How To Make Leis

Whether you're having a Hawaiian themed party or you just love colorful leis you'll enjoy making them. Here's how:

Planning a Hawaiian theme for a party? Maybe you just love leis and want to make some to hang around the house? No matter what the reason for the leis you'll have a lot of fun making or wearing them. It doesn't matter if you use real flowers or silk ones. The only difference is whether or not you want the leis to last practically forever. Real floral leis are fragrant and gorgeous but will die soon after they are made into the necklace. For a party or a one-night affair the real leis are the most impressive.

Silk leis are also beautiful and last much longer than the real flowers. Silk flower leis are best for giving as a gift that someone will keep awhile or for decorating around your home.

After purchasing silk flowers or gathering and cleaning real ones lay them out on the table where you'll be working. It's a good idea to keep real flowers cool and damp if possible to keep them from wilting as long as possible. When using real flowers make the leis only a few hours before giving them.

Thread a needle with a thread about 34 inches long. Tie a knot, then another then another, all on top of one another. So, your thread should have a huge knot, not several small ones. Use nylon thread, fishing twine or another nearly unbreakable thread. Regular cotton thread isn't recommended but will do in a pinch.

If you have flowers in your garden it will be less expensive to use them than to use store-bought or silk flowers. Only certain flowers are appropriate for making leis. Orchids are one great selection of flower for leis. Roses, however beautiful, will not work when making leis. Pinch the end of the stem off of the orchids. This should leave an opening for the needle to pass through while stringing. Begin threading flowers from underneath through to the top of the flower. Continue adding another flower and still another until the necklace is full of flowers. You can do various designs, changing color schemes and even placing beads in between the flowers if you want. If the needle gets gummed-up while stringing flowers clean it with a cotton ball and rubbing alcohol.

Silk flowers are done a little differently. You can't simply pinch off the end to reveal a hole. Silk flowers usually have a plastic stem with a small plastic ball on the end to hold the petals in place. Clip the ball or plastic piece in the middle to disassemble the flower. The flower will be in several pieces. Reassemble them according to how they looked originally. Because the hole in the flowers are very large you'll have to push them closely together on the thread to keep them from spinning around.

To tie the lei off push the needle through the large knot and pull the lei into a circle. Push the needle through the knot again then through the forming loop. Do this once again and clip. Keep real flowers refrigerated or cool until needed.

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