Tools and Supplies
- Gladiolus stems with blossoms (two stems, about 17 blossoms total, per lei)
- Darning needle (or other long sewing needle)
- Monofilament (clear plastic thread; available at crafts stores)
- Ribbon (1 yard per lei; we used M&J Trimming 1-inch silk ribbon #33103, mjtrim.com)
1. Pluck flowers, including about an inch of stem, from stalk. Open blossoms by blowing into their centers, then remove the leaves. Place them in a cup of shallow water as you remove the remaining flowers.
2. Thread monofilament through needle, and stick the needle down through the center of the first bloom, going down through the middle of the stem. Repeat with remaining flowers, pushing each new one up to cover the stem of the previous one. We used about 17 blossoms to make one lei.
3. Secure the end of monofilament with a knot by the last flower, leaving at least 2 inches of excess filament. Cut two 16-inch pieces of ribbon, one for each side of the lei. Tie the end of the monofilament around the ribbon close to the blossoms. Trim excess ribbon.
4. Tie leis on with a simple bow. Keep in mind that according to Hawaiian custom, only married women can close their leis with a knot on the left side. If it's on the right, it's a sign that the wearer is single.