DIY stacks of cash.

DIY-builds and hacks, Film, Photoshop

There might come time when you need a briefcase full of money. I realize we all need that, always, but I’m talking props here. Stacks of cash bundled up is a great item in any story whether you’re shooting a music video or film. The nice thing about this prop is that it’s fairly cheap and easy to make.

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Here’s what you need:

  • Camera (or internet) and printer.
  • A4 paper.
  • Tea.
  • Razorblade cutter.
  • Gluestick.
  • Newspaper (or ads).
  • Briefcase.

If you’re gonna make stacks of cash with whatever currency you’ve got lying around the house (don’t we all have cash just lying around the house?) the best way is to photograph front and back of the bill you’re gonna make. That way you get a high-resolution image to work with in Photoshop.

If you’re like me and need money from the good ‘ol days, go look around the internet – it’s not that hard to find high quality images of old bills. For this project I wanted to make Swedish 100kr bills from the 1970’s –  and I didn’t have to look for that long. Once you have your images of the bills, have a look at “bill bands” online. You can probably design your own in Photoshop, but remember, the greatness of this prop is in the details so don’t forget to add a serial number and some sort of stamp on your bill band. If you’re doing different notes – change the colours up on your bill bands!

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Adding realistic details to your bill band is gonna take this prop to a higher level.

The rest of the process is quite simple:

  • Soak some A4 papers in teawater (it doesn’t have to be hot – we just want to tint the paper a bit to make the money look used).
  • Crinkle your papers up and flatten them out again. Leave to dry and put them under some heavy books to flatten them out again. The wrinkles will still show, but now your papers will do ok in the printer.
  • Make a A4 document in Photoshop and fill it with your images of the bill you’re using. Make sure you’ve got the correct size. Again – the details.
  • Cut out your bills.
  • Cut newspapers or ads to the same size as your bills.
  • Make a cash-sandwich. Newspapers being your filling – front and back of bills being the bread.
  • Print out your bill bands and cut them out in long strips.
  • Put it around your stack of cash and glue it together on the bottom.
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Cutting newspapers is the boring part here, but getting the correct size is important to make it look realistic.

The thrift shops usually have a briefcase or two lying around for no money at all. I’ve got a nice collection, some of them salvaged from garbagerooms. Once you start looking, you’ll see old briefcases everywhere. Good luck!

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