Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How to Make a Coin Money Lei

Graduation time is upon us and Mother's Day, too, so for the next couple of weeks, my posts will be centered on those two themes. Today, I'm going to show you how to make a money lei for your graduates. Now if you don't know what a lei is, it's necklace wreath traditionally made of flowers worn by Hawaiians (and pretty much anyone else) on all special occasions. Have you ever seen a Polynesian graduate? They are the ones with all the flower leis on and you can barely see their faces.

I love flower leis. I love the smell. To me they are quintessential Hawaii. (Unlike pineapple on Pizza...I mean really. I don't know many Hawaiians who actually eat "Hawaiian" Pizza. It's disgusting. And Hawaiian pizza has Canadian Bacon on it? Really...canadian? And that's definitely not bacon...You can click here to see my rant on mixing sweet and salty foods.)

Anyway, my cousin is graduating this week, so instead of just handing him a check and some card that I'm 99.9% sure he's just going to toss, I decided to make a money lei, like this....

Do you see all those coins? I chose this style because this was my favorite kind of money leis to receive when I graduated. It could be because the money was so hard to get out so that it hung in my room and was seriously my emergency money. Or it could be because I had an endless supply of quarters to do my laundry. But it was probably because it looked cool AND had money.

So here's what you will need.
For this lei I used $20 in quarters $10 in dollar coins and $45 in $5 bills. You can make yours as long or as short as you'd like and use nickels and dimes and little kids like pennies.

Scissors or rolling cutter
Mat (optional and helpful)
You also may need a heavy can of food or something else will weigh the lei down.

Start by cutting 5in x 5in squares. The rolling cutter was so much easier than scissors.

I needed 90 squares.
Then, cut 2 - 2.5 yard strips of ribbon
Tie the ends of the two ribbons together.

Use the can to weigh down the ribbon.

Place the coin in the square and twist a little.  

Then tie the wrapped coin to the ribbon.

Here's where a little video would be more helpful. Click here to see my short video of how to tie this. It's not a fun video...I don't even speak...all you hear is crinkling, but at least you can see that it's really easy.

When you are done, knot the end and tie the ends together.
Then, create a bow out of ribbon and tie it all together.

Now, you can leave it that way or add paper money for texture. This is also the easier way to give more money without the lei going all the way to the ground.
Fold up the paper money.
And then find the middle and tie a ribon.

 Then fan out half of it and tape it to keep it in place.

Then tie these little fans evenly throughout the lei. Tie them in between the coins.

And there you have it. You can make your money lei with any colored cellophane, add more curly ribbon, etc. It took me about a half an hour to tie the whole lei. Believe it or not, folding the money took a longer time. Next time I'm just going to use 20's. If you'd like, maybe I'll post how to make candy and toy lei's (great for party favors). [The post for the candy and toy lei's are here.]

I promise you'll love the Hawaiian tradition of wearing/giving leis. Remember, you always give the person a kiss (on the cheek is fine) when you put a lei around their neck. Although, I don't suggest doing that if you are handing them out as party favors for your child's birthday! Awwwwkward.

Click here to see the tutorial on how to make candy/toy leis.
Click here to see the tutorial on how to make a SUPER EASY satin ribbon lei.

NOTE: If you are interested in making all different types of leis, make sure to "Follow" our blog or "Like" us on Facebook because I will be blogging on all types of leis. Or send me an email about other types of leis and I'll post it on the blog.


  1. I would love to see the candy lei!

  2. Great tutorial. Love it! Thanks for sharing.

  3. That is much easier than the way I've done it before with saran wrap! Thanks!

  4. Can't wait to do this for my niece. The video was perfect! Thanks!

  5. Hi I'm from hawaii, and happen to love hawaiian pizza! Not really any association with loving pineapple or anything, i just like hawaiian pizza. Haha well I think it tastes great.
    The weirdest was probably this one time I was making pizza with my roommate, and we ran out of pepperoni, so we used sliced spam!
    Anyways, thanks for the post, gonna make the coin lei now! so much work!! I made a penny one before, using quarters this time.

  6. THANK YOU! This was sooo helpful! I have a lot of graduations coming up in May, June and July, I am graduating in July as well and I wanted some variety in the leis I'm handing out.

  7. I came across your video via youtube and absolutely LOVE it! I was looking for a graduation idea. Great job! Keep up your great work.

  8. this was sooooo very helpful. i tried the quarter leis and they were a huge hit! everyone loved loved loved them. thanks soooo much for sharing your ideas!!!

  9. My dad's birthday is this week and i'll be attending church for the first time this year just to make him smile with this lei! thanks so much! alofa/aloha atu <3