Wednesday, June 2, 2010

SUPER EASY Satin Ribbon Lei or Necklace

I shall apologize up front. I'm a little distracted. My husband and I have planned a trip to Guatemala for Monday. Why Guatemala you ask? Well, the short version of the long story is that I was a missionary for my church for a year and a half in Guatemala (please don't ask how long ago...suffice it to say it was over 10 years ago). Apart from religious teachings, we also were service missionaries and taught health/welfare classes, helped in orphanages, taught first aid and English classes. So, 6 months ago when a friend asked if I wanted to go back and help the less fortunate in my old areas...I was very excited.

I still am excited and a little stressed, what with all the volcanic ash, tropical storms, and sinkholes (you have to see this picture). I've seen many pictures of the devastation that is over there and it's hard to concentrate on anything else. But I knew I had to come up with and idea for today, next Wednesday and the next one, too...because I'll just be flying back (and it's my birthday that day).

So, this week and the next couple weeks for me will be short and sweet.

O.K. I have a lot of 3 inch double sided satin ribbon left over from a couple of other projects. So this week and next week I will show you what I came up with to make use of the ribbon.

This week I'm going to show you how to make a SUPER EASY ribbon lei.  I've gotten a lot of requests for other leis because it's graduation time. But for those of you not as familiar with leis, you can give them for whatever reason, birthday's, weddings, etc. (not giving them to the wear them as part of your attire). Of course the best leis are flower leis, but sometimes we can't get them, can't afford them, and they don't last a long time.  This lei I'm going to show is so pretty, it can be used over and over.
To make this lei you will need:
8 yards of 3-inch satin ribbon
1 yard of 5/8 inch satin ribbon (can match or contrast)
4 Beads  (I used beads from an old Hawaiian Kukui nut Lei I didn't want anymore, but you can use anything)
Sewing Machine
Large Safety Pin
Lit candle

First, cut the 8 yards of 3 inch ribbon in half. Then tuck the ends inside and pin together (see below).

Then, sew down one side making sure you sew to the ends. And then sew down the other side. By doing this, you are just making a casing for your 5/8 ribbon.

Now your casing is sewn. Next take the large safety pin and poke it into the end of the 5/8 ribbon and thread the ribbon through the casing. When you get it through, pull enough of the 5/8 ribbon out so you can tie a bow and make a knot.

Then thread your ribbon through your beads. One way to make this easier is to take scotch tape and tape up the ends creating your own aglet (yep, that's what they're called). Then thread it through and make another knot to keep it in it's place.

Repeat so there are two beads on each side. Tie a bow and is then that it's easiest to straighten it out.

Look what happens when you squish it all together.

If you would like this look it will take 3-3.5 times more ribbon (so about 24 yards).  This lei is really beautiful, and heavy. NOTE: Don't sew all 12 yards in one casing. It makes it too hard to thread the 5/8 ribbon through. Break it up into 3 sections of 4 yards. Or you can do 4 sections of 3 yards and put the beads in between.

Also, if you want to make this a necklace, just make it shorter. I think this would make a really pretty choker. I'll have to try that soon.

I made this one to take with me to Guatemala and give it to my host family mom. They may never get to Hawaii, but I can bring a little of the Aloha spirit to them.

Click here to see the tutorial on coin money leis.
Click here to see the tutorial on candy/toy leis.


  1. Hey! Great idea. Graduation is coming up and I'm definitely going to try this. But one quick question, could you clarify a little bit on the first step? I'm not sure whether to cut width wise or length wise and I'm a little confused about the pins. Thank you !

  2. Sorry for the delay...i was traveling out of the country...I'm rereading what I wrote and you're right it's a bit confusing...You just cut it width wise...just snip it across the 3-inches so you have 2 really long 3inch wide pieces. Then the pin part is that I fold about an inch of the ribbon down on the end of each ribbon and pin the folded sides together. I hope this makes more sense...but let me know if it doesn't.