I’ve been the room parent for both of my children ever since they entered kindergarten, and I think the biggest reason I’ve been asked to be room parent each year is that the teachers know they’ll receive a money lei as their holiday gift from the class As you can see above, it’s not immediately obvious that the lei is made up of 100 $1 bills, and it’s something of a show piece. The drawback is that the lei would have to be dismantled in order to spend the money, but when I’ve asked if the teachers would prefer to just have the cash, I’ve been assured that they would prefer the lei instead.
I’ve also been asked many times, “How do you make that?” As impressive as the finished lei looks, it’s actually very easy to make, so I’ve prepared this step-by-step tutorial to show you how to make one yourself. Since I collect money from the entire class, it’s actually a very cheap project. But I will be upfront in saying it’s tedious and time-consuming, so just be prepared.
How to Make a Money Lei
100 new $1 bills
12 feet of string or ribbon
Step 1: Get one hundred new $1 bills at the bank. This is not as easy as it sounds. Apparently, today’s banking system means banks rarely get new bills, and you really need new, crisp bills for this project. However, my bank is willing to request new bills, and although they can’t guarantee they’ll get them, they haven’t failed me yet. It does take some time, however, so be sure to allot at least an extra week just to get the money.
Step 2: Start folding. This step is the definition of tedium. Basically, you’re making a fan out of each bill, as demonstrated in the video below:
When I’m getting started, I put the entire stack of $1 bills in a reusable shopping bag. After I fold each bill, I drop it back into the bag until it’s time to assemble the lei.
Step 3: Assemble the lei. You’ll need to cut 12 feet of string or ribbon. I like to use white curling ribbon, but that’s certainly not the only type that would work in this project. Once you’ve got your length of ribbon, find the center, fold the length of ribbon in half, and make a knot, leaving a long tail on the end, as shown:
Next, place a folded $1 bill in the center of the knot, and tie it into place. Fan out the bill, and tape the ends, as demonstrated in this video:
Repeat with all remaining dollar bills.
Step 4: Finish the lei. Once you’ve tied all 100 $1 bills in place, you’re ready to finish the lei by bringing the two ends together and making a tight knot, as demonstrated in the video below:
Cut off the excess ribbon. Then cover the last knot with a decorative ribbon, and voilá! Your money lei is done!
Now you just have to decide . . . is it too pretty to give away?
This post will be linked to Thrifty Thursday at Living Well, Spending Less.