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How to Sew your own Plumeria Lei

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Making a gorgeous fresh plumeria lei is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable things that you can do. The plumeria’s fragrance is delightful and being able to gift someone with a fresh lei that you made by hand will bring delight to anyone. If you’re wondering about how to make a lei, there are a few tricks to know when you work with plumeria flowers since they are so special unique. They’re actually several different varieties of plumeria and if you’re lucky enough to have access to the “waxy” ones, those will last longer. Since they are fragrant flowers, their petals are very soft and once plucked they will begin to wilt. For the best results, you’ll want to pluck, make and give the lei in the same day. If that’s not possible, spritz water on the lei, put it in a plastic bag and keep it in the fridge until it’s ready.

If you don’t have a lei needle (a thin long needle with a hook at the end), beading needles will do the trick. They’re thin enough to fit through small beads, but strong enough to last through several lei making sessions. Here’s one that I really like since the eyes are extra big.


As for the twine, you can either use fishing line (4 to 8 pound test is recommended) or the preferred lei twine. Any twine around 10 pound test will work fine like this one:

With your twine, measure out your length, add 6 inches, then double it. If  you’re unsure, add a few extra inches so you can just cut away the extra when you’re satisfied with the amount of flowers. Cut the twine, slide it through the eye of the needle until the twine is equal on both ends, then tie a double knot about 4 inches away from the loose ends of the twine.

How to make a lei using fresh plumeria flowers.

Courtesy of HTA

Start by threading the needle through the middle of the plumeria (petal side first) and keep pushing through the stem. Push the plumeria down, but don’t move it on to the twine just yet. Take your second plumeria and do the same thing until it’s snug behind your first flower. Be careful to not smash the flowers too closely together or you’ll break open the flowers. When you have 3 to 5 flowers in a row on your needle (this depends on your skill and the size of your hand), gently hold onto all of them together in your fist and bring them down to the bottom of your twine. By bringing them down in groups, you protect their orientation and also ensure that they aren’t pushing against each other to the point that they’ll crack open from the pressure.

How to make a lei using fresh plumeria flowers.

Courtesy of HTA

Once you feel like you have enough flowers (usually a regular-sized lei will have about 45 to 50 flowers), cut about 4 inches after your last flower. Now you should have loose twine on both ends of your lei. Tie the two loose ends together and you have your fresh plumeria lei made by yours truly!

How to make a lei using fresh plumeria flowers.

Courtesy of HTA

Now that you know how to make a lei, let me know how it went! I’d love to hear how your plumeria lei turned out. Still confused? Check out this quick tutorial for a visual of how to make a simple plumeria lei. Questions? Just let me know!

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