How to Make Hawaiian Money Leis

    by Deborah Cohn

    About the Author

    Deborah has been creating and managing web content for over ten years. She has a BA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA in screenwriting from The American Film Institute. Her writing has appeared in the Netbook web guides, and she has created and managed content for Yahoo,, and dozens of websites ranging from web comics to IBM and GE.


    Don't slip those dollar bills into an ordinary birthday card just yet; surprise a special friend or family member with a creative gift for a birthday, graduation, wedding or any other celebration-worthy event. A money lei resembles a traditional Hawaiian lei, but instead of flowers, this useful, handmade gift is full of dollar bills -- or even larger bills if you're feeling particularly generous. Now you can turn an ordinary gift into something extraordinary and show off your creative side, too.

    Things You'll Need

    • $1 bills (approximately 100)
    • 1/2-inch-wide ribbon
    • Cellophane tape
    • Three clear straws

    Cut all of the straws into 1/4-inch-long pieces.

    Fold a bill horizontally to make a crease, then open it back up.

    Fold the bill vertically, inch by inch to create a fan pleat. Fold 1-inch over forward, then fold that pleat back another inch and repeat. Continue making pleats until the whole bill is pleated like a fan.

    Fold the fanned bill in the middle. It should look like a bow tie.

    Cut a 5 1/2-foot length of ribbon. Fold the ribbon in half.

    Make a double-knot in the looped end of the ribbon (not the cut ends).

    Put the folded bill below the knot, between the two strands of ribbon. Make a double-knot below the bill to hold it in place.

    Fan the bill out in a circle by bringing the bottom ends together and the top ends together. Tape the bottom ends together and top ends together. It will look like a flower.

    Slide one small piece of straw over both cut ends of ribbon and push it up against the money flower. This will space out the bills.

    Take another bill. Repeat steps 2-9 until all the bills are folded and secured to the ribbon.

    Tie the ends of the lei together and cut off any excess ribbon.


    • Money Lei Making: A Step-By-Step Guide; Laurie Shimizu Ide


    • Money Lei Making in Hawaii 2: A Step-by-step Guide; Laurie Shimizu-ide