Monday, May 24, 2010

Crafting with kids: how to make a paper lei

Welcome to my first tutorial, this time about how to make a paper lei!  I thought it was about time for me to actually explain how I created something for your enjoyment and your own crafting fun.  {a PDF of this tutorial can be found here}  Today I am sharing a project I stumbled upon last October when Lil' Miss decided she wanted to be Lilo (yes, Destructo-boy was Stitch!) for Halloween.  I had already made a dress for her by piecing together two patterns I purchased from the local craft superstore, but she needed more than that for a Lilo costume.  She desperately needed that most well known symbol of Hawaii, a lei!  I knew that I would be able to buy her an inexpensive lei rather easily but as I have said before, I really prefer to create from what I already have if at all possible.

After a quick perusal of my supplies I realized I already had everything I would need to have Lil' Miss help me make a lei for her to wear.  My list of supplies included:
  • A die cut machine with flower dies, card, or cartridge (I have the Slice machine by Making Memories and used Basics card #2), but a single, or an assortment, of floral punches will suffice, or even hand cut the flowers if you are especially crafty!
  • Assorted colors of construction paper or card stock
  • Yarn, long enough to form the necklace and tie it closed
  • Large/medium plastic beads, just make sure the hole is large enough to string the yarn through
  • Large tapestry needle
We started with Lil' Miss picking out a variety of flowers she wanted me to cut out for her which I did in 3 different sizes, 1.5", 2" and 2.5", and in several different colors of construction paper.  A lei would look just as nice if it were made with all one flower of one size, and/or even all the same color.  I made about 70 flowers if I remember correctly.  Once the flowers were all cut out I had her help me put a hole in the center of each flower with a hole punch (I used the smaller punch on a Crop-A-Dile which is a great tool btw!) , this way the flowers can be strung onto the yarn.

Once a sufficient amount of paper flowers have been cut out and punched in the middle, prepare your yarn by cutting a length long enough to drape around the child's neck with enough extra to tie it closed.  Then thread the yarn onto your tapestry needle and prepare to hand it over to an eager child with some simple instructions.  The key here is to alternate the paper flowers with the beads while stringing, as doing so will make them stand out more like a lei made with real flowers.

At this point I let Lil' Miss take over completely, giving her total creative control over the color and floral arrangement (yes, it was very hard to watch her put the same colors next to each other and not have any pattern at all to how she put the beads and flowers on).  I particularly liked the beads we used as they are about 1/4" long so created some nice breathing space between the flowers;  Some basic pony beads would work just as well but would require more paper flowers than I used for the completed lei.

Once you, or the eager child, have strung on enough beads and paper flowers to make a lei the length you'd like just knot the ends together and voila, a fun afternoon spent crafting together and what, I ask, is better than that! 

Just a little FYI, as I was instructed at my Aunt's wedding many years ago, the proper way to wear a lei is not like a necklace hanging down from the back of your neck, it should be worn draped on the shoulders with half the flowers across your chest and half draped across your back.  It feels much better this way and the lovely fragrance of the flowers (well, not the paper ones, but real ones!) are closer to your nose too!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails