Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees!! Or does it??

A “Money Tree” makes a unique and special gift for hard-to-buy-for teens and grads

By Donna Comer

For me, gift giving is truly an art. I enjoy the hunt for the perfect gift, wrapping the gift so the recipient almost hates to open the package, and seeing the look on the recipient’s face after opening the gift. (Especially if the perfect gift really is perfect!)

Sometimes, though, finding that perfect gift is a challenge. Teens and graduates, in particular, can be a challenge to buy for. Cash is always welcome, but how personal is that? My pondering led me to visualize a “money tree” which I managed to execute quite nicely with a very welcome reception from my teen. Read on to find out how easy it can be to turn cash into a more personalized and special gift.

One bit of advice before you get started: While the tree is easy to make, patience and time are essential, so do not try to do this the night before the special day!


$1 bills (Trust me, use $1′s. You will be surprised how many bills will end up on the tree. And, I would suggest older bills, as they are easier to work with. )

Stick pins (I used some with green balls on the ends. I had a container of 100. The number used will vary on the size of your tree, if you need to pin corners down, how closely you arrange your bills, etc.)

Tissue Paper (Cut in squares. I cut my paper into 8″ squares. Use your own desired colors.)

Styrofoam Floral Ball (Size of your choice. I used one 5″ in diameter. Just remember, the ball will take a lot more money to fill than you think!)

Florist Block (Your local craft store will have these. Make sure you purchase one big enough to fit snugly in your pot.)

A stick (I picked one up out of my yard! Mine was 18″. You need it long enough to secure one end in the Styrofoam ball and one in the florist block.)

Terracotta Pot

Spanish Moss

Raffia or ribbon or any other garnishments. The Money Tree can be decorated with any kind of flare, to personalize it for milestone birthdays, graduations, weddings, Christmas, house warmings, or any other occasion!


1. Stack 3 dollar bills and accordion fold the bills length wise.
2. Fold the group in half. It will be reminiscent of paper fans you made as a child.
3. Working from the folded end of the “fan”, fold the end in about ½”.
4. Holding that end tightly, Begin to separate the dollar bills, shaping and “crunching” them into a carnation like appearance.
5. Secure the “flower” to the ball with a stick pin. You might have to push the pin through the dollar bills first, then secure it to the ball. I found this to be easier, especially when working with newer bills.
6. Repeat steps 1-5, securing the flowers about ½” apart.**
7. You might have to work some of the “leaves” or “petals” into desired shapes. This will help cover the Styrofoam ball. Continue pinning flowers until the ball is just about covered, leaving enough empty space around the bottom of the ball to insert the stick.
8. Insert the stick into the center of the bottom of your ball. Pushing it in far enough that the ball is secure on the stick and will not fall off.
9. Fill the rest of the ball with flowers.
10. Place the florist block into your terracotta pot, remember, you need it to fit tightly in the pot.
11. Insert the tree into the block. Again, make sure everything is secure and isn’t falling over to one side or the other. I used some rocks to help hold my tree in place.
12. Fill the pot with Spanish moss, decorative rocks, or some other “ground cover.”
13. Decorate your tree with raffia, ribbon or anything else you’d like.

** Steps 1-5 can be done with tissue paper as well. This might help keep your gift in your budget! If you are making tissue paper flowers to fill in some space, use stacks of 4 tissue paper squares.

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