How to Make a Fresh Flower Lei
Step by instructions for making a traditional,
single strand, fresh flower Hawaiian lei. Includes a list
of required materials and detailed lei making instructions.
Photo Credit: Hawaii Tourism Japan
Materials for Making a Lei
Flowers for a Lei
For an adult size lei you will need 40 to 80 flowers, depending
on the size of the flowers and how tightly the flowers are strung.
Some of the most commonly use lei flowers include plumeria, dendrobium orchids,
white ginger, red ginger, pikake, ilima, gardenias, tuberoses, and carnations
but many other flowers can also be used. The smaller the flowers the more
flowers you will need.
String for a Lei
I like to use waxed dental floss to string a lei but
you can also use 8 to 10 pound fishing line or #10 crochet thread.
If you use #10 crochet thread you should use a double thickness.
Needle for Stringing a Lei
Professional lei makers use a special needle that was designed
for stringing a lei. A lei needle is typically 6 to 12 inches
long and it has a point at one end and a hook (instead of an eye)
on the other end. You can purchase lei needles in Hawaii
or on the Internet but you can also use a carpet needle,
a 3 or 4 inch upholstery needle, or any other needle with a medium size eye.
Other Lei Making Materials
-Felt tip marker
-Clip for one end of the string
-One gallon zip lock plastic bag (if you're going to store the lei)
Lei Making Instructions
-Cut piece of dental floss, fishing line, or crochet thread
50 inches long. This will give you a lei that is 40 inches long with
5 inches on each end that you can tie together.
If you are using #10 crochet thread cut it to 100 inches long
and use a double strand.
-Use the felt tip pen to mark the string 5 inches from each end.
-Place a clip on the opposite end of the string from where
you will be stringing the flowers
-If you are using a lei needle, pull the string through the hook
of the needle and either hold it back to secure it or
use pliers to squeeze the hook closed so it makes an eye.
If you are using another type of needle, thread it. Use a single
strand if you are using dental floss or fishing line and use a
double strand if you are using #10 crochet thread.
-Remove the stem from each blossom before you string it
-Slide the needle through the center of each flower.
Some lei makers prefer to not to string through the
center, but instead prefer to make a new hole in the flower
just below the center of the stem.
-Nest each flower against the previous flower
-Some lei makers stringing 5 flowers onto the lei needle
before pushing them gently to the end of the string.
other lei makers recommend sliding flowers down the string
one at a time to prevent the flowers from tearing.
-After stringing all the flowers nest the first and last
flowers and tie the string in a square knot, leaving
a tail so the lei can be carried without touching the
flowers. Remove the tail before presenting the lei to someone.
-Mist the lei lightly with water.
-Some lei makers like to tie a pretty ribbon to each
end of the lei and tie the ribbon in a bow. This
step is optional. Many lei makers prefer to hide
the point where the two ends of the lei were joined
-If you need to store the lei, place it loosely in a plastic
bag after misting and store it in the vegetable bin of your
refrigerator. If the lei gets too cold the flowers will
Tropical Flower Shops on the Web
How to Give and Receive a Flower Lei
Lei Greeting Services in Hawaii
May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii
More About the Hawaiian Lei
The Culture of Hawaii
Islands of Hawaii
Hawaii for Visitors
Elsewhere on the Web
Photos of Making a Dendromium Orchid Lei
Photos of Making a Plumeria Lei
Photos of Making a Ti Leaf Lei
A NOTE FROM KATHIE: If you have any corrections or updates to the information on
this page or if you would like us to add any information or
links, please send a message to the email
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