Say the word "lei," and images of brightly coloured, fresh flowers and tropical islands come to mind. Leis are given as greetings, signs of respect or courtesy and as gifts at celebrations. Fresh flowers are still the primary component of most leis, but you can use a variety of other items as well, depending on the occasion. For example, money or candy leis are common sights at graduations. Design and make your own leis with bills or coins interspersed with ribbon, flowers or candy for a gift for a new graduate or teenager celebrating a birthday.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Crisp new 60p bills
- Curling ribbon
- Small flowers or large beads
- Large heavy-duty sewing needle
- Embroidery floss or heavy cotton thread
Go to a local bank and purchase crisp new dollar bills to make your money lei. Thirty to 50 bills are enough to make a standard length lei and a meaningful gift, but more bills may be used. Purchase small fresh or artificial flowers to match the number of dollar bills you are using in your lei. Cut the stems off the flowers.
Cut curling ribbon into 4-inch pieces, one for each dollar bill. Tie a piece of ribbon around the front of a dollar bill, cinching in the centre so it resembles a bow tie. Tie again to make a knot. Pull the scissors down the length of each end of the ribbon to curl it. Repeat with each bill.
Cut a 42-inch piece of floss or thread. Tie a large knot 2 inches from one end of the floss; thread the other end through the needle. Carefully poke the threaded needle through the base of one of the flowers. Pull the flower down the length of the thread to rest on the knot. Then sew through the ribbon at the back of one of the tied bills. Pull it down the thread, keeping the front of the bill with the curled ribbon ends facing forward, until it is next to the flower.
Continue adding flowers and tied dollar bills, alternating as described in Step 3, until you have used all the bills. Leave a 2-inch tail of thread at the end. Remove the needle and tie a large knot in this end to keep the bills and flowers from coming off. Tie the two knotted tails of thread together tightly to connect the ends of the lei. Trim away any excess thread. Adjust the bills and flowers by hand, as needed, so they are evenly spaced around the completed lei.
Tips and warnings
- If your money lei is a graduation gift, use curling ribbon in the graduate's school colours.
- If you prefer not to use flowers, purchase large beads in your choice of colours at a ratio of two for every one bill -- for example, if you are using 30 bills, use 60 beads. The pattern of your lei will be two beads, one bill, two beads, one bill and so on, for the length of the lei.
- WARNING: This lei may look so good, the recipient may not want to take it apart to spend the money. My suggestion is take the money back and make a lei out of Checks for $1 each. Hopefully they will never cash them! :-)
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