Thursday, 20 December 2012

How to make... Recycled Paper Money Banks

Fun With Papier Mache

papier mache or paper mache handmade banks
Selection of Sealed Money Pots made as part of our first bank-making challenge

Hobbies and games can cost a fortune, so save your cash and all the paper, including gift wrappings, that you can. Now get a free hobby that the whole family can enjoy and take part in our 2013 sealed pot challenge in the Frugaldom Forums

As a longtime frugaler, I have also been a great fan of recycling and that doesn't always just mean separating green, clear and brown glass or putting your old papers in the appropriate bins. It can mean making one thing out of another, turning waste into something fun and/or practical.

As you'll see from the above, several of the frugal living challengers started by making sealed pots and banks from paper. These were made in 2007 as part of a previous challenge, but some are still going and look as good as new! The challenge is still running and will continue into 2013.

To help get you started, here's what you'll need to make your first sealed money pot or animal bank:


1 inflated balloon
Egg carton or similar for snouts/noses/feet
Scrap paper for ears, tails etc
Paint for decorating - emulsion, poster paints etc or else use coloured paper on final layer of papier mache.
1 cup flour
3 cups water
Newspapers/magazines/wrapping paper/old bank statements or bills (once you pay them) torn into strips.

Blow up your balloon
Cut the appropriate noses/feet, if needed, and attach them gently (with tape/paste/glue) to form the basic animal shape
Mix 1 cup water with one cup plain flour into a thick paste
Boil the other 2 cups of water in a pan, then stir in the above
Simmer for a few minutes, keep stirring (like making sauce)
Cool the paste before dipping the paper and sticking it to the balloon
Allow your creation to dry before painting it
Pierce top to burst the balloon and cut the slot for feeding in the money

Depending on the temperature and humidity of your house, these can take at least a few days to dry properly. Some people store them in airing cupboards, some sit them on shelves or racks over radiators, others simply leave them sitting some place dry for longer. It's best not to sit them in the kitchen or bathroom, where steam can build up and slow the drying process. You don't want the flour paste turning sour because it's taking so long to 'set'.

Once completely dry - it 'sounds' dry when tapped - you can paint it in whatever design you like.

You might also like to take a look at McGonks - our 2013 recycling enterprise using offcuts of fabric for arts and crafting.

Happy bank-making,


  1. that's a good idea. I am using an old Quality Street container as my sealed pot.

    1. Gill, these are great fun to make. 'Cash Cow' and 'Penny Penguin', who isn't in the photo, are still going strong, although 'cash cow' gets used by an ornament by the person I gave her to as a gift in Christmas 2007. LOL

    2. I'm thinking of giving this a try for next Christmas. I remember doing papier mache at school many moons ago and we would coat the balloons with a thin film of vasaline before sticking on the first layer of paper because that aided with removal of the balloon once everything was dried out.


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