One of the things we like about prepping for parties is being able to use a wide variety of materials to make the various props and take-aways. When were planning Emily's Harry Potter party, she decided very early in the conceptualization process that she wanted actual currency to be exchanged for the goods in Diagon Alley. Also that the money had to be kept in a bank vault, and withdrawn by each guest the way Harry Potter himself had done in Book 1, when he'd discovered to his astonishment that, rather than dirt poor as he'd been led by his foster parents to believe, he was actually filthy rich.
The books record several denominations of coins, but we thought we'd simplify things at our party and just pick one - Galleons.
To make our Galleons, we considered several options, including the small wooden disks that I painted for coins for my Wooden Bakeshop. We didn't have nearly enough on hand for what we needed for each guest, so we turned to salt clay - cheap, homemade-from-scratch, and easy to mass-produce.
The recipe we usually use is a hybrid of this and this. It's different every time, but our flour to salt ratio is roughly 3:1. I also can't remember the temperature we baked our salt dough at, but I've learned that the exact temperature and time aren't important - the thicker the pieces are, the longer they take to cook through, so I often opt for a slightly lower temperature (so they don't brown too quickly) and bake them for longer.
Here are some shots of Emily making the Galleons. She rolled out the dough and cut out 1" circles.
It was the perfect kind of busy work for an audio book.
When the discs were baked and cooled, they were painted with metallic gold acrylic paint.
When the paint was dry, Emily wrote "1 Galleon" on every one.
Next, she made money bags.
If you'd rather not eyeball your own, we'll be including our template for this money bag in the pdf file for you to download at the end of all the party posts.
Here are the instructions to make the bag.
Cut out two bag shapes and with RS together, sew around the sides and rounded bottom to create a pouch that's open along the top edge (left in the picture below). Turn RS out (right in the picture below).
Cut four slits about 1" from the top edge on both sides of the pouch. Cut two lengths of ribbon or cord 2.5 x as long as the width of the pouch. Weave one ribbon/cord through the slits as shown.
Continue weaving around the other side of the pouch and tie the two ends together.
Weave the other ribbon/cord through the same slits, beginning at the seam without the knotted ends.
Weave all around the other side of the pouch and tie the ends of this second ribbon/cord together. you will now have two ribbons/cords threaded through the same slits, but whose ends are knotted at opposite seams of the pouch.
Pull both ribbons/cords to close the pouch. All finished!
These were easy to mass-produce, although cutting the slits was a bit mind-numbing, as Emily will testify.
Finally, Emily made these vault keys from colored polymer clay like this. She wrote a different vault number on each, totally for fun, because we didn't have actual vaults they would correspond to. This was entirely because we lacked a bank helper on the day of the party and guests simply grabbed a pouch of Galleons off the table at the Gringotts "station". If we'd had a helper, we would've loved to have set up a cubby hole or letter-box system for a key-for-money-bag exchange.
We threaded the keys onto narrow ribbon lanyards and gave them to each guest to wear around their necks when they arrived for the party.