Graduation Lei: Celebrate Success with Money-Filled Swag and Beautiful Florals

Graduation season is upon us, and you might be wondering how to make your graduate feel special during this memorable time. Decorating the graduation cap has become a fun modern tradition, especially using funny Graduation puns.

Regardless if they're a high school grad, college graduate, or wearing their Master's Degree gradation gown proudly, one special tradition that has gained popularity in recent years is the giving and receiving of graduation leis.

A graduation lei is a beautiful and meaningful way to celebrate your graduate's accomplishment. These leis, often made of flowers, shells, or even money, represent the love, support, and good wishes you have for the graduate as they embark on their next stage in life.

As you shop or create a lei for your loved one, consider the various types of leis available to suit their personality and style. Keep in mind the significance each lei holds, as it will surely add to the joy and memories of the graduation celebration.

Types of Graduation Leis

Traditional flower graduation lei DIGIBUDDHA

Traditional Leis

When you think of a graduation lei, traditional leis likely come to mind. They are made from flowers, leaves, or even seashells. This type of lei celebrates your achievement and embraces the spirit of Hawaiian culture.

Flowers like orchids and plumerias are popular choices, but you can see other varieties as well. Some leis, called maile, are made from fragrant green leaves and can be given to both men and women.

Graduation money lei DIGIBUDDHA

Money Leis

Money leis are a fun and practical alternative to traditional leis. They consist of folded bills or coins woven together in a decorative manner. This type of lei is a great way to gift the graduate with something that will help them start their next chapter in life.

To create a money lei, you can use various folding techniques and incorporate other materials like ribbon, beads, or flowers for a more personalized touch.

Ribbon Leis

For a longer-lasting option, you might consider ribbon leis. These leis are made from different colored ribbons, often matching the school colors of the graduate or incorporating their favorite hues.

The ribbon is braided, twisted, or sewn together to create a beautiful, unique design. There is a wide variety of patterns and techniques you can use to make your ribbon lei stand out, allowing you to create a memorable gift for the graduate.

How to make a graduation money lei DIGIBUDDHA

Creating a Graduation Money Lei

Materials Needed

Collect the following items for your graduation money lei project:

  • Dollar bills (any denomination)
  • Ribbon or string
  • Beads or decorative spacers
  • Adhesive tape or glue

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Fold the money: Take a dollar bill and fold it accordion-style, starting from the short edge. Make sure the folds are even and crisp.

  2. Thread the ribbon: Carefully thread the folded dollar bill onto your ribbon or string, making sure it lies flat.

  3. Add spacer: Slide a bead or decorative spacer onto the ribbon or string before adding another folded dollar bill. Repeat the process, alternating between dollar bills and spacers, until you reach your desired lei length.

  4. Secure the lei: Tie the ends of the ribbon or string together securely, ensuring the money lei stays in place around the graduate's neck.

Now you have a beautiful graduation money lei! Present it to the lucky graduate as a unique and thoughtful gift.

Graduation lei money lei DIGIBUDDHA

How to Make a Graduation Lei Ribbon

Materials Needed

  • Ribbon (3 different colors)
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing pins

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Choose 3 colors of ribbon that are meaningful to the graduate or match their school colors.

  2. Measure and cut each ribbon to a length of at least 108 inches (3 yards) to ensure it will fit comfortably around the graduate's neck.

  3. Lay all 3 ribbons on a flat surface, aligning the ends, and overlapping them slightly.

  4. Using sewing pins, secure the ribbons together at one end.

  5. Start braiding the ribbons together, just like braiding hair. Be sure to keep the ribbons flat and untwisted as you go.

  6. Continue braiding until you've reached the end of the ribbons.

  7. Remove the sewing pins from the beginning of the braid.

  8. Bring both ends of the braid together to form a loop, ensuring there are no twists in the ribbons.

  9. Tie a simple overhand knot with the unbraided ends, making sure that the knot is tight and secure.

  10. Trim any excess ribbon from the ends, and your graduation lei ribbon is complete!

Graduation Lei DIGIBUDDHA

Tips and Tricks

When selecting your graduation lei, try opting for fresh flowers. They add a beautiful and natural touch to your special day. Plus, the scent of fresh flowers can be quite uplifting.

If you can, personalize your graduation lei. Use your school colors or favorite flowers. This small detail can make your lei more meaningful and memorable.

Consider the durability of your lei. Graduation ceremonies can be long, so choosing a lei that won't easily wilt or break is important. Materials like yarn, ribbon, or even candy can make for an alternative, yet lasting option.

Experiment with different lei styles. There are endless possibilities when it comes to design. From simple, single-strand leis to intricate, braided ones, find a style that best suits you and your personality.

Don't forget to plan ahead; order or make your lei in advance. This ensures you have plenty of time to get the perfect lei for graduation day. If you're crafting your own lei, gather materials and give yourself ample time to create your masterpiece.

When it's finally time to wear your lei, remember proper etiquette. Allow someone else to place the lei over your head, as it symbolizes their love and support. After the ceremony, display or store your lei properly to remember this milestone occasion.

Graduation Day Graduation Lei DIGIBUDDHA

Significance and Etiquette

Graduation day is a proud moment for you and your loved ones. A traditional way to celebrate this milestone is by giving and receiving leis.

Leis are a symbol of love, respect, and congratulations. They are given at various important events, including graduation ceremonies. When you receive a lei, it serves as an expression of affection and honor for your achievements.


  • When giving a lei: Make sure to ask the recipient if they have any allergies, as some people may be allergic to flowers or materials used in the lei.
  • Receiving a lei: Accept the lei graciously with a smile and, if appropriate, a hug or a kiss on the cheek.



Do put on the lei as soon as you receive it

Don't refuse a lei when offered to you

Do wear the lei for the duration of the event

Don't toss or discard the lei in public view

Keep in mind that when wearing a lei, it should lay gently around your neck with both ends draped down the front. Enjoy the beauty and symbolism of this wonderful tradition on your graduation day.

Graduation Lei Grad Day DIGIBUDDHA

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