How Money Is Made | How Stuff Is Made | Refinery29

How Money Is Made | How Stuff Is Made | Refinery29

The American dream is a house, a car, and money. (upbeat music) Moolah, cash, dollars, dough. No matter what you call it, how you make it or how you feel about it, one in three Americans thinks more about money than any other topic on a given day. The word “money,” I associate with greed. And capitalism. Being broke, it’s just not in my DNA. Money makes me feel secure and insecure. We work our whole lives for a piece of paper. Having money’s not everything, not having it is. Money makes me happy, definitely. (intense music) Although only 8% of the world’s currency is actual physical money, nothing is quite as seductive as cold, hard cash. How money is made and created is an enigma. I haven’t figured that out. But I’ve wondered about it. (coin clanking) Paper money was first issued by the US government in 1861, as a way to pay for goods and services, related to Civil War costs. Though final currency designs are ultimately approved by the Secretary of the Treasury, The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is responsible for dreaming up the designs, manufactured elements, and printing of American paper money. (cash register dings) Designing a new note can take several years and multiple hands. Note designs always include imagery that upholds the strength of the American economy and incorporates the latest in anti-counterfeiting elements. They also feature a portrait of an important historical figure on the front, like this guy, Andrew Jackson, with a notable American monument or theme on the back. Who’s on the $100 bill, Drew? I can’t think, I can’t think. Who’s on it? (groans) It’s Andrew Jackson, I think. Probably Ben Franklin. Isn’t it Ben Franklin? That’s what rap music teaches me, I think. My boy, Benjamin Franklin, is in the $100 bill. It’s all about the Benjamins. (cash register dings) After a design is locked, an engraver, who must train for 12 to 15 years, recreates the designers drawings in steel by hand. The engraving is actually done backwards so that faces and words are legible once printed. Through a process called siderography, individual engraved elements are combined to form a complete face or back of a banknote. Each small detail plays a huge part in making the design not only beautiful, but also virtually impossible to copy. On the back of the $1 note is The Great Seal. Its imagery alludes to the 13 original colonies, including 13 stars above the eagle and 13 steps on the pyramid. (cash register dings) Once the master plate is completed, it’s washed with deionized water and soaked in a vibrant orange potassium bichromate solution that prevents the plate from rusting. Then the plate is placed into a tank, filled with a nickel salt solution for about 22 hours. During this time, an electrical current causes an identical nickel plate to grow on top of the plastic master. Science is crazy, right? This exact replica is then meticulously inspected by engravers for accuracy. If there are any mistakes, the entire process has to start over. The final printing plates are then coated with a thin layer of chrome. And are one tenth as thick as an average human hair. (upbeat music) (cash register dings) Contrary to popular belief, money isn’t actually made from paper but printed on a material made from 75% cotton and 25% linen. The special inks used for money have trackable magnetic and color shifting properties. Green was originally selected for US dollars as a deterrent for counterfeiters. Psychologically, it’s also a color associated with stability and growth. (cash register dings) (slow, hiphop music) After the 72 hour drying process, the freshly printed currency passes through a series of rigorous physical and mechanical inspections using state of the art computer and camera technology. (cash register dings) Then, the currency sheets are cut, packaged, and transferred to The Federal Reserve, who distributes the money to banks around the country. The Federal Reserve estimates that there are currently over 40 billion US notes in circulation with a value of 1.5 trillion. As these dollars are increasingly being earned by women, one question still lingers: why aren’t there more women on money? Oh my god. This is such a complicated answer. I think it is part of this American culture. They put woman a little bit, you know, behind. They could’ve had plenty of women on— that were worth enough—to get on the bill. But, you know, it’s a white man’s game. This world is a patriarchal society. And that needs to change. Though Martha Washington made a guest appearance on the $1 silver certificate, designs are currently in the works to feature more women on paper currency. Already slated for completion, are Harriet Tubman to be on the front of the $20 bill and Marian Anderson and Eleanor Roosevelt on the back of the $5 bill. These changes will begin rolling out in 2020, the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. We think it’s about time, don’t you? Thanks for watching How Money Is Made. For more videos, click here. And to subscribe, click here.


  1. Refinery29 says:

    What is the American Dream to you? Comment below!

  2. midén olympus says:

    What was that last part….. How the hell did woman get into this? It wouldn't effect my life but I'm asking an actual question here

  3. Die Potato says:


    money makes me feel safe, in power over myself, independent, and secure❤️

  4. Cyra Strong says:

    They could put women next to the founding fathers to symbolize unity because then everyone will forget our founding fathers then

  5. MRcherrytomaat says:

    Why does everything that is mostly related to men immdeditely also have to be related to women? I mean there are men on these bill because they are important historical Figures why does that mean that there also have to be Bills with women on it?…

    You Made this great video and then you ruined it because of feminism. Femenism these days is about f*cking women being on paper Bills instead of doing something that actually helps women 🤣

  6. Michael Mejia says:

    If we make money let’s make hella money then give it away I just saying

  7. Tyler says:

    Don’t replace the dollars like dafuq I think the founding fathers should only get to be on the dollar bills it would be cool to have woman and people of color on bills but don’t replace the people already on the bills just have a new number like for example a $15 bill

  8. Wiil Mudug says:

    So nobody is gonna talk about dollar bills are made of nothing?

  9. CodyBubz says:

    Always gotta turn a perfectly good documentary into a feminist movement smh

  10. Artist with a Knife says:

    The reason women aren't on bills is because there were no women presidents, and those are the only people on money…damn people are ignorant

  11. Reagan Crawford says:

    Women on money is stupid just keep it how it is we don't need this shit in America

  12. Damion's clone says:

    "What's your job?"
    – "I make money" that's all you need to know.

  13. british people yellow teeth says:

    well at least you get a paper with capitalism, unlike socialism!

  14. SnipeFox says:

    fucking feminist ruined the video why include that?

  15. Valeria Rangel says:

    Next year there will be women on money! YAS

  16. microwawed doggo says:

    really the last part??

  17. Maria Martina says:

    I wonder how much money does it take to make money.

  18. Princess Moonlight says:

    Are you guys dumb? The reason they included the feminist part at the end is because they are talking about money, including new money that have women in it so it’s in money history now. Y’all are so triggered FOR WHAT LMAOOO WTF

  19. Green Raven says:

    yay girls on money is my favorite #imafeminist FUCK NO DELETE THAT LAST BIT

  20. Psycho Cat says:

    0:39 money is maked by cotton not paper…

  21. mood says:

    i wonder if anyone has ever worked there and stole money

  22. tomas ferreira says:

    Lets get this bread

  23. Gladis animations says:

    5:05 there is a woman on the swedish 2dollar/20sek bill sheck it out if you dont belive meå+svenska+sedlar&tbm=isch&ved=2ahUKEwj9tMCLnNTgAhUPuCoKHaF_CLQQ2-cCegQIABAC&oq=Astrid+Lindgren+på+svenska+seldar&gs_l=mobile-gws-wiz-img.1.0.30i10.101599.105627..107072…0.0..0.284.1310.9j1j2……0….1………35i39.AYzwSY5NthI&ei=snlyXP2TD4_wqgGh_6GgCw&bih=518&biw=360&client=ms-android-huawei&prmd=imnv

  24. Wig Snatched says:

    The last part had me mad 😡

  25. Hadrien Everard says:

    I think the beginning of the video is a contest about who has the best quote about money

  26. Nathan Brasel says:

    I'd think that a lot of people on the bills are men because our country was founded upon men hints "Our founding father of America"

  27. julie lopez says:

    Sis I came here to see how the fuck money is made and I see the comments of sexist ass people literally whining bc they want women on money. Sis y’all need to chill you tits and leave if you don’t like it

  28. Suzanne McArthur says:

    Best in counterfiet technology

    Still dosent use plastic sheets

  29. I TO HORNY says:

    2:26 just imagine if he fucks up dube I will kill my self I fuck up like that

  30. Caden Hembree says:

    and what’s wrong with capitalism?

  31. Nelo Guitarra says:

    Beware of the buzzfeed feminists……

  32. Pickle Boy says:

    I enjoyed the video until you brought in the dam feminist crap

  33. jonah thomas says:


  34. SethCraftFTW says:

    Who else noticed at 2:09 he ripped the bill in half

  35. One of the boi From me and the boys says:

    Insider uploads video
    How money is made!.
    Black money: hold my beer

  36. Aidyn !! says:

    It all makes cents now

  37. CLAYMORE 28 says:

    We should put Martin Luther King Jr on $

  38. Casey Hackford-Peer says:

    2:07 he just carries around 100 dollars in his pocket at any time

  39. LazarYeah says:

    2:22 you came here for this. Thank me now.

  40. Levi Poush says:

    Could've been a great video, and then it took a weird turn.

  41. TacticalFightrr says:

    Just keep the presidents on there there deserve it, its stupid yall are really still on that feminism shit

  42. Chris Rees says:

    Here's how YOU can make money …go to work!

  43. TheRealChen says:

    Pretty sure there are no important women in the US history.

  44. Victor Anne says:

    The bills shouldn’t change, and if they do they need to add Braille. People are too controversial, I don’t know why we need a woman on the bills, I see why we should but do we really need it? We have coins with women on them but nobody seems to care. I don’t know I don’t look at a dollar and think “he’ll yeah it’s a mans world” if anything it’s a women’s world or a black mans world seeing that white men are being pushed aside for some superficial goal

  45. 1230Nintendo Fan says:


  46. April Rodriguez says:

    it´ś already 2019

  47. Shoelace says:

    I don’t think women should have any rights so why should they be on the man’s money?

  48. Master Matthew says:

    WhY nO WaMeN oN MoNaYy!?

    Ffs, I just wanted to watch a video about how money was made.

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  50. Threelly AI says:


  51. the potato says:

    That’s a lot of work to make money I wonder how much money they make

  52. jon wayne says:

    It is very rare for me to enjoy a video, only to then turn it off in disgust and leave a dislike. Here's a tip: DON'T bring gender or race politics onto a video that is supposed to show us how something is made! Just make a separate video on why there is no women printed on money! And stop acting like women and minorities don't have rights, we don't live in the eighteenth century.

  53. Threelly AI says:


  54. avadoubleabattery says:

    the last part of the video had nothing to do with the video lmao, people really don’t care about what’s on money

  55. LOL You says:

    Paper money is fake!!! Gold money was real money!!!!

  56. Trash Editing says:

    "one question remains: why aren't there women on money?"

    …i just wanted to learn about how money was made. not listen to gender politics

  57. Confidence says:

    2:10 We just gonna act like that didn’t happen

  58. MISSed Bandwagon says:

    Why are you guys SO MAD about the last part? It’s not a big deal!

  59. SHAMEEMALI 9567620587 says:

    my bank note collecton.

  60. kristen cullum says:

    If everythings free then no one needs any money.

    Don't bash I'm 11 so if I'm wrong tell me because my parent told me that's not how things work.

  61. Lxpez2k says:

    The end deadass killed the vibe

  62. Nail Polish Nail Hacks says:

    lmao i bet somebody that works there has stolen some money😂😂

  63. morgan says:

    Women should’ve been on money YEARS ago.

  64. Dennis Miller says:


  65. Natalia is a loser says:

    they said: it takes a lot to do one bill
    i said: say i wont recreate them

  66. T-Raw Sharp says:

    What a way to fuck up and video on how money is made click bate at best I don’t want to hear about why women are not on a bill or it’s a white man’s game shut the fuck up

  67. Albert Jean Matthieu says:

    What do you do for a living?
    Worker: I make money.

  68. Michael De santa says:

    Create money out of thin air than tax the government thank you Mr Rothschild that's so nice of you

  69. Jay Hooper says:

    It’s time for a portrait on an important Black figure on this money that we print so much of.

  70. Fishin dudas says:

    Money is greed? Ok then give away ur money. it’s only greed if someone else other than u has it right??

  71. Mom's World says:

    The word money she says she associates with greed and capitalism. So I guess that also makes her greedy and a capitalist since not a soul on earth will hand over their money and without capitalism this country or any country for that matter wouldn't exist, couldn't sell, or produce freely. Capitalism goes back thousands of years, and cities have grown and flourished from such a mindset. I fact, any growing civilization that ever had a socialist mindset, has collapsed or done poorly. Kinda like present day Cuba, N Korea, Venezuela..What are colleges teaching young people? An agenda, or a true education?

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