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Make Money at Home: Seven Easy Steps for Creating Your Own Wealth (Part 1)

Make Money at Home: Seven Easy Steps for Creating Your Own Wealth (Part 1)

Money SymbolsWhen your players find their next treasure hoard, don’t just tell them what they found—show them! With bingo chips, spray paint, and a few other items, you can make actual coins to hand out in your campaign.

Board game makers have known for more than a century that having game money enhances the fun. Roleplaying game publishers have recently caught up. You can now purchase Campaign Coins on Paizo’s website. This beautiful set costs $70 for 121 coins, which is about 57¢ per coin. If you want more money for your money, you have another option: make it yourself.

Step 1: Basic Materials

You will need:

One (or more) big pieces of scrap cardboard

Free—scavenge it from somewhere

One roll of masking tape

What, you don’t already have some around the house?

Bingo chips: fifteen bags (100 chips per bag)

$1 each: $15

Four cans of spray paint (copper, silver, gold, and platinum)

$7 each: $28

Eight custom rubber art stamps

$3 each: $24

One ink pad (waterproof, formulated for nonporous surfaces)


Total cost of materials is $78, about 5¢ per coin. (Note: All prices as of September 2012.)

Bingo Chips

Bingo chips come in two styles (magnetic and regular) and in two sizes (3/4 inch and 7/8 inch). The price quoted above is for the regular 3/4-inch chips.

To shop locally, check craft stores, dollar stores, the game department of big box retailers, or the “games for grown-ups” aisle in toy stores. To shop online, you can check JackpotBingoSupplies.com.

Spray Paint

You need metallic-tone spray paint for your copper, silver, gold, and platinum coins. In real life, platinum and silver look alike—so alike that the name “platinum” comes from platina, which is Spanish for “little silver.” If you want to easily distinguish your platinum coins from your silver coins, one of them must be a different color. In most campaigns, platinum is rarer than silver, so platinum is the best candidate for a color swap. Choose a color that you find appealing and declare that to be the New Platinum.

Automotive supply stores, hobby shops, and hardware stores are good places to find metallic-tone spray paints.

Rubber Stamps

Custom-made rubber stamps let you to mark your coins with different denominations and add cool artwork. The project budget allows for four denomination stamps and four artwork stamps.

To shop locally, ask in art supply stores and craft stores to see if they make custom rubber stamps or know of someone who does. To shop online, you can go to RubberStamps.net.


Standard stamp-pad ink does not adhere to painted surfaces, so look for the Staz-On brand of stamp-pad ink, which is formulated to do exactly that. You can find it in the same stores that sell custom rubber stamps, or buy it online from RubberStamps.net.

Step 2: Design the Stamps

At a minimum, you need denominations of 1, 10, 100, and 1,000.You may also want to have stamps for the “halfway” points of 5, 50, and 500. Consider using Roman numerals rather than normal digits on your denomination stamps to lend a more classic and antique feel.

Classic Roman Numerals:
I = 1
V = 5
X = 10
L = 50
C = 100
D = 500
M = 1,000

If you buy from RubberStamps.net, select the 1/2-inch x 1/2-inch size. That size fits perfectly onto a 3/4-inch diameter round chip. For best results when using Roman numerals, select the Times New Roman font with the bold attribute and a size of 48.

You can stamp the denomination onto both sides, or you can reserve one side for cool artwork. Although the four metals are already differentiated by their color, using a different piece of artwork on each metal enhances the coolness factor.

Two things to know while deciding on the artwork:

  • Rubber stamps work only in stark black and white. They cannot reproduce shades of gray.
  • Ink formulated for nonporous surfaces is thicker than normal ink. It cannot reproduce fine detail.

This means all artwork must consist of simple, bold lines. Attempts to include shading or delicate detail are doomed to fail. You can see eight sample images demonstrating the kind of artwork that makes a good rubber stamp at the top of this article.

3 thoughts on “Make Money at Home: Seven Easy Steps for Creating Your Own Wealth (Part 1)”

  1. This is the kind of article I love. I have always wanted to buy coins or trade bars but they really are too expensive for all but really low level. This is a great way to up the ante. Thanks!

  2. Lord Ædric Lambert

    The Glantri setting for AD&D used an over sized platinum piece that was often enchanted to glow in the dark. Using a larger chip and an over gloss of phosphorescent paint would help separate the silver from the platinum…

  3. Charles Lee Carrier

    @ Mike Franke: Happy to oblige. :)

    @ Lord Ædric Lambert: I didn’t know about Glantri’s platinum pieces, but you are certainly right – the larger-size bingo chips would be perfect for representing them.

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