.

Step 2

Make a vertical crease in the center of the bill by folding one of the pointed ends toward the other, making the crease and unfolding the bill again. Make two more diagonal creases by making 90-degree folds in the center of the bill.

Step 3

Pinch the center of the long sides in toward each other and fold the bill in half, creating small triangles on the interior of the fold. This called the waterbomb base and is the center of the bowtie. You should have a hexagon shape.

Step 4

Open the free ends away from each other and fold them in the opposite direction. The crease is created along a line closest to the other point that creates a triangle.

Step 5

Fold each of the corners away from the center, lining the ends up with the center line and creating a 90-degree angle. Unfold the pointed ends again and flatten out the bill. There should be a square in the center of the bowtie.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use bills of larger values if giving a cash gift.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images