I learned how to make these from my mom who learned from her mom.
My grandparents hosted luaus when my mom was a child and she and my aunt would help make these.
- Crepe paper in rolls (or in folded sheets cut into 2 inch strips)
- Needle and Thread (I measured about 2 yards, but this depends on how long you want or need your lei to be…whatever you determine double it and that’s your thread length)
1. First measure your thread and cut it to size. Thread your needle and make the thread doubled so it is stronger than just one strand, and tie a knot at the end.
2. Start hand sewing through the center of your crepe paper. You want to do about 1/4 inch stitches and pull your thread all the way through to the end as you go.
3. Bunch up (like a fan) as you go.
4. Once you have maybe an inch or more in length “bunched”, stop and twist clockwise, maintaining the tightness somewhat to keep the twirl.
5. Keep going and repeat until you have reached the desired length of lei (on average it takes me an hour or so to do one).
6. When you get to the end, sew into the beginning and knot off to connect the lei.
7. Cut remaining thread and you’re done! Enjoy!
These are delicate because they are made out of crepe paper, so try to keep these from being smashed because they have a hard time “bouncing back” into form.
This was my first time photographing a tutorial. It was a lot of fun and I look forward to doing more in the future! If anyone makes these – I’d love to see pictures! Thanks 🙂
I love your blog. Heather brought it to my attention. Especially love all the craft ideas and of course the photography is wonderful.
My sis makes this with silk cloth and they make good garlands 🙂
.-= Lakshmi´s last blog ..Bisi Uppinakayi/Grated Mango Instant Pickle =-.
Loved these ones! Had been looking for a craft for my daughter’s 10th birthday and these look so beautiful compared to the ones done with straws and cut out paper flowers!! Will definitely try them out!!
I hope I do get a chance to try this.
Thank you for the tutorial.
The leis look sweet, and the idea of making them is charming.
By the way, nice to meet you… I came over from visiting “How About Orange.”
I have just finished making some of these for a fancy dress party … they are so simple to do and very attractive when finished …. Thank you
My daughter is turning two this summer and I was thinking about doing a luau for her party. I thought I’d try this to see if I’m up for making enough for everyone and my first one turned out pretty decent so I think I might try to make them all. Better get started now though 🙂
so easy to follow! thanks for sharing!
I love the idea and try to make it many times but fail. There is no way I could bundle it up as a fan, would you mind to show me how to do it? Thank you.
Thanks for your feedback Hannah. I’ll see what I can do as far as giving further instructions – maybe a video in the future.
Hello there! I was so glad to come across this tutorial! I realized around 10pm that tomorrow is Hawaiian day for my boys at school, and of course, the only thing open in town was Jewel… Google DIY Hawaiian Lei and this was the first thing to pop up (from instructables.com). Now my boys have something for tomorrow! Thanks a billion!!! 😀
AWESOME!! I used fabric to create the lei, rather than crepe paper (since the paper is more fragile and the color can run). I used about a yard of fabric (45″ wide) to make a lei that measures approximately 32″ (circumference). It took me a while, but it was worth the time!!
Doing one in fabric sounds like something I’m going to have to try! Thanks for the specs on your version. Do you have any pictures you’d care to share? I’d love to see how it turned out. Did you leave the cut edges raw? I have playing around with the idea of making a ribbon version. Glad yours turned out great!
@nicolemiko: I’ll take some pictures later today and post them. Well, not sure how I’d post them to this thread. If you’d like, I can e-mail the pics to you. I cut the bottoms of some old t-shirts to make a ribbon/bow. I used it to fill in the space between the start and ending of the lei. The first lei I made, I tried creating a scalloped edge (cut s-shapes down the length), but it didn’t really make a difference once I started gathering the fabric and twisting. For the second lei, I just cut the fabric in 1 3/4 inch strips. I think ribbon would work well, too! I believe several crafters/craft stores here in Hawai’i use ribbon for some styles of lei.