A Great Gift Idea for Graduation: A Money Lei That is Easy to Make!

Our creative Guest Adventurer Christina, shares a clever idea for a graduation gift that is so simple to make!  She and her HLP (see below) reside in north Orange County, California. Their nest at one time had four eaglets between them. They now have two soaring eagles out of the nest, one eagle preparing to fly and an eaglet who is finishing his freshman year of high school.

To you from Christina:

Creative expression is something I enjoy and I like trying new things so when thinking about my HLP’s (Heterosexual Life Partner) son graduating from high school, I wanted to do something special. A Facebook friend gave me the idea when she posted about looking for a money lei for her son’s graduation. Hmmm, I thought, I wonder how hard they are to make? Money leis are certainly not unique; there are many different Do It Yourself instructions on the Internet.

As I began my initial search I ruled out instructions that required the use of 50 bills, and those stating “requires patience,” and “takes a long time, but worth it.” No, no, no. My kind of project includes the key words and phrases such as “easy,” “simple,” and “a monkey could be trained to do this.” For Zach’s lei, I used 10 bills, a lei, curling ribbon and a paper clip. I bought all of the materials on Amazon, where there was a rainbow of colors to choose from. It was very easy to match his school colors and it took me only about an hour to complete!

Materials for the money lei

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First you fold the bill back and forth, accordion-style, in half-inch increments.

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I used the paper clip to hold the bill in place so I could tie it to the lei with the curling ribbon.



Tie the bill in a knot with about 18” of ribbon and curl it using the edge of your scissors.

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You then fan out the bill so it resembles a flower. Be careful during this step not to tear the bill. I was a little aggressive in my fanning and it resulted in a little tear on one or two of the folds.

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I saw different instructions that say you can hold the money flower together so it forms a circle with double-sided tape or glue from a glue gun and neither of those will hurt the money. I kind of like my projects perfectly imperfect so I did not use anything to hold the flower together.


This was a fun, easy project, I like the results and so did the recipient!

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Congratulations to your newest “eagle” leaving the nest!


Thank you Christina, for explaining step by step how to make the money lei. It such a thoughtful and easy way to give the gift of money for graduation.

Don’t miss our new Shop page and our Find Adventure Luggage Tags. They are a perfect gift for graduation too!

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