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DIY Graduation Gift Money Box

Looking for an easy, customizable and CREATIVE way to gift the graduate in your life money? This DIY Graduation Gift Money Box will be a huge hit for graduates of high school and college! Read on for everything you need to know about this Graduation Money Gift.

All right y’all. I’m here with one of my favorite DIY graduation gifts I’ve ever created: A Graduation Gift Money Memory Box!

This makes an ideal gift for graduates because it includes photos of the graduate, inspiring quotes AND cash. Plus, it can be customized to your budget, is FUN to make and graduates just love it. You can add as many pictures, quotes and as much cash as you’d like to.

I gave these boxes to my son’s friends and my niece last year when they graduated high school and to my nephew this year when he graduated from college.

I’m here to share everything you need along with simple DIY instructions so you can make this graduation gift yourself! It could also work as a birthday gift, with just the photos and cash!

Let’s get into this fun graduation DIY!

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A small black box with graduation stickers on the front sits on a table in front of celebratory balloons.

What is a Graduation Gift Money Box?

This box is so much fun to gift! A long strip of paper is attached to a decorative dowel inside of a 3″x3″ box. You add photos of the graduate, inspiring graduation quotes, and dollar bills to the paper strip. The graduate grabs the dowel and pulls up on the paper to reveal fun memories, inspiring quotes AND cash!

I usually gift $75-100 as a graduation gift, but you can do any amount and the grad will be so grateful! You can put the cash into all different types of bills to make the paper strip as long or as short as you’d like.

What you’ll need to make this DIY Graduation Gift

Small 3×3” Box I love BLACK, but there is also brown available. 

Small wooden dowel (I use kebab sticks from the grocery store and cut them to size)

Graduation Washi Tape This is perfect for attaching dollar bills, because it doesn’t rip the money when you remove it. Plus it is festive and so cute!

Avery Square Labels 94104

Photos of the graduate (you can use actual printed photos OR print them directly onto Avery Square Labels to make it super simple, I’ll explain more below).

Cash (as much or little as you would like)

Graduation Stickers for the outside of the box  (I made mine on a Cricut from the school’s logos and a Class of 20__ design). 

Paper Cutter

Exacto Craft Knife

White paper cut into strips the width of dollar bills (approximately 2.61 inches)

Scotch Tape

Graduation Gift Money Box Instructions

Etsy Listing Graduation Gift Quotes

Step 1: Print Quote and Photo Stickers

To start, you will make the quote and photo stickers that you’ll be using in this gift. To make it easier for you, I have 27 inspiring graduation quotes in a pdf format for cheap in my Etsy Shop, ready to print straight onto Avery Square labels 94104! You can also design your own quotes on the stickers or print on paper and glue it straight on.

I also uploaded photos of the graduate in the Avery Template website and printed them straight onto the labels. This is really simple to do, but you will need to create a free account. Once you’ve uploaded your pictures onto the label template, you’ll save them as a pdf and print them out directly onto the sticker labels (this saves SO much time when you start to assemble the box!).

A black box with a vinyl college logo sticker being placed upon it.

Step 2: Decorate the Outside of the Money Box

I use my Cricut Machine and vinyl to make custom stickers that include the graduation year, high school or college logos and the graduates name. There are also so many cute pre-made Graduation Stickers for the outside of the box you can buy on Amazon! Or if you are crafty, you could draw or paint the sides of the Small 3×3” Box. Lots of options for this step.

A paper cutter with strips cut the width of a dollar bill.

Step 3: Cut Paper Strips and tape them together.

Using computer printer White paper, cut paper strips that are the same width as a dollar bill (approximately 2.61″). To make this easier, I use a dry erase marker to mark the Paper Cutter with the width and then I can quickly and easily cut a bunch of strips of paper.

I used about 15 strips of paper for this graduation box that had $100 worth of bills on it.

Next, use Scotch Tape to tape these paper strips into a really long strip. I put scotch tape on the front and the back of each connection.

A paper strip with two hands attaching a sticker quote to the paper. A dollar bill is already attached.

Step 4: Add photos, inspirational graduation quotes and dollar bills to the long paper strip

This is the fun part! You can do this any way you’d like, but you need to leave a space at the top of the strip to attach the wooden dowel in step 6. I like to alternate the Avery Square Labels 94104 with photos and quotes with the dollar bills.

I use Graduation Washi Tape to attach dollar bills to the paper strip. This tape is perfect because it won’t rip the money when the graduate removes it.

Keep adding the photos, quotes and money until you have them all attached.

A photo of a small black box being cut with a craft knife.

Step 5: Cut an opening slot in the top of the box

Using the width of the dollar bill as a guide, make an opening in the top of the box that is slightly wider than the dollar bill. I used a white colored pencil, a ruler, and a Exacto Craft Knife to create the slot.

Form the box. You’ll notice that the top flaps inside the box block the slot opening. Use the white colored pencil to mark the flaps and then cut those off so the money slot is fully open when the box is closed.

Step 6: Cut a wooden dowel to the width of the box and cover in washi tape

I use Small wooden kebab sticks from the grocery store for this. Cut it the width of the top of the box (about 3″). Just make sure it is bigger than the slot in the top.

Cover the wooden dowel in Graduation Washi Tape.

Using a large piece of packing tape, attach the dowel to the top of the paper strip.

a paper strip with money taped to it is being rolled up.

Step 7: Roll up the paper strip from the bottom and insert in the box

Starting at the bottom of the paper strip, begin rolling it as tightly as possible. once the entire strip is rolled up and you’ve reached the dowel, place the rolled-up paper strip into the box, and slide the dowel out of the slot opening.

Use double-sided tape inside to secure the box closed.

A small black box with hands pulling a dowel through a slot opening.

Ta-da! Your DIY Graduation Gift Money Memory Box is complete! Now gift it to your favorite graduate and watch their joy as they get to see all of the photos, quotes and cash unroll out of the box.

I hope you enjoyed this DIY tutorial, and I hope your graduate loves this gift! Thanks for stopping by!

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