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How to make a money tree {teacher appreciation}

Posted by  ·  April 3, 2018  ·  Last Updated: April 3, 2018

Let me show you how to make a money tree!  A money tree makes a useful and appreciated gift.  Teachers often spend their own money on extras for the classroom, so a bit of extra cash will show them how much you appreciate their hard work! Looking for more ways to thank a teacher check out some amazing  Teacher Appreciation ideas! If that is not enough we have more teacher gifts ideas.

DIY Money Tree

I am always amazed at how dedicated teachers are.  Most continue day after day underpaid and overworked.  Teacher Appreciation Week a great time to say thank you for all the extra they do to ensure our children have bright futures. A money tree is a fun way to aknolwege their efforts and give them a tiny bonus to brighten their day.
how to make a money tree

Money Tree

Send a request home in students’ backpacks to collect money from the class to use to decorate this cute tree with.   Most parents will happily send a few dollars to school to celebrate their child’s teacher.  At my school, you can put a sealed envelope with the parent’s name (or even “Jeremy’s Parent” if you don’t know names) on the envelope so that the teacher does not know what you are doing.  Depending on how much money you get will tell you how to break up your denominations.  You want the tree to be full so even use one dollar bills if you need to.  The above tree has 1’s, 5’s, 10’s, and 20’s.
You could do this quicker and easier by just rolling up money and tying it to the tree.  However, I really wanted my money tree to be super cute!  There are a million different origami flowers that you can use for this.  I went with the one that I thought was the prettiest flower!  This is a little time consuming but is so worth it!  I found the tutorial for the flower at Origami Money Flower Blog! This blog has a video tutorial as well as pdf instructions!

money tree

Money Tree Supplies

  • Tree form
  • Dollar bills (all denominations, my tree used 33 bills)
  • Chalkboard Paint
  • paint brush
  • floral foam or plaster of Paris to secure tree form
  • moss or paper shred to cover the base of tree form
  • Glue Dots
    money tree tutorial

How to make a money tree

1. Get a tree form.

I wanted something the teacher might use again once they remove the money.  I found this tree at the Dollar Store (so even if she throws it away after she takes the money off, it was only a dollar!
teacher appreciation money tree

2. Paint a rectangle of chalkboard paint onto the pot.

I used this rectangle to write the teachers name on it for the finished gift.  Then, the teacher can just erase that and write their own phrases to go with how they decorate the tree.  They could write “Happy Easter” and hang small easter eggs, or whatever the season!
flatten money for money tree

3.  Iron your money flat.

I went to the bank and got dollar bills in every denomination up to 20’s.  Then, I used my flat iron to make them all nice and crisp! A regular iron may also be used. Be careful not to scorch the money.

origami money

4.  Make origami flowers.

My flowers took three dollar bills for each flower.  This is the origami flower instructions that I used, but you can use any that you want!
homemade money tree

5.  Attach flowers to the tree.

I attached mine using glue dots.  This works really well at holding the flowers in place, but the glue dots will not ruin the money!
flower origami money tree

6.  Write the teacher’s name onto the pot.

In the end, the teacher can easily take the flowers off the tree, unfold them, and use them!  Now they can get exactly what they want (or need), they received a beautiful gift, and there was thought and time put into the gift!  Seems like a win, win, win for me! I truly believe it takes a village to raise our children and so I am very grateful to the teachers in my children’s lives!  I really try to think of giving something that teachers will actually want and not just be appreciative of the thought! Now you know just how to make a money tree for your special teacher.

DIY Money Tree
rebecca w
For Skip To My Lou readers that do not know me my name is Rebecca and I blog at Roots And Wings Co.  I thoroughly believe that as parents our job is to give our children Roots and Wings!  I grew up with traditions, craftiness, and stories.  I hope that my little corner on the web will help you to establish roots for your family to grow from, and wings so that you can soar with ideas you get from me.

Leave a Comment


  1. B
    Wednesday, April 4th, 2018
    Super cute idea, especially for a graduation or shower gift. Before giving to a teacher, parents should check to see if the teacher is permitted to accept a cash gift. In my district, teachers may accept gift cards but not money.
  2. Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018
    Awesome idea! But here in Canada, it would look more colorful but very costly since our bills start at $5. It would make a great gift for a child going off to college or university or even for a few friends to go into together on for a wedding gift.
  3. us business email list
    Monday, January 26th, 2015
    Pretty! Thhis was an incredibly wonderful article. Thanks for supplying this information.
  4. Beth
    Thursday, March 1st, 2012
    I am definitely doing this for a basket raffle idea! It is so cute who wouldn't want a money tree?
  5. Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
    Carolyn, that video was fast. There were printed directions next to the link for the video that might be more helpful to you! They sure helped me! But there are tons of other easier origami flowers that you can do. The ones I used were kind of tricky but I thought they were the prettiest ones that I could find! ;)

    [email protected]
  6. Carolyn
    Saturday, April 30th, 2011
    This was a cute idea, but the Origami folding video was very fast, no printed directions and really really tough to do. I was using heavy weight (not cardstock) paper. Maybe I should try with tissue paper.

    I was going to have the kids write their favorite memory on a paper (dollar bill size) and then use those. Giving the teacher a typed page of their sentiments.
  7. Saturday, April 23rd, 2011
    What a great (and very useful!) idea! Love the cash origami. :)
  8. Kim
    Thursday, April 21st, 2011
    Oh my goodness! I absolutely love this, as both a teacher and a mom. In fact, I think it is so nifty that yesterday I typed up a letter to give out to all the parents in my son's class & drove to the Dollar Tree to buy some little Easter trees. Thanks for the great idea. Now to go practice folding money......
  9. Wednesday, April 20th, 2011
    I am a homeschooler so when we buy a teacher's gift, it is ALWAYS something she wants ;) However, when I saw this, I thought it would also make a great graduation gift or a wedding/bridal shower gift. Typically, I hate giving money because it feels so impersonal, but you have found a way to personalize it and I LOVE it!!! Thanks so much for sharing!
  10. Wednesday, April 20th, 2011
  11. Jenny
    Wednesday, April 20th, 2011
    This is such a great idea! Your children have one lucky teacher to have you as the room mother! This is a wonderful tutorial -- so fun!
  12. Wednesday, April 20th, 2011
    I don't know how I stumbled upon your blog, but I love it. I saved many of your ideas and I was wondering if I may have your permission to post some on my blog(s) WITH LINKS BACK TO YOU of course. Are you a TX girl, too? I was born and raised in Ft. Worth, but now live in Aggieland.
  13. Wednesday, April 20th, 2011
    Wow, I look at all of these teacher appreciation gifts and think it would be great if just one of you were a parent in my classroom.

    But today's money tree has me cracking up. What an awesome gift. Except in our state, this is illegal. Unless those bills are all ones. We aren't allowed to accept anything greater than $50. I have a ridiculous post about it on my blog.
  14. Sara @ Mom Endeavors
    Tuesday, April 19th, 2011
    Rebecca, I adore this!!! How creative!! As a teacher, I can 100% say that I would have been super excited to receive this! L.O.V.E. love it!
  15. Kate
    Tuesday, April 19th, 2011
    This is a really cute idea! I would just note that, as a teacher myself, I would feel very uncomfortable accepting money from students and parents. Perhaps an alternative to cash would be little notes where kids write something they learned this year? Or something they appreciated about being in my class? Regardless, thanks for thinking of teachers and making us feel special!
  16. Tuesday, April 19th, 2011
    Thank you so much for inviting me to guest post on your blog! I am so honored and loving being on your blog!

  17. Tuesday, April 19th, 2011
    This is a great idea!
  18. Tuesday, April 19th, 2011
    Cindy, thanks for asking me to be a part of this fun teacher appreciation event! Such a thrill to see myself on your great blog!! ;)