DIY Leis for Your Graduate

My heart aches when I consider that many students are missing a major milestone in their lives as they transition from one life phase to another during the shelter in place.  However, you may still help your student to enjoy one aspect of graduation, graduation pictures, by making a DIY ribbon lei for your graduate!  You may find some benefits for yourself, too!

A Calming Activity

When you first start making a lei, it will probably take about 30 minutes, as you become comfortable learning a new skill.  However, if you make more than one lei for your graduate and their friends, you will find that it takes only about 20 minutes or so.  You can weave the lei as you watch television!  It is very relaxing when you weave leis, much like knitting.

Last year, I made about 90 senior leis for my child’s marching band and by extension the football team, cheerleaders, and dance squad.  Because I find weaving so relaxing, it never felt stressful.  One thing I had to keep tabs on was the height of each person because height affects lei length.

Lei Length

I especially needed the height of the football players, because some members of the football team were over 6 feet tall.  One player was 6 feet 5 inches tall!  In contrast, some of the members of the cheerleading team were under 5 feet tall.  When you make a lei, the height of your graduate will determine the length of the lei.  I generally follow these guidelines:

  • At or around 5 feet tall:  Use 5 yards of ribbon for both ribbons.
  • At or close to 6 feet tall:  Use 6-7 yards of ribbon for both ribbons.
  • Over 6 feet tall:  Use 7-8 yards of ribbon for both ribbons.

Also be careful to ensure that the lei is not too long.  I have seen other lei makers make their leis too long.  The end of the lei should be near or below your graduate’s belly button.

Supplies You Will Need

  • Two 3/8th inch ribbons in a length of at least 7-10 yards each.  You can select the colors based upon your graduate’s favorite colors or the school’s colors.
  • Yard stick or measuring tape
  • Scissors