Tag: how to make candy leis

It’s that time of year again folks when there are graduations galore. Our niece, Faith, graduates from high school this Friday and we wanted to do something extra special for her. Not gift her with the usual flower lei, balloons or bouquet of flowers, but something she can wear proudly and show off to her fellow graduates who will look at her with envy that she is well loved and cared for.

With helpful instruction from our dear friend, Anh Nguyet, Rob and I worked tirelessly for hours on end over several days to create 2 very heavy, super intricate candy lei’s made up of Werther’s candies and Starbursts for Faith to don on her big day. Since we spent so much time on it, we thought we’d document (aka blog) the detailed instruction on how it’s done so that we’ll never forget how to create it and also to share with the world on how it’s all done so you can create it yourself for a loved one.

*sorry for the poor quality images in this post. i took these on my cellphone and half of ’em didn’t come out so great.*

Part I: the Werther’s lei

What you need:

  • Curling ribbon (this can be purchased from Party City)
  • Thicker ribbon (around 2 inches wide; got mine from Costco)
  • 1 big bag of Werther’s hard candies (ours contained ~80 pieces); big bags available at Smart & Final; make sure it’s the twisty wrapper kind.

Step 1: Cut curling ribbon into lengths of 6 inches. You’ll need one ribbon per piece of candy. I used 2 colors for Faith’s lei’s (green and black) to represent her school colors. You can do 1 color ribbon or even 2+; all up to you.

Step 2: Tie ribbon to one end of Werther’s candy (as illustrated below). Make sure there is an even length on each side.

Step 3: Cut the thicker 2 inch wide ribbon into 3.5 feet in length (may want it longer if the person has a bigger head; measure it on yourself leaving room to knot the 2 ends later).

Step 4: Start double knotting candy to 2 inch wide ribbon; making sure to alternate sides that the candy is on.

Photo of me in action:

Step 5: After you’re done going all the way to the end, tie the two ends together to complete the circle; take a scissor and curl the ribbon so that its not so straight and pokey.


Part II: the Starburst lei *warning: takes 10x as long and is very tedious*

What you need:

  • Curling ribbon
  • Thicker ribbon
  • Loose Starburst candies (ours contained ~90 pieces; purchased from Target)
  • Clear cellophane wrapping (got ours from Party City)

Step 1: Cut curling ribbon into lengths of 6 inches.

Step 2: Cut 4 inch squares of the clear cellophane wrap. This part was super tedious and hard. I had Rob make me a cardboard template that was 4″ x 4″ to measure and cut the cellophane. It was hard enough that the material doesn’t stay put let alone it being almost completely invisible!

Step 3: Sort candy. This really isn’t a step unless you’re picky with the colors. We purchased 3 variety packs and chose only the hues of pinks, reds and purples to go on the lei. We’re now stuck with the yellows, oranges, and greens to eat.

These are the 6 colors we worked with; it was so hard not to devour ’em while putting the lei together.

Step 4: Wrap each Starburst candy with cellophane and tying the end with a ribbon (as illustrated below).

I found that there was a lot of extra cellophane after it was tied at the end so to make it easier to tie to the main ribbon I’d cut some of the extra cellophane off. You don’t have to but I’m just knit picky.

Step 5: Cut the thicker 2 inch wide ribbon into 3.5 feet in length.

Step 6: Start double knotting candy to 2 inch wide ribbon; making sure to alternate sides and colors to get in a good mix. It starts getting really difficult when you mix in multiple color ribbon and candy colors. You can see in the photo below that I curled the ribbon as I went along so that it didn’t seem so overwhelming at the end.

Step 7: Tie the ends together (you can leave a bit of space w/o any candy, it’s ok b/c it’s behind their neck).

Viola! This is the face of a person after hours on end of back breaking work to put this Starburst lei together. I look like total crap and usually would not show a photo of myself in this sort of condition but I had to show you proof that making this Starburst lei takes a ton of dedication, time, and MUCHO love for the recipient in order for you to power thru it all. I am not convinced that I can or ever will make this lei for any person ever again. Perhaps the love for my children or grandchildren when I am super old without much to do in my retirement age will entice me to give it another shot. I did tell Rob that I would make this for him for his graduation (that would mean he’d have to go back to school). hehehe.

Step 8: get a back massage.