It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Hawaii Day Lei

A couple of weeks ago, our local park had a “Hawaii Day”. In preparation for that, we decided to make our own leis. I suspected there would be dollar store leis provided, but, hey! Any excuse for a craft is good by me! I’d seen pretty coloured coffee filters in several places on the internet, and decided that would be the perfect medium to make beautifully coloured, light and pretty flowers.

So. Take a coffee filter. Take a whole bunch of coffee filters! Colour them with water-soluble markers.

Any way you like. The one on the left is Tyler’s, the middle is mine, the right is Emily’s.

Take a squirt bottle of water set to “mist” (or the most diffuse setting) and spray your coloured filters. Warning: although these are technically water soluble colours, they managed to sink into the white top of my table and become permanent additions to the paint. Good thing that table was on its way out, anyway! For those of you who desire a more long-term relationship with your furniture, I suggest a plastic cloth.

The colours don’t blur instantly. Spray a bit, wait a bit and see what happens, spray a bit more. I also found that lifting it and turning it a bit, then setting it down in much the same spot on the table (or, in your case, your plastic cloth!), helped the colours to blur even more. This one is mid-blur.

Various degrees of blurring:

When you have a bunch, let them dry. I think we made about 45, all told, but we were making several necklaces. I’d say you need at least 4, and the more you make, the longer your lei can be!

Fold the coffee filter into quarters. Cut all layers into as large a circle as you can get from the quarter.

Now, take one circle, fold it in half, and cut petals from it by removing curvy V’s. (Does that make sense? I find it’s easier to visualize the shape I’m removing than the shape I’m aiming for… If that doesn’t work for you, do it your own way.)

Ignore those green things in the background. Originally we were going to put leaves in our leis, but they just looked stupid. Well, those ones did. A different kind would have fit in better, but by then we had MOVED ON from that idea, and were all about the FLOWERS!

When you’ve found your cutting groove and like the look of the flowers you’re producing, you can cut several at a time. I think I found four was about as many as my scissors would handle — eight layers, of course, since you’re folding them in half.

Flowers! Lots and lots and lots of pretty flowers!

Next, the threading. I used green plastic ribbon, cut to the right length for each child. We cut a bunch of green Starbucks straws into 2-cm segments (1 inch). (You don’t save your green Starbucks straws? Whyever not?) Tie one straw segment at what will be one end of the necklace. This is to stop the children from pushing the flowers right off the end.

Now you have, not only a craft, but a pattering activity! Patterning is a pre-math skill! One flower, one straw, one flower, one straw, until you get the length you want.

This little guy, a very active dude, got bored, and so this rather short necklace was as long as he wanted, thankyousomuch. I don’t have a picture of Emily’s, because she wasn’t DONE yet! Hers will be much, much longer…


September 6, 2010 - Posted by | crafts | , , , , , , ,


  1. Love them. What does one do at Hawaii day? Did you know that if you put a big dot of black, not waterproof, marker in the middle of a coffee filter and drop water on the spot some of the colors that make up black will leech out? Try it before you do it with the kids. Some markers work better than others.

    Do you know, we never did find out! After all that preparation, we got to the park on the appointed day… and nothing was happening. We hung around for half an hour… nothing. We found out subsequently that the activities started at 11:30 (also known as ‘lunchtime’ at my house, almost immediately followed by naptime). None of the posters had indicated the start time, though, so I was not prepared, nor is it likely that I’d be bringing toddlers to an activity held during naptime, anyway. Harrumph. But we sure enjoyed making our leis, and the kids didn’t realize they’d missed out on anything — they thought the trip to the park was the point of the outing! 😀

    Thanks for the tip. I did notice some of that happening with the black markers when Tyler was using them. I’ll look into it some more!

    Comment by jwg | September 13, 2010 | Reply

  2. How wonderful — and so much prettier than those awful plastic leis that look to me like strings of wadded garbage bag material!

    Comment by Carolie | September 13, 2010 | Reply

  3. Excellent!! I am so trying this with the kids! They will love it, thanks!

    Comment by Debbi Does Dinner Healthy | September 13, 2010 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: