Even when you don’t have beautiful Hawaiian flowers like those pictured above, you can still make a Hawaiian lei. These lei are made around a large (or any) plastic (or metal) straw or tube. It’s a great project, inexpensive, and makes a fabulous and long lasting gift of Hawaiiana. It’s a good way to pass the time while waiting for the next Hawaii travel deal.
Any craft store will have these five items to get you started:
- Thick, sturdy, drinking straw
- Multi-colored “feather” yarn (you can use several and mix colors)
- 2 yards Grosgrain ribbon (3/8 inches)
- 2 Kukui Nuts or Large Beads
- Large eyed needle
First, Prepare the Ribbon:
- Cut the ribbon to size (about 22 inches) and add another 24 inches.
- Feed ribbon through straw, pull out 1.5 inches, and tape to straw.
- At the ribbon’s other end, tie a knot 12 inches from the end.
Second, Prepare the Yarn:
- Take the end of the yarn and tie to bottom of straw (leave 2 inch tail).
- If you use more than one yarn, hold all ends together and tie to bottom of straw.
Third, Start Wrapping and Make A Lei:
- Hold the straw in one hand and the yarn in the other.
- Wrap the yarn around the straw, keeping even tension.
- After 8 times around, slide yarn off the straw and onto the ribbon.
- Always leave some yarn wrapped on straw until you’re through.
- Keep wrapping and sliding yarn onto ribbon.
- You’re through when it’s the desired density and length.
Fourth, Tie the Ends and It’s A Lei:
- Slide all yarn off the straw and tie a knot on the ribbon; trim excess.
- Remove tape that holds the ribbon on straw.
- Slide ribbon out of straw.
- Squeeze yarn so there is an even thickness.
- Knot the beginning to the lei securely and trim off the tails.
- Slip a kukui nut onto each end (use a large eyed needle) and tie several knots to secure the kukui nut on lei.
- Trim the ends of the main ribbon at an angle to prevent fraying.
- Tie the ends together into a bow and your lei is ready.