How to Make a Money Lei

A symbol of love, spirituality and respect that dates back to ancient times, Hawaiian leis can be made of just about any material you can imagine. And that includes paper money.

Money leis have become popular gifts for showers, birthday, graduation and even wedding gifts. And they’re a creative and novel way of giving the gift of cash. Follow our instructions below!


First, determine what amount of money you’d like to gift. While the number of flowers will vary based on the length of the lei and personal preference, most money leis require anywhere from 40 to 60 flowers. Based on that amount, determine how many bills of what denomination you need to create the lei.

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Folding the Flowers

Start by folding one edge of a a bill of paper money. Then create a folding pattern similar to an accordion. Continue folding 1/2-inch strips in alternating directions until you have folded all the way across the bill. You’ll then wrap a small rubber band around the center of the accordion-folded bill. The rubber band will keep the bill nice and tight while you’re folding all the flowers.

Decorative Touches

To add some pizazz or make the lei longer, create matching paper flowers. Just cut colored paper into money-sized rectangles. Then follow the directions above for folding money. Adding notes on these non-bill flowers is a nice touch, too.

You can also add beads, as shown below, or colored or clear straws for spacers between the bills. Candy (like gum drops), dried or silk flowers or greenery, pine cones – anything you can thread ribbon or wire through – can work, too.

Putting it Together

Cut about 14 feet of ribbon, wire or cord. Double it and make a knot at the folded end. Remove the rubber band and place the folded bill between the doubled tie. Wrap or knot the center of the folded bill with the ribbon, cord or wire. Add your spacers or just make a knot, then continue alternating flowers and spacers/knot.

You can use a single cord method if your spacers are long and firm enough to keep the folded bills from flopping around (shown below).

After everything is strung, fan out the ends of the accordion-folded paper bill. When the two ends meet, the bill will form a circle. Secure the ends together with a thin piece of transparent tape.

When you’re finished, tie the loose ends together, remove excess and get ready for a big thank-you!


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by on March 8th, 2016