6 perfect DIY piggy bank ideas

A piggy bank on a yellow back to school backpack.

Getting kids excited about saving can be wonderful. It teaches them money skills, responsibility, and how to think ahead. “Delayed gratification” isn’t just a million-dollar word for Cookie Monster, after all. (Though who wouldn’t love Tom Hiddleston as a babysitter?)

Plus, if they make their piggy bank, you can add DIY arts and crafts to those handy life lessons. 

So as the kids head back to school, here are six unique ideas to start them on their savings journey and make a piggy bank from scratch.

Supplies you’ll need…

Overhead shot of DIY arts supplies on a pink surface.

It’s open season in your crafts closet! We’re talking glitter, glue, tape (especially washi tape), coloured paper, wrapping paper, crepe paper, string, ribbon, googly eyes, textas, stickers, paint: whatever your imagination desires.​​ The beauty of these piggy bank ideas is that they can take any form you wish, so have fun!

1. Long live the hipsters! Decorate a mason jar

A row of glowing mason jars at night.

Ah, the mason jar: a simple ingredient in every DIY project. Even an empty pasta sauce jar will do in a pinch: glass, no matter how you dress it, just looks fancy.

To transform a mason jar into a piggy bank, all you have to do is cover the outside in your favourite colours – paper and glue, paint, or stickers work wonders here. Tie a cute little ribbon around the rim, or add flaming trails to turn it into a rocket ship.

Ta-da! It’s ready for your kid to plunk in all the coins, bills, and IOUs they earn (or find between your couch cushions).

2. Shoebox? Shoebank

Painted shoebox next to scissors and paintbrushes on a blue background.

Their feet grow a size every six months, so why not turn an old shoe box into a piggy bank? This idea has the added benefit of easy cutting: punch or stab a rectangle slit in the top (carefully), then decorate the outside.

The delightful shape of a shoebox means it can take on all kinds of looks: animals, nature scenes, or even an actual bank! 

Better still, teach them early mobile banking skills by creating their own (analogue) smartphone app on the lid. That way, they learn to associate real money with whatever they have on a banking or budgeting app later.

3. Become a cereal saver

Decorated yellow cereal box with scissors and Australian coins.

As a long boi version of the shoebox, the cereal box makes a handy (and space-efficient) piggy bank. Slap some coloured paper, stickers, paint, and glitter on the outside, and voilá: instant savings. 

Sneaky savers could even turn the box into a fake book to fool would-be thieves. Nothing like a bit of security theatre!

4. Tissues? Nah, Dolla bills

Tissue box with googley eyes and painted kids hands.

Small, handy – with a built-in deposit slot! The tissue box is nearly peerless in terms of raw piggy bank potential. Same as the cereal and shoe boxes, glue and imagination are all that’s needed to transform a tissue box into the piggy bank of their dreams.

Some cute design ideas:

  • A flower box
  • A race car
  • A dragon

5. Loo loot rolls

A row of decorated toilet paper rolls on a yellow background.

Let’s face it, raising kids means a steady accumulation of used toilet paper rolls, always. So if loo leftovers abound in your recycling, why not turn a few into cute little tubes for coins? 

This is a great way to teach kids the difference between coin values, too: sort like with like. Dollars get their custom rolls, and so do fifty cents, ten cents, and so forth.

6. Shadowbox to bring money to light

Takeaway box with stars, comet, and paint on a blue background.

The most ambitious of piggy banks! The shadowbox can be a beautiful visual way for your kids to proudly display their earnings – and watch them grow in real-time. 

The basic idea is to have a transparent window in a box. You can make one with a shoe box and some cellophane, an old takeaway box with a clear lid, or head to Bunnings for a sturdier wooden box and a picture frame. Kids interested in carpentry now have a chance to hold a hammer (carefully).

Make sure they have a way to get into the box to make withdrawals and a slot of some kind for deposits, too!

Once the shadowbox is assembled, your kid can paint, glue, colour, and stick stuff. Level up the design by feeding through some battery-powered fairy lights – IKEA and Kmart sell some tiny, warmly glowing varieties – and making it space-themed. Now their bedroom has a new light feature they made all by themselves! (With a bit of help from you, their awesome caretaker).

Tom Hiddleston and Cookie Monster, text:

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