Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Money Tree

This is not an original idea. I got the idea from my friends Maura and Laurie who told me about money trees that they had received and given as gifts.

Normally I hate giving money as gifts. But right now, it is graduation season here in the States...and new graduates from high school and college really do need money more than anything else.

So, I loved this idea of taking the money and giving it a special presentation to mark the occasion.

I googled "money tree", "money topiary", etc. but couldn't find an example of what my friends had described so I made up my own version based on what they told me.

And I LOVED the outcome so much that I thought I'd share it with all of you.

You could customize the tree in so many ways. Changing the colors of the ribbons, pot, name it! For this topiary, I used about 90 $1 bills. If that's too much money for you, make a smaller topiary in a smaller pot...or add more leaves and ribbons...

No matter what you do, the receiver will love you for it!

The rest of the post is taken up with showing you how I made mine. As soon as I have a minute, I'll convert it to a .pdf file and reduce the size of this post. If you're not interested in how it's made, you can skip it!


  1. 6" clay pot
  2. 12" 0.75 inch wooden dowel
  3. Paint for dowel and for pot (I used paint specifically for the clay pot)
  4. Florist greening pins
  5. Green styrofoam ball (I used 6 inch)
  6. Green foam block for inside pot
  7. 6" Pot Topper
  8. Crisp currency for folding
  9. Leaves
  10. Foam paint brush
1. Gather supplies: I bought all of these supplies at Michaels Craft Store here in the States.
2. Paint the pot and the wooden dowel. Let dry.
3. Place styrofoam block in pot and break up the second block into pieces in order to fill the pot completely.

4. Press dowel through center of styrofoam and remove. Make sure to hold dowel perfectly vertical.
5. Take pot topper and cut a cross in the center of the moss so the dowel can fit through.

6. Put a little glue in the hole...
7. Place dowel through topper and into hole. Center and place styrofoam ball on top of dowel, placing a little glue in that hole as well (no pic of that step)

8. This part takes the longest so I recommend starting it ahead of time and enlisting help. Fold currency accordion style (new crisp bills work best but you can use any...)9. For a U.S. bill, the fold should be about 3/8" wide...just the width of the floral pin you'll be using to place it on the styrofoam ball. Bend the bill about a 1/4" from the bottom and fold fan vertical to the pin.

10. Place pin in ball. 11. And spread fan of bill...

12. OK. Remember you're going to need A LOT of bills to cover the ball...or use a smaller ball.

13. Place bills in every direction, starting to cover the entire styrofoam ball.

14. I stopped at about $90 amd the ball looks like this. I didn't quite care for the styrofoam showing through so...15. I found some green satin leaves (in the bridal section at Michaels) and cut the stems shorter. I loved the color of this green with the money but I suppose you could use flowers or other colored leaves. Have fun!

16. I placed the leaves in all the places where the styrofoam showed through.17. Lastly, I personalized the pot by adding signs and ribbons. And voila! A

Have a great day!


Robin said...

Cha-Ching! Great idea, Susan. Wonderful tutorial. Shannon is one lucky girl. I'm counting down the days until I see the Alice in Wonderland quilt in person.

coral-seas said...

Awesome, what a fun and imaginative way to give money. The smallest note with have in the UK is 5 pounds, so it could become rather expensive but I think it is a wonderful idea.

Hopefully Shannon with like it so much, she will spend the money slowly to make it last :-)

And congratulations to Shannon.

staci said...

AWESOME! I love this idea, it sure beats money-in-a-card!!! Thanks for the great tutorial too :)

Ingrid Mida said...

What an incredible gift for a graduate!! I LOVE it and will borrow your idea when my sons graduate. I'll bet with colourful Canadian money the tree will have take on the look of a fall tree, but since our smallest bill is a $5, I'll have to start with a pretty small base. LOL!
Have a great weekend Susan.

Vicki W said...

That's very clever!

Catherine said...

What a great idea!! HHmmmm....I wonder how many people you could get to enter for a chance to win one of these babies? Instead of money, you could cover one with stitching stuff!

Judy S. said...

Very clever, Susan! And sure to be a hit!

Judy S. said...

Very clever, Susan! And sure to be a hit!

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

O, you posted this just in time. My youngest grandson will be 13 Sunday. He is the money man. He has jeans that come out of the wash with money in them. He calls them his money pants.

In home ec they had to sew, so he made a frog out of money fabric. Its his money frog. Last night I folded him over and hid money in the fold. I haven't had a chance to see what he thought of it.

We are giving him 100 for his birthday on Sunday and this is the perfect idea. Not sure it will be a tree. He has money fabric shorts (grundies) that maybe I'll just money up.

Thanks Susan, for another inspiring post.
xx, Carol

Dees said...

We got a moneytree made out of money on a real plant (ficus Benjamini) on our weddingday! It was sooo fun (and hard to get all the money off of it LOL)

Sheila Iskin said...

Wow! Really cute! Great job on it, and I love the instructions. This is graduation season big time around here.


PS. I think you'd be a great craft designer for Martha Stewart Magazine or Family Fun, Susan. This would make a great portfolio piece.

Sheila Iskin said...

This would also make a great Silent Auction project to raffle off. If you hide the denomination, people can buy a raffle ticket for a small amount for the chance to win big.

Great presentation, as always. You're so clever. :)

Susan said...

Just a short note to say that I'm enjoying your blog and follow it regularly. I admire your abundant creativity!!

Mosaic Magpie said...

Great idea I have heard of a money tree at a wedding but not as a graduation gift.

Front Range Stitcher said...

Oh gosh, leave it to you think of something fabulous and different, then share how you did it with us and on and on. You're the best Susan. ARE the best. And all this in your spare time too. I just love topiaries, but one with cash, you really know how to top an iary girl! You always brighten my day.

Suzanne said...

Very cool, and ever so creative. I'd never seen anything like this. You did a beautiful job and the photo tutorial is excellent.

Lisa Boni said...

I love the way you infuse even the simplest of gifts with so much creativity thereby turning it into something extraordinary!

Vicki Boster said...

That is the cutest and most original idea for giving the gift of money that I have ever seen - call me a copy cat - I am making that for sure!

Thanks for sharing!


Annette said...

This is the best looking money tree I've seen! I'm definitely bookmarking this for the future!

flyingbeader said...

What a fabulous idea. You know even my Mother would love something like this for the holidays. I can never find anything to give to a 76 year old woman except money & I always feel like I'm cheating by just giving her an envelope with cash. I think I'm going to make her one of these for Christmas but in the shape of an evergreen tree by using cone shaped styrofoam...she'll love it.

Phillipa said...

This is a brilliant idea.

CarmiƱa said...

I never before had seeing a money tree.
It's great for young people.
Since there are not 1€ bills and 5 euro bills will be a little expensive ... I have to think about, maybe with coins.

Thanks for share

Sew Create It - Jane said...

That is pure genius...I don't know anyone who wouldn't love that topiary.

Loralynn said...

What a FANtastic idea! It's darling and what a great graduation present to give!!!

Elizabeth said...

Love this idea!!!! Definately a great way to present the thing that the kid's need the most!!!! Thanks os much for sharing with us!!! I am sure taht Shannon was or will be thrilled with it, you clever girl!!!!

SandyQuilts said...

Adorable and Thank you. Graduation is passed. We have an 18th birthday and an off-to-college parties ... it will be perfect. thanks again.

I assume that's Michigan .... we too have an "M" for Marshall.

Anonymous said...

Great gift idea and tutorial. Thanks for sharing.

Cindy Groh said...

Fabulous idea and love what you did:)

joekki said...

Nice tutorial. :) I'll make my own money tree, when I have enough 100 euro bills (those are the only ones that are green ;) ).. I guess the year would be 2050 when that's possible.
- Juha from Finland.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE this! The tutorial is also GREAT! Thanks for sharing! I making TWO of these today for a party!

KT said...

Susan, your pictures and instructions were so clear and easy to follow! I made one for a school raffle, and in addition to the bills, I used gold dollar coins hot glued to 2" cut bamboo skewers with leaves to look like kumquats. Such a fun and (aside from the actual dollars) inexpensive craft! Thank you!

Related Posts with Thumbnails