Fresh flower leis are a tradition in Hawaii, and they are made for almost every occasion, from celebrating birthdays to welcoming visitors. You don't have to be in Hawaii, however, to enjoy the beauty of a fresh lei. Whether you are attending a festive luau, party or just want to enjoy making something unique with your fresh flowers, you can make a lei wherever you are. All you need are a few simple supplies and a batch of blossoms.
Gather your blossoms. Any flower blooms will work, but the larger the blooms the fewer you will need to string. Plumerias, roses and carnations all work well. If you are gathering your own blossoms, pick them early in the morning before the sun dries them. Blossoms can also be ordered from your florist. You will need approximately 50 medium-size blossoms for a lei that is 45 to 50 inches long, which will lay 2 to 2 1/2 feet down from the back of your neck.
Thread your needle. Make the two ends of the string even, and then tie a knot in the string about 3 to 4 inches from the ends. You need to leave some excess string for tying your lei.
Insert the needle into the front of the flower and push it through to the back. You may also run the needle through the stem on the back of the flower, and then when you add the next flower, face it the other direction. Stringing in this manner will make the lei appear twice as full, but it is not often as sturdy as stringing through the center of the flower.
Pull the thread up through the flower, rather than sliding the flower down to the knot. This will save some wear and tear on the flower.
String all the flowers you want until you have the length you desire. If you realize while stringing that a 45-inch length will be too long for your preference, then you can stop stringing at any time.
Take your scissors and cut the end of the string that has the needle, leaving at least 3 extra inches on the string to tie the lei. Knot the cut end, and then tie the two loose ends together.
Store the lei in a plastic bag in the bottom of the refrigerator until it is time to wear it.