Friday, May 27, 2011

Making Leis

In Hawaii it's a tradition to shower a graduate with leis. Our oldest was born in Hawaii, and while we live in the Midwest now I thought it was fitting to give him a lot of leis for his high school graduation the other night. I made 4 types of leis: flower, ribbon, money, and candy. I searched all over town for blue carnations (or places that would spray them blue) but nothing was in stock and if I had to order them it was going to be quite expensive. I knew he'd only wear the lei for a short time (he wasn't allowed to have any on during the ceremony) so I didn't want to sink much money into it. While at a graduation party the other night I noticed some little girls cutting peonies from the host's bush to take home. I then realized that I could make one for free. I cut about 6 suitable flowers from my friend then texted another friend for permission to cut some from her yard. She only had pink, but I didn't think my son would mind if I alternated pink and white. I noticed a neighbor had a huge bush of white ones which I got permission to cut. I ended up doing a pattern of two white and one pink. I threaded some embroidery floss on a long needle (mine was about 4" long) and cut off the stem and pierced the flower through the back of the flower and pulled it through, pushing each flower right up against the one before it. You can see a great video tutorial on how to make a flower lei here. The lei was gorgeous and quite heavy. My son was sooo excited and took pics of hit and texted all his friends. He proudly wore it in all the pics before the ceremony. Because the flowers were so heavy and they were losing moisture they started to shrink up (it was HOT inside the ceremony hall and he left it in a friend's tuba case) and slide down the string. But he was still proud to wear it after the ceremony.
The next lei I made was a ribbon lei. These are made out of the school colors. It looks complicated, but it's pretty easy to make. I found a video tutorial on how to make this here. I ended up having to make a 2nd one because I started out with 3 yards of ribbon which will only make a small one. I used ribbon that was only 1/4" wide and it turned out great! These rolls of ribbons were 2/$1, so another affordable lei!!

Then I did a candy lei. I've made these several times back when we lived in Hawaii. I got a roll of cellophane (but you can use seran wrap too), candies, and curling ribbon. I used royal blue, light blue, and silver curling ribbon. I picked candies that were wrapped in blue and that wouldn't melt in the heat. I got my supplies from Dollar Tree, so once again an inexpensive lei. View a video tutorial for making a candy lei here. He pulled this lei apart and ate it, so no pic!

The last one was a money lei. Traditionally these have a bunch of dollars, but being frugally minded I ended up getting a kiddy necklace with big light blue beads from Dollar Tree, the curly ribbons in school colors, and then crisp dollar bills from the bank. I ended up using 18 one dollar bills, but the whole necklace was $20. This video shows you how to fold the bills here.
Here he is with all the leis on!