Making bookmarks out of money -- play, money that is!

bookmark business card
Recently, I donated one of my Nancy Drew book tablet cases to Book'd in Burbank, and the organizer asked for a stack of my cards, to distribute to participants. 

I obliged, but couldn't help imagining all those people tossing the cards into the recycle bin. I can't blame them -- I never know what to do with cards and other handouts hiding in my goodie bag.

Then I got thinking. Could I make a business card that people would actually want to hold onto? And showcase the fun of upcycling at the same time? Sure, I could.

The event attracts book lovers, so I needed to make something that book lovers love (besides books). Traditional business cards are rectangular and flat -- just like bookmarks! I'd make my own dual-use upcycled bookmark-business cards.

I ransacked my stash of play money (left over from journals made from game boards, like this one). I tried Monopoly money, but the pastel colors seem sad and tired. Also, the bills are too fat for my liking. Instead, I grabbed a stack of bright bills from a vintage game.
play money
To make the bookmarks stiff, I created a base out of two pages from a book I'd already gutted to use as a tablet case (sorry, Nancy). I aligned the bills on the paper. To hold the bills in place, I used double-sided tape.
making an upcycled bookmark out of play money
I did the same on the back. But instead of putting all the bills right-side up, I exposed the back side of half of them, so I could stamp my logo and website on top. Then I sewed the edges of each bookmark. First I sewed a straight stitch along the short ends of each bill.
making an upcycled bookmark out of play money
I cut apart the 3 rectangles and sewed around the outside edge, using an overstitch setting.
making an upcycled bookmark out of play money.
Next, I tried including one of my real business cards instead of the stamp. It's shorter than the play money, so the bookmarks themselves aren't as tall.
making an upcycled bookmark out of play money

I like the way the long-nosed lady is pointing toward my logo. But the stitch hides my email address, so if I wanted to make more, I'd need to adjust the margins on my cards.

Here's what the bookmark looks inside a real book.
making an upcycled bookmark out of play money
To give my bookmarks a final polish, I trimmed off the thread ends (nobody wants a hairy bookmark), and then packaged them up like a stack of real money.
making an upcycled bookmark out of play money
I hope the readers attending Book'd at Burbank enjoy their gifts as much as I enjoyed making them.


  1. What a fun idea. I'm trying to figure out something to put in goodie bags for a conference - it's a spinning conference. I've put a coupon in them in the past with a code so I'd know who bought in my etsy shop using that particular coupon - not one was used, people tend to trash them so was thinking of something like a bookmark, or maybe something with a wool sample.

    1. If you do make a bookmark, you could thread a few strands of wool at the end.

  2. This is so cool! If I got one of these I would love it. What an awesome idea so showcase your talents and give people something they'll actually use!


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