5 easy-to-make graduation leis

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Photo by Sheridan Kailiehu

A delicious candy lei is all ready for commencement on May 26. It's quick, inexpensive, and easy-to-make.

Sheridan Kailiehu

By Sheridan Kailiehu, Staff Writer

With graduation right around the corner it is time to bust out those materials that were thrown into the back of the closet this time last year for the notorious lei-making spree.  In case you’ve drawn a blank and need some quick and easy lei suggestions, read on!

1. Candy Lei — This is fairly simple to make. The materials consist of a lei sleeve (available at Long’s Drugs and Ben Frankliln), ribbon, gift tags and, of course, the candy.

First, slide the candy into the lei sleeve and then tie it off from the rest of the sleeve with a piece of ribbon on both sides to secure it. Do this continuously until reaching the end where a gift tag is tied with the ribbon and the other end of the sleeve to secure the lei.

2. Candy Lei variation – This one’s fast, and the candy is always appreciated. Materials are scissors, a hole punch, some of your favorite candy bars or mini candy bars, plastic snack or sandwich bags, and ribbon in the school colors. You might also want some construction paper or note cards to add a personal note – consider cutting the cards into graduation shapes and/or using school colors.

Just put the candy in a plastic bag with your personal note, seal the bag, punch a hole right in the middle under the seal, string the ribbon through the hole, tie it off, curl the ends, and there you go — instant lei!

These can get tangled so use a twist tie or other fastener to tie the bunch together at the top, and make sure to carry the whole bunch so that they are hanging, not getting tangled in a bag.

3. Satin Lei — The materials consist of satin material in any color (pre-cut satin is available at Ben Franklin and other local retailers), regular sewing thread, and a needle (a long needle is best).

First, thread the needle, making the string as long as appropriate to go around the recipient’s neck, and tie off. You might want to tie a toothpick or other large item at the knot to keep the satin from spilling over. Leave enough extra thread hanging off the knot to tie it off when you’re done.

Next, poke the needle through the end of the piece of satin and fray both the edges until the middle part is fairly thin. Then weave the satin back and forth, piling it up on itself on the needle, and twisting slightly as you go to keep it even. Make sure it is tightly together.

Then push the satin piece off the needle and all the way to the bottom of the thread. Repeat until the thread is full, and then cut the thread from the needle, tie both sides and the lei is complete. Add a ribbon at the tie if desired.

4. Plumeria Lei — This is an excellent choice if you or a family member has a lot of plumeria trees in the yard. The materials needed are thread, a needle (a lei needle is great if you have one) and plumerias. First, thread the needle with the desired length of thread, cut, and tie off.

Next, stick the needle through the stem and out the top of the flower. Keep the needle centered so as not to split the stem. This makes the flower unusable. Gently push the flower all the way to the bottom of the thread. Be gentle! Hard pushing could split the stem. Repeat until string is full. Cut the needle off from the thread, tie both ends and the lei is done. Store in the fridge until it’s time to go.

5. Yarn Lei — The final one is a classic finger yarn lei. The materials needed are a skein of yarn and two hands. First, weave the yarn in and out of your four upright fingers, not the thumb, palm side up. Then take the bottom-most string on each finger, and, one at a time, flip it over the top of that finger until all four are done.

Then take the skein of yarn and instead of weaving, just wrap it around all four fingers making sure it is on the top of the other yarn. Then take the bottom yarn on each finger and flip them individually over the top of each finger again.  The lei will start forming down the back of your hand.

Repeat this to the desired length, it will take a while. Once the lei starts bunching up behind your hand pull on it a little bit to stretch it to its full  length.

The final step for all five leis is to use them to congratulate the class of 2012!