How to Make a Lei

Girl making a leiThe Hawaiian Craft of Lei Making

In Hawaii, whenever there is a big occasion like a graduation or wedding, it is common for family and friends to get together and string leis for the event. Lei making is a wonderful time for sharing stories and getting to know one another better. It can also be a particularly fun Hawaiian craft activity for kids’ birthday parties or other gatherings. You can pick your own flowers and use a long needle and thread, or purchase a Lei Making Kit from Hawaii Flower Lei, which includes instructions, long lei needles, twine, and fresh flowers. 

Make Your Own Leis

You can make your own leis from materials found right in your back yard! Literally any flowers, leaves, ferns, etc., may be used to make a lei. For your first time however, you should start with the basic single strand flower lei.

To begin lei making, collect any medium sized flowers you can find – roses, daisies, carnations etc. You’ll need about 50 blossoms to make a 40″ single strand lei. Cut about a 100″ length cotton string, and fold it in half. Tie a large knot at the end of the twine – this will act like a “stopper” for your flowers as you string them. Remember to leave extra string below the knot – you will use this to tie the lei together upon its completion.

Lei making kitIn Hawaii, a steel lei needle, usually about 12 to 18 inches in length is used to string flowers, but any large needle will do. Go through the center of the face of the flower straight through to the back. Carefully guide the flowers to the base of the string near the knot – never force the flowers, you can always move them farther down later. You are finished when the lei is approximately 40″ long. You may choose to dress your lei up with a ribbon, or just leave it au natural.

Lei Making Kit

You may want to purchase our signature flower lei making kit, which includes all the Hawaiian craft materials you’ll need to make your own leis – loose orchids, lei needles, twine, and instructions shipped directly from Hawaii. The kit comes with enough orchids to make up to eight leis, however you can easily add additional loose flowers to your order if you need to make more than eight. This is a very economical (and fun) way to go for events such as graduations when you’ll need a large number of leis.

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