Tuesday, July 12, 2011

DIY: Show Me the Money

I have been accumulating little piles of foreign currency from my travels and I haven't figured out what to do with them. Most of the money isn't worth much, but I like that a lot of it is unique and reminds me of some wonderful trips. (I unfortunately can't find any of my Costa Rican money - I know has to be around here somewhere.) I did a search online to see if anyone had any clever tips or ideas on how to showcase their bills and coins but came up empty-handed. I am not the most creative person in the world but I try to rise to the occasion when one comes up.

My initial idea, that you might like to try, was to find or make a shadow-box type tray for my coffee table where I could press things in between the glass and the tray. This idea, for me, didn't seem practical in the end because 1.) I didn't need a tray (I really dislike random clutter) and 2.) the coins in my collection were of varying thicknesses and would probably leave the tray wobbly or at least crooked.

My second idea was to make art with them. I thought about finding a cool piece of wood and threading strings or ribbons in a diagonal, diamond pattern and fit in the bills and glue on the coins. I got stumped at where to find cool wood and figured between my cat, Rufus, and my ceiling fans, the bills would be all over the floor quickly.

My final idea was a hybrid of my first two ideas. Not very fancy, but inexpensive and easily expanded over time. I also like that it will prevent me from losing any more little piles in the future. Here was my process below:

Money from Europe, Madagascar, Liberia and Jamaica
In order to determine what size picture frames to purchase, I made templates of some common frame sizes (4x6, 5x7 and 8x10) to layout each pile.
Sample layout of the bills, trying to determine the sizes of frames to purchase.
Assorted frames - from T.J. Maxx - $30 total.
Tools used:  Glue Dots Pop Up Adhesive (for the coins), EK Success Pink Removeable Adhesive (for the money - in case I ever need to raid a frame, this adhesive rubs off easily with your finger) and Goof Off (to remove the price tag adhesive from the glass on all the frames - why put price tags on the frames?)
I decided to cut out white mats with white card-stock, given that I selected colored frames and the currency is bright as well.
Here is the first frame - the Euro coin is glued to the frame and could be removed later if needed.
The finished frames. Now I just need to find a place on my walls to put these up and allow for some room to grow the collection.
Hope you enjoyed my first do-it-yourself project. I still have two crisp bills from Madagascar that I plan to laminate into bookmarks. How do you display your souvenirs?


  1. What a cool idea - Matt and I have a 'strange change' jar but I've never got around to doing anything with it. Maybe this is just the inspiration I need!

  2. great idea. my husband would gasp seeing that you glued them to paper he loves foreign papermoney and does research on them as a hobby and likes to be able to see both sides so what he has he keeps in a binder in clear archival sheets he has a website with information http://www.banknoteden.com/ guess I should go see what he has done there lately I haven't visited it in a long time

  3. I really like what you did. My personal preference would have been to use different cardstock than white. It kind of bleaches out the tan monies and looks less glamorous. Perhaps something with a very small or large print, like scrapbook paper or even a fabric? It is lovely though..

  4. Glad you guys liked this, as I said, I am really not that crafty - I like your suggestions Melissa, I just try to not make it too busy since my eye likes a little rest. I think they look better in person, my photos might be a little washing out. The best thing is that since I used the removable adhesive I can change the backgrounds and your husband can breathe easier, Stampmouse! :)