Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mini-Piggy Bank

It seems like I never have any spare change when I need it, and I have nothing but when I don’t! I’ve found this to be particularly true when I’m at work. It seems like once or twice a month, there’s some need for spare change: a penny drive or space change collection or similar. Well, my purse is not usually convenient, my slacks don’t have pockets, and while I often have change in my desk, who knows where it is under the broken pencils and half-used sticky pads.

I decided to something about it. I’ve had this little Grey Poupon jar that I’ve been itching to used more effectively.  It usually houses thumb tacks, but it’s sort of a waste of space since I don’t have that many thumb tacks. It was perfect to make a mini bank out of so I’d always be able to find change quickly.

First, I wanted to cut a change hole in the top. The jar is so old, I think it originally sold for a dollar seventy. This means the lid is a pretty heavy metal. I looked online for how to safely cut it and couldn't find much. I did read that a chisel would work, but we didn't have one. I also didn't have a block of wood to pound a nail through the lid into ten times to create a slit, and frankly I'm not sure how well that would have worked, anyway.

My husband ended up using his Dremel to cut me a hole. I was going to do it myself, but I chickened out at the last minute because I was afraid I either wouldn't grip the lid tight enough and send it flying, or I wouldn't press with the blade hard enough and bounce it off and catch myself in the hand. Anyway, the Dremel worked great, but there were sparks involved, so I recommend wearing safety goggles and not letting children do this part of the project.

I suppose you don't really need the hole in the top, but I think it makes it less likely to get into to take the money if you're using the jar as a way to save up for something special.

On to decorating! Next, I cut up some scrapbook paper leftovers into even smaller pieces. I started with about 1" squares and found that 1/2" squares were better because of the small size of the jar and getting around the rounded curve at the top. My squares weren't perfect, either, because I thought that made a more interesting pattern on the jar.

Then I got out my trusty Mod Podge. I only have Shimmer Mod Podge, which means it made my paper darker, with a silver glittery tint. It was really dark when first applied, but dried nicely. Follow the instructions to paint a small section of the jar with Mod Podge, put down a piece of paper, spread more Mod Podge over that, and repeat with all the pieces of paper until the jar is covered.

To break things up a little, I used plain white paper for the lid. See how silver it is now?

After all of that was thoroughly dry, I used a spray sealant over it all. Some people will say this is optional, but I've had trouble with my Mod Podge getting kind of sticky in high humidity, even months after it was painted.

It wasn't intentional, but I think it's kind of nice how the outside of the jar resembles money now, which is what it will hold. I really just went through my paper box and pulled out the first strips of paper I found, about 12" x 1", which I never got around to throwing away in the hopes I could still use it. Seems like I could!

Alternative Containers and Lids!

I read some online tutorials that suggested using empty plastic jars (such as peanut butter jars) for kids because the lids are easier to cut through and they can't break. I'm not sure how well Mod Podge sticks to plastic, but you could decorate some other way. Other people have suggested using Mason or canning jars, then instead of the regular metal lit, cutting a round piece of cardboard with a slit in it and then using the regular jar ring to secure it. I've also seen the small cardboard oatmeal containers used, and I think that would be really fun to decorate, and easier than a jar because it doesn't have the rounded edge at the top, which I found annoying to get around.

Have you ever tried to make your own piggy bank? If so, what did you use as a container? How did you choose to decorate it?


  1. I have a bank we stash our change in. It was originally a tub of local honey. Plastic, about 1 gal. Since I need quarters for laundry, the slit cut into the lid is big enough only for the smaller coins. Since the lid screws on, I can open it to toss in dollar bills when I have them.

    I didn't decorate the jar, but I did write "Vacation Money" on it with a sharpie. It hasn't been used for that yet, though.

    I store coin rollers in that jar, too, and at the very least, once every 6 months I open it, count the change, roll the coins, and exchange them at the bank.

    The cool thing is, a lot of the change in there comes from stuff I find on the ground/floor at work (a grocery store). Since I'm there late at night, I always check the floor before the janitor sweeps...

    Once I found a $20 bill on my way to work... it went straight into the money jar.

  2. with 3 kids still at home...spare money is an oxymoron. lol. they're always asking for our change.


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