A Worry-Free Way to Enjoy a Beautiful Hawaiian Craft


Feeling inspired to string together a Hawaiian flower lei of your very own? The good news is, you don’t have to travel to some distant, tropical island to make this dream a reality, or be an expert lei maker like my grandmother, Tomiko Tarumoto.

cigar flower leiShe has spent decades growing and picking the fragrance-free Pua Kika (cigar flower) to produce some of the most lovely, award-winning leis I have ever seen. These magnificently designed leis take patience, skill and more than 2,000 individual flowers to create.

But you can fashion a stunning lei in no time using any type of blossom, some string or dental floss, and a fairly long needle. To make a 40-inch single strand lei, be prepared to use around 50 blossoms.

Of course, when your flower is on the smaller side you will need more of them. You can also add some decorative finishes to the lei, including leaves, shells and other materials that you can find in your home.

If you’re new to the craft, making something uncomplicated and straightforward, such as a single strand orchid lei, is an ideal project and a perfect gift for any occasion or event. Lei making is a common symbol of love, friendship, celebration, honor, or greeting. It is also a time when you and your family or friends can bond.

Traditionally, when people gathered to make leis they shared stories, taking those moments to interact and come together.

In this “How to make a Hawaiian Lei” video, Nalani, entertainment director for the Mai Kai Hawaiian Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, demonstrates how to enjoy the Hawaiian craft of lei making and share a symbol of Aloha.