Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gracious Grad Gift

We always make leis around grad season in this household. I am half Polynesian and half Scandinavian. On my Scandinavian side you get a sailor's hat when you graduate. But on the Poly side its leis. I made some leis the other day for my sister so I figured I would snap a few pictures so you can make some too! You can color coordinate these with outfits, school colors, favorite colors or whatever you think is wonderful. First you pick your flowers. I almost ALWAYS make silk flower leis. They last longer and they give you more options on colors and styles. Fake carnations are a good option but you have to have many petals. At least 10 of those bunches from a store. So here is what I started with:

Well this is after I ripped off all the petals. Oh and save the greens too because you want some contrast! I decided to show you the other flower lei I did. I don't know the name of these fake flowers though here they are ripped off and they are usually pink when I see them:

Now I have made leis for years so I always try to keep a lei making kit on hand (since having kids I got rid of my lei making kit and now i am just starting up a new one) This kit should include:

Any silk flowers you find
Any awesome beads, pearls, straws you find on sale
a thick white string or floss
long needles or quilting needles
any silk leaves you find

Just keep adding to the kit (box) so that you can be ready at a moments notice to make a lei. I used to buy all the silk flowers I could find at thrift stores. I have started doing that again. Sometimes you can find old wreaths or garland full of the petals. The petals are what you want so if the flower arrangement doesn't have many petals you should skip it. If you buy from thrift stores make sure you throw all the petals in the wash and then lay them out to dry:

Oh and the more form the petal has the better (it just looks better) I have tried making leis with those petals that the party stores use and they just don't look very good (In my opinion) although you could use them as fillers.

Next you count up all the petals you have. Now I was boring on this lei and only used two similar colors and one type of flower. You can actually use more colors and different flowers on each lei. Here is all my stuff lined up:

I decided to use black beads in between and then fun beads every now and then as you will see in a later picture. The reason I put them all on the tray is to get inspiration. Just like any other thing you need a plan. So figure out what pattern you want. Then make sure you have enough for this pattern (I tend to run out but then I can change it up in the end to make it look great as I will show you) Then turn on your favorite show or a movie or whatever you like and set up your patterns on the floor or on a table or like me the couch:

I set them up to have nine of each color in a row going up and down (by looking at this picture) but I actually went from left to right (in the picture) for this pattern. I was pretty boring and did big blue, little white, little blue big white (the petals had two different sizes) black beads in between

and then one green leaf after each set of 9. You make your own pattern for this and after two repeats of your pattern stop and then look at it. Make sure it looks good to you and then either find a new pattern (if you hate it) or keep going. I like to throw in little extras for fun because you want the person to know you love them and think they are wonderful :) so I have a little jar of awesome beads that I would throw in after the greens

Like I said I have been making these for years for different occasions so I like to change things up. Typically you just keep on going and threading all your flowers and beads in your patter and then tie if off at the end and model it in the mirror and then pat yourself on the back. But I like to change the back part (almost like the back of a necklace) Here is the back I chose:

I wanted it to look like she was wearing pearls from the back (these pictures are horrible but I had to make these when the kids were in bed because well you know why) Oh and if you have every worn many leis you know its can be hard to see because they are around your face so this helps with that.

And there you have it. Thats how you make a personal fun little gift for a grad. I didn't get a good picture of the end result because I wasn't sure I was going to do this post and I sent it in the mail last week! Sorry about that!

Here is another lei I made a long time ago:

I really wish I knew the names of flowers. I had smaller white flowers as the main pattern and threw in the purple large ones.

The purple ones are Tulips! This design makes school colors easy, just find the right colored tulip. I used pretty wooden beads in this one and the greens were just rose leaves.

And thats it!


Use straws instead of beads. This cuts down the cost and its what many leis are made out of. If you find solid green colored straws BY THEM. They will look more natural almost like you used string made out of branches.

Tie a larger bead or pencil at the end of your string (I use floss because its pretty strong and waxy) If you don't your flowers might fall off all the time making it extremely frustrating

Have fun with it! If you have any questions just ask. I love making these! They allow you to be creative and also make the special person feel special.

These can be used for any occasion, weddings, birthdays anniversary's. I know people like the real flowers but they shrivel up and these don't. Plus there are ALOT less options on colors. A handy thing about these is they are extremely light so you could send one in a bubble envelope and it would be inexpensive to do so.

P.S I know how to make candy leis too, if you want to know just ask they are pretty simple

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  1. These are way cuter than premade leis. This would be a fun project to do for a themed party. A garland made this way would probably be super cute too!

    Thanks for sharing :)

  2. i love leis!!! and i miss making them! i think your blue and white petals are hydrangea or however its spelled. i love doing it because its a great creative outlet, meaning you can make something beautiful, even if like me you dont really have that "artist skill set" ahahahah

  3. That looks like such a fun project. Thanks for stopping by Cedar Hill. I am following you now.

  4. Realy it looks so beautiful Gift. Nice creativity thanks a lot for sharing this one with us I love to do new things. I try out this at home.

  5. You always make such awesome leis. :) I almost misspelled that. whoops.