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Tissue Paper Leis

This type of lei can also be made with crepe paper streamers, which saves the step of cutting the paper into strips. The color selection for streamers is a bit limiting, so I went with tissue from Papermart (beware that some of the colors only come in bulk). This is the most basic type of paper lei you can make, but in the next few weeks, we'll jazz them up with flowers and fanciness...

  • Tissue paper, cut into strips (an xacto knife, metal ruler, and cutting mat made this go by quickly)
  • Needle, heavy weight thread, scissors
  • Toothpick or wooden skewer

  • Cut a piece of thread long enough to make the entire lei, plus at least 6" extra. Most leis are between 34"-40" long. Tie a knot at one end, leaving about a 3" tail.
  • Create a running stitch through the center of each strip (no need to stress about it being perfect). There's any number of ways to do this, and you'll find your groove after the first strip. My preference is to fold the paper back and forth over the needle until it's full, then slide the folds down to the knot.

  • Sometimes the folds don't cooperate. When this happens, a toothpick is the perfect tool to get them in shape. Just slide it between the thread and the fold. It will pop that sucker out in no time, and you can go about your business.

  • Once the entire strip of paper is folded, twist them carefully into a spiral.
  • Keep adding strips until your thread is filled up. Changing the color will give you stripes. When the lei is finished, tie the ends together into a secure overhand knot, and trim off the excess thread.

A quick note on the silver mylar: It's a serious pain in the buns. Although it tears with very little effort, trying to cut it is a painful procedure. It took some practicing to get it right, and the best advice i can give is to keep the tension of the strip tight in your fingers as the needle is puncturing it. And have patience.

A practice run is needed to get the technique down, but eventually it becomes second nature- Once the strips are cut, the assembly becomes very mechanical. It took about 2hours to get one threaded, with about 50% concentration.

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