The very first banknotes were used by the Chinese in the 7th century, during the Tang Dynasty. Before it was used as a true currency, paper money was used as part of a deposit system in which merchants would leave large amounts of coins with a trusted associate and receive a paper receipt for the transaction. The reason was simple—the copper coins used as currency at the time were heavy.
Fast forward about 300 years, and Jiaozi became the first official paper currency in the Sichuan capital of Chengdu. These notes were stamped with official seals to ensure that no one made false copies. Even in the tenth century, counterfeiting was a concern.
Today, the word jiaozi is more likely to be associated with delicious Chinese dumplings, but paper money is still used in many countries. Even so, with the widespread use of debit cards and the rising popularity of digital wallets, it may not be long before the dollar bill has had its day.
So, what are we going to do with all that worthless paper when we finally become a cashless society? Dollar bills are quite useful when it comes to bar tricks, and you can use one to crack open a cold one or even roll a cigarette. If you want to do something more artsy, there's always monigami.
Origami has been around since the 17th century, but the art of folding money, or monigami for those who are in the in, is relatively new. You can fold money into hundreds of shapes, like a tiny box or shirt and tie, but flowers are some of the most popular projects, especially when Mother's Day comes around.
What mom wouldn't like a flower made of cold hard cash?
So, here are ten different types of flowers you can origami out of a few bucks, for Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, or pretty much any other day of the year.
In Asian folklore, the plumeria is believed to house ghosts and demons, and in Malaysia it's associated with vampires. It also happens to be one of the simplest flowers to fold since it only requires one bill.
Check out the video below to see how to fold a plumeria blossom (the tutorial starts around 2:25). Just make sure you have a clove of garlic or some holy water nearby.
The lotus flower, also known as nelumbo nucifera, is a symbol of purity in many cultures. In Asian religions, deities are often seated on the flowers in works of art. The lotus is also one of the more popular origami creations due to both its shape and cultural significance.
Take a look at this tutorial to make one of your own.
The Kusudama is actually the name for a type of Japanese paper model, which is a large sphere made of individual folded flowers. It's another very popular origami project due to the fact that it looks a lot more complicated than it actually is.
Kusudama flowers usually have five or six petals, so you'll need at least five bills. You can find a complete guide with more photos and detailed instructions from Dana Hinders here.
St. Paddy's Day may have already passed this year, but the luck of the Irish is always around and it's all about the four-leaf clover.
This one requires two bills, plus one more if you want to add a stem. Check out the folding guide to learn how to fold your own luck from a couple bucks.
In this project, each dollar makes two of the petals. Obviously, you'll need three bills for this one.
To watch a video and get PDF instructions from Make on how to make your own three-buck bloom, check out the tutorial.
The rose is the queen of all flowers, and is almost synonymous with romance and love. What better way to show you care than with a bouquet of roses made out of money?
There are several different methods for creating origami roses. This one uses two bills and a paperclip to hold them together.
For this one, you'll need five bills. No paperclip is required, but a piece of wire is used for the stem and a few dabs of water are suggested to help the folds stay in place.
If you prefer to see the process step by step, you can find a detailed written tutorial by Kylyssa Shay here.
If you've got a lot of time to kill, this one's for you. This video shows how to make a popular flower design by paper crafter Stephen Hecht. It's over an hour long and is excruciatingly detailed, but only uses a single dollar bill.
If you're more of a diagram kind of person, here's a PDF with instructions and pictures.
Who doesn't want to get lei'd? This Hawiian money lei would make for an awesome graduation gift or some enviable island attire.
It's up to you how many bills you use, and it's easiest if you start with a lei or some floral garland (like a Kukui nut necklace). If you can't find one, you could easily use a regular piece of ribbon or string and add some fake flowers to dress it up a little. Check out the full guide here.
If you prefer a more geometric design, this modular flower is perfect. You can either use three or four bills, depending on how many petals you want.
Check out the tutorial by Instructables user cedison to see the process step by step.
"The more the merrier." The old saying goes for pretty much anything in life, so why not origami money flowers?
These are super simple to make, and you can add some extra color by using different bills if you want. Of course, you'll also need a container, some sticks, and tape to attach the flowers. Check out the tutorial over on Seven Thirty Three to learn how to fold them.
Since Mother's Day is coming up, any combination of these flowers would make a great gift to remind Mom that she's got a kid who's thoughtful and creative. Besides, they'll last a lot longer than a real bouquet (at least, until your Mom is strapped for cash).