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Graduation Gift DIY: Easy and Cool Money Lei

Hip2Save may earn a small commission via affiliate links in this post. Read our full disclosure policy here.

Want a fun graduation gift idea that looks fancy (but is EASY to make)?

This creative DIY money lei is the easiest we’ve seen anywhere! Make this for the special graduates in your life! Simply fold paper bills into simple accordion style “flowers” and tie them to an inexpensive beaded party necklace. Customize using school colors, and the denomination of bills is up to you!

Make this easy DIY graduation gift money lei from cash and construction paper.

No fancy origami paper folding here!

There are so many different ways to make money leis, and some of them are pretty time-consuming and complicated. I promise this version is a simple, FUN and a very doable DIY project you’ll enjoy! You can make a few paper “flowers” made out of colored construction paper like I did or just use additional bills.

Easy and Cool Money Lei

Supplies Needed: 
Directions: 

1.) Fold a bill accordion-style back and forth, about 1/2 an inch wide.


2.) Fold bill in half, first in one direction, then in the other direction.


3.) Secure a small rubber band around the center.


4.) Place glue dots or double sided tape on the sides and secure both ends together to form a circle or “flower”.

Hip Tip: Glue dots are small circles of removable adhesive commonly used in paper crafts. They are nice to use in this craft so that the recipient doesn’t rip their money taking lei apart. You can however use removable tape if desired.


5.) Thread a piece of ribbon through the middle of “flower” and tie to the necklace.


6.) Continue tying “flowers” all around necklace as desired.

Note: For construction paper flowers, just fold using the same directions as above.


What a fun and unique way to gift money!

If you want to do a little something special for a graduation gift other than a check or gift card, this is a neat idea. I love that this project isn’t super complicated and can be customized by using school colors. It’s such a great alternative to expensive flower leis. I would have loved this at my graduation!


Written by Lina for Hip2Save. Lina is a proud mom of 2 small kids who loves photography, all holidays, cooking, thrift store makeovers, bargain shopping, and DIY makeovers. Her goal is to create a beautiful life and stylish home on a dime! Check out all of Lina’s DIY/CRAFTS and RECIPES created just for Hip2Save.

Join The Discussion

Comments 28

  1. Lily

    Nice !!!!!

    • Lina D

      Thanks!

  2. Stacy

    Omg love love love!!!! So cute!!!! Awesome idea

    • Lina D

      Thanks so much Stacy!

    • marie

      Agree! Very cute way to greet the graduate at a grad party!

  3. Ang

    Wow! Love it I think we’ll try it for a craft at our job picnic

  4. Shelly

    When I was young we use to have these for the Bride & Groom & I thought they were pretty cheesy but now when I see these for Graduation, they look cool 😎

    • Lina D

      Oh fun!

  5. Shoppingfan

    Do u think HS guys will like these too? Just curious? You know sone are too cool. 😎

    • Jess

      I think a guy would love it if you used $20’s instead of $1’s 😊

    • aV

      HS guys will definitely like this. I have 3 boys – 2 in high school. They love food and money (which they can use to buy more food).

      • Lina D

        Ha! That’s a great response. 🙂

    • amy111

      I’d think so! I clicked on this because my son will graduate next spring. Money is always a great gift!

  6. Laurie

    What a cute idea!!!

    • Lina D

      Thanks Laurie!

  7. Tina

    I love this idea, especially if you use the school colors. If the graduate wears the necklace for his/her party and is photographed, this fun gift will live on way after the cash is spent.

  8. JES

    Super cute idea! Would be fun to do with kiddos without the money!

    • Lina D

      Oh fun!

  9. yjr2004

    At my daughters high school officials banned money leis. We were told it’s not fair to someone students that can’t afford them.

  10. Deb

    Wow that’s a neat idea! Thanks for the tip!!

    • Lina D

      You’re welcome Deb! <3

  11. Soli

    This is such as awesome idea!! I”m going to do this for my son, he’s graduating HS in a couple weeks. I’m going to go with some suggestions others had on using school colors and using $20’s!

  12. LC

    I love this idea and I’ve always wanted to learn how to make one. You make it look so easy!

    • Lina D

      Oh perfect! Thanks for stopping by 😀

  13. Nanci

    This is so cool ! Thank you so much

    • Lina D

      Thanks Nanci!

  14. Lisa

    Cute idea! I’m going to do this!!

    • Lina D

      Thanks for stopping by Lisa!

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