I love using paper for any application possible, and even better when I can recycle something that would otherwise be thrown away. Of course you can use any paper you have available, but do consider giving all that advertising junk mail a second life.
This instructable combines a bit of paper bead making with some origami crease folding. My final lei is about 80cms long.
* Glossy paper catalogue or advertising junk mail
* String (I've used wool)
* Needle (knitting finishing needle works well as it's not overly sharp)
* Glass (to measure circles)
Step 1: Make Paper Beads
I recommend making beads that are about 3.5cm long (1.5 inches) to allow enough space for the 'flowers' to take shape. The quantity will depend on how long you wish your lei to be. I've used 25 beads in this example.
No need to give these guys a varnish coat at the end as they won't be exposed to water.
Step 2: Cut Out Flowers
Use a small drinking glass as a circle template and mark circles across your paper. Cut out the circles. Flick through the final cut outs to match similar colours together. This will help to keep a consistent theme.
With a small stack of circles in hand, cut five small nicks around the edge of the circle. This creates the petal effect and will help at the folding stage. Repeat for all circles.
Step 3: Fold Flowers
Otherwise if you're after a bit more detail, take your creased flower and make a reverse crease towards the centre of the petal. That crease should come naturally based on the first set of crease you made (essentially the crease made when you join the two existing creases together). Continue for each of the other petals.
You should end up with a five petalled flower that has some body and shape. Repeat this procedure for all other flowers. You'll end up with a nice stack of formed flowers. This is the kind of task that you can do in front of the TV which makes the folding part go more quickly.
Step 4: Thread Beads and Flowers
Get creative and form your own patterns based on paper colour, bead colour, or shape combinations.