DIY Graduation Money Lei To Celebrate A Meaningful Milestone

The graduation announcements are out and the invitations have been ordered. Now it’s time for the graduate to feel special on this meaningful day with a money lei. Flower leis are traditionally given as a sign of affection when a person is arriving or leaving, so a graduation money lei is ideal for those embarking on a new stage in life.

The best part is that you can totally do it yourself. There’s no need to search for graduation money lei ideas because we’ve done all the work for you. Whether gifting to a soon-to-be graduate in your life or making it for your own graduation day, follow our easy DIY instructions below for a unique lei that will surely bring smiles on the big day. This money lei tutorial will show you how to string your flowers and fold your dollar bills into the shape of a leaf.

How To Make a Graduation Money Lei

You can easily find the materials you need while out shopping for graduation party decor. We used 28 artificial flowers, but you can choose to use less or more depending on the type of flowers you like and how low you want the lei to hang. Using two or three colors is encouraged — perhaps you can blend in school colors to give it a unique and festive look. It’s up to you which bills you would like to use but we used 20 one-dollar bills.

scissors money twine flowers and tape

Not only is this a fun project to work on, this money lei will definitely be a favorite part of graduation along with some unique graduation gifts.

  • Thin twine
  • Artificial flowers
  • Scissors
  • Dollar bills
  • Tape

Step 1: Measure the string to your desired length and cut. We recommend using the thinnest twine you can find since you’ll be stringing flowers through it.

gold scissors cutting twine

Step 2: Remove your flower from the stem. When using artificial flowers, it’s easy to just give them a pull. Make sure you test at the store before purchasing, since some flowers are not detachable. We used 28 flowers — as mentioned, this may vary depending on the types of flowers you purchase and length of the lei.

removing a flower from its stem

Step 3: String your flower through the bottom. The string should come right through the other side.

twine being strung through a flower

Step 4: Repeat with all flowers and set aside. A fun pattern to try is from lightest to darkest for an ombré effect.

woman stringing pink flowers with twine

Step 5: Fold in each side of your dollar bill at a right angle. It doesn’t matter which side you decide to start with. You’ll be folding the bill over many times.

a dollar bill with ends folded

Step 6: Take the very top of the bill and fold it down. Let the white space guide you — it should be about a quarter inch.

a dollar bill being folded at the top

Step 7: Flip the bill over and repeat the previous step. When folding, all folds should be the exact same size.

a dollar bill flipped over

Step 8: Flip again and fold the top over. You’ll notice that you’ll start creating a stair-like effect when viewed from the side.

a dollar bill being folded at the top

Step 9: Flip again and fold the top over. All edges should be folded neatly. To accomplish this, reinforce the fold by pressing and sliding your finger against it.  

a dollar bill folded from the top

Step 10: Keep repeating this step until you’ve reached the bottom of the bill.

folded dollar billStep 11: Once done, you should have something that looks like this.

dollar bill folded all the way down

Step 12: Fold the corners of your bill together and close. We used tape to secure the two ends and found that regular tape worked better than double-sided, though neither tape damages the bills.  

a dollar bill folded into a leaf

Step 13: Continue adding more leaves. You can do single or double leaves per flower.

woman placing dollar bills on a lei

Step 14: Finish the lei. We added bills around every two flowers but you can choose to place them around every other depending on how many bills you have. As a reference, we used 20 bills to make the leaves for this project. When placing on the graduate or yourself, simply tie the ends around your neck and adjust accordingly.

a lei with dollar bills all around

Step 15: Wear, enjoy and cherish it for years to come. 

DIY money lei on a bulletin board

Now that you know how to make a graduation money lei, you’ll want to make one for everyone you know who reaches this important milestone — including yourself. Check out our graduation cap ideas for another fun and memorable memento!

If you make it for someone, think about how you’ll present your graduation money lei. Perhaps you can place it in a roomy box wrapped in tissue paper to protect the delicate work. Also, consider including a heartfelt card with a personal message and a graduation quote or saying — something to inspire them as they start their new journey.