Graduation Lei

Graduation season is here.

Just last week we were in Utah to attend our son Clark’s college graduation. We were outside taking some photos when I spotted something.

My kids are now use to me going up to perfect strangers asking to take pictures of their food, their outfit, etc. so it was no surprise when I stopped this new college graduate and asked to take a picture of his lei.

He was actually wearing three leis!  A traditional flower lei but then he also had a candy lei and a money lei.

The candy lei was made out of plastic wrap and candy bars and tied in between each candy bar with ribbon – so cute.

But the lei I liked the most was the money lei – what graduate wouldn’t love a money lei!!


Dollar bills were gathered up and tied in the middle and then attached to a piece of ribbon.


There were also little bags of Hershey Hugs and Kisses tied in between the dollar bills.  So fun!!

Everything was attached to some curling ribbon.  I am going to have to remember this one next year when Tessa graduates from high school!!


25 Responses to “Graduation Lei”
  1. 1
    Linda says:

    This is a great idea!! Thanks for sharing! I have a daughter and son in law graduating tomorrow from UVU!! I will see if I can whip this up…I don’t know. How many dollar bills do you think they used in the lei?

    • 1.1
      Leigh Anne says:

      Linda, Congrats on your graduates. It’s hard to say how many dollar bills they used. It looks like there are 3-4 in each little clump I think you could just decide on an amount of money and then just make that work – have fun. Let me know if you make them and send a picture!!

  2. 2
    Tamara says:

    What fun ideas. Michelle received a money lei for graduation where the dollar bills had been folded in a small fan and attached to a ribbon. It took forever to unroll and iron them flat. THANKS!

  3. 3

    Too cute! My daughter is graduating from Kindergarten and I think I may do a combination of the money amd candy leis for her. She would think that is too cool! Thanks for sharing!!!

  4. 4

    [...] And of course don’t forget about the fun graduation lei! [...]

  5. 5

    Mahalo for the ideas.. I was a hula mom before I was a soccer mom on the Big Island. Now we have a daughter who performed and won Teton County Idaho’s Junior Miss performing hula for her talent and she is graduating next week. I will incorporate these into the celebrations and have the Aloha flowing in the high country of the Rockies!

  6. 6

    [...] for him with dollar bills, candy kisses and ribbon. I originally saw the idea on the blog-Home based parties- and thought it was so cute! We added colored ribbon to tie in the school colors and used paint [...]

  7. 7
    Rene says:

    I’m so glad I found you! I saw the example of the graduation gift last year, but couldn’t figure out where I saw it. I found you today and added your link! Thank you so much for the inspiration!! My mom and I are getting ready to make one for my neice. Love this idea!!

    xo Rene’

  8. 8
    Rene says:

    I just wanted to say…in case this helps anyone. We used 100- 1 dollar bills bunched together 2 and 3 at a time.

  9. 9
    Linda S. says:

    Just beware … if your school is using the Marriott Center at BYU for graduation, they do not allow students to wear anything but flower leis. They “confiscated” all money, candy bar, etc. leis and gave them back AFTER graduation.

  10. 10
    Courtney says:

    Oh my goodness, how adorable are those! I love it! I would like to pin it on my pinterest board, is that okay?

  11. 11
    Angela says:

    Hello Leigh Anne…I am getting ready for my Goddaughter’s Graduation, she is a special gal and I wanted to do something every different. so like a Good Godmother, I started the search and came across your wonderful website/blog. ??? it appears that once the $ bills are tied in the middle they are then tied on a red lei. Right. If you have sometime maybe you can shoot me back an e-mail and let me know. Thank you!!

    Many blessings

  12. 12

    [...] the look. I originally saw the example at – Your home based parties. [...]

  13. 13

    [...] the center and tie with curling ribbon and attach them all to a ribbon large enough to make a money graduation lei. Add candy in between the [...]

  14. 14
    Melissa says:

    I grew up with my family members making these for special events and graduations. I married an Irishman and his parents thought it was so neat when we both received money lei’s for our Polynesian wedding. I can’t wait to pass this tradition on to my children. If you want to really indulge, you can use $10 bills to really make a statement, but I don’t see too many of these ;-)

  15. 15
    Jean says:

    Didn’t know graduates wore lie’s. My oldest graduates in less than a month, I’ll have to do this for her.

  16. 16
    Ann says:

    My son graduates HS in June this is a great idea! Next year my Daughter graduates college, if I get this figured out I’ll use it twice. Not to mention the two graduations parties I have comming up.

  17. 17
    Gloria Stewart says:

    Smoke the kids! I think I will wear a money lei ,,.. Lol

  18. 18
    deanna says:

    Thank you so much for being bold enough to photo this great idea- I would have done the same thing! Just made mine for my son that is graduating from San Diego State in 2 weeks! It turned out really well- I used 100 one dollar bills and no candy (yet)! I’m sure it will be a hit and well appreciated-

  19. 19

    Omg! This is so creative. I have to do this for my son when he grauates.

  20. 20
    Courtney says:

    Hello and thank you for posting this picture. I am trying to make my sister a graduation money lei and this looks so neat. Do you know how they’ve bunched the dollars and connected the ribbon? Would greatly appreciate any assistance/suggestions! Thanks again!!

    • 20.1
      Leigh Anne says:

      Pretty sure they are just bunched up and tied with ribbon and then connected to the main ribbon.
      Have fun!

  21. 21

    [...] Money Lei, Your Home Based Parties [...]

  22. 22
    Tanya says:

    Great idea!! My group of girlfriends is making these tomorrow for a few of our daughters that are graduating! Thanks for the idea!!

  23. 23

    [...] is a very common, and usually welcome, gift for graduates.  This Graduation Lei from Your Homebased Parties probably had this kid running from his cash-plucking friends, but I’ll bet he didn’t [...]

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