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Flower Lei Tutorial

Dreaming of Hawaii? See how easy it is to make a Flower Lei without traveling to the islands.

Graduate wearing a Floral Lei

We lived in Hawaii in the early 90s. I know—how wonderful was it to live in paradise?! It was not a vacation because we were living our lives doing everyday things like working and going to school.

We did take the time to tour the islands and learn about the local culture and traditions. One of my favorite things about Hawaii is the tradition of giving leis.

Leis are an important part of the Hawaiian culture. They are given to others as a symbol of affection.

Many have seen pictures of people getting lei when flying into Hawaii. The airlines no longer hand out leis to everyone, but lei-giving is still a common practice there, and you will often see it given with a kiss.

Leis are given for various occasions, including a new child or congratulating a graduate. I love seeing graduates with so many lies that you can barely see their faces!

A lei can be any object strung together with the intent to be worn. It can be made from shells, paper, money, ribbons, candy, or fabric.

Most commonly, they are made from fresh plants, such as flowers and leaves.

I made four leis for my son’s graduation: flora, ribbon, money, and candy. Here, he is proudly wearing them.

graduate wearing many Hawaiian leis

They look hard to make, but they really aren’t. I’ll teach you how to make a flower lei.

If you’ve even strung something, then you can make a lei.

The hardest part is probably threading the needle.

Flower Lei Tutorial

Supplies: fresh flowers, large needle, waxed dental floss, scissors, ribbon (optional).

Commonly, leis are made with plumerias, carnations, orchids, tuberose, and ti leaves.

I like using carnations because they are readily available, come in various colors, and are easy to string.

Cut the flowers off near the top of the stem.

Cut a long piece of dental floss, thread it through your needle, and tie it off so it doesn’t slip out of the needle’s eye.

Carefully thread the needle through the flower.

Go from the stem through the middle of the flower and then gently move it down the floss.

Make sure to leave a few inches at the bottom of the floss.

You can put a loop on that end as a reminder if you want.

Continue stringing flowers until the desired length is reached, then tie off! You can make patterns with your lei.

My daughter alternated carnations and daisies on her headband, and I included two carnations and one daisy in my pattern for the necklace.

I added a ribbon to the one I made, which covered up where it was tied off.

How easy is that? Can you think of someone special for whom you’d like to make a flower lei?

Wouldn’t they love to get a fresh lei even if you don’t live in Hawaii? My daughter is beaming in these photos because she loves the flowers so much and is proud of helping make them.

Proper disposal etiquette for leis is to return them to the earth by various means, or you may dry them and let their fragrance fill the room.

They should not be tossed in the trash. My son still has the dried lei I made him for graduation.

Who are you going to make a flower lei for?

What is the occasion?

collage with flower leis

Check out this graduation gift tutorial~

Alexis AKA MOM

Tuesday 22nd of July 2014

You always are so crafty! They are beautiful!


Monday 21st of July 2014

BFF for sure! especially with the burlap around the arrangement.


Monday 21st of July 2014

I like the Glamorous bouquet.

Adela Ioana

Sunday 20th of July 2014

I like very much Purple Singapore Orchids In Upright Black Presentation Box!

Amanda Sakovitz

Sunday 20th of July 2014

I would pick Serendepity

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