The next time you slip a dollar bill into a child, teen or graduate's card as a gift, be creative: Fold it into a simple, interesting shape such as a bow tie, using origami. The ancient Chinese paper-folding art, origami is as much about the creases as it is about the folds. Provide instructions so the youngster can recreate the image before the cold cash leaves his or her hot hands. Origami dollar-bill folding is also an amusing way to give allowance, encourage savings (stash away different-shaped bills in a lock box for safekeeping) or leave a tip.
Origami Bow Tie
Flatten a dollar bill by running your hand over it on a smooth work surface. Straighten any dog-eared corners. Ideally, work with a crisp, new dollar bill.
Center the bill on the table in front of you, lengthwise and portrait-side up.
Fold the dollar under along the right side of the portrait's margin. Run your finger along the crease.
Bring the folded section of the bill back, leaving an inch underneath by folding accordion-style. Repeat on the left side of the bill.
Turn the bill over.
Fold the lower edge of the bill, lengthwise up to the center line.
Press in the center with one finger to hold the bill's folds in place. Using your thumb and pointer finger of the other hand, grab hold of one lower corner and pull it outward. Switch hands and repeat on the other side. This will form the first two corners of your bow.
Turn the bow around, and repeat by folding the bottom side up to the center and pulling the final two corners of your bow out.
Flip the project over to reveal your finished bow tie.
The shape of a dollar bill works for numerous origami designs, such as hearts, elephants, rings, butterflies and flowers. Use decorative wrapping paper, cut to size, for other origami patterns.