**This tutorial is intended for personal use only.**
It is lei making time here in the islands and the store shelves are bulging with supplies. The months prior to Lei Day and graduation is when you will find lei making enthusiasts hard at work.
In the last decade or two, lei made from ribbon, rattail cord, and yarn have exploded onto the scene. Although islanders have made lei using these materials before, the resurgence of interest in these materials brought out new design and lei like no one had seen before. They became very popular, and with it, promoted the writing of many innovative lei making how-to books.
Today, lei are made from almost any medium you can think of. This is the time of year when creativity abounds. It is always fun to create unique lei, perhaps something new that has never been seen before.
When pulled back to expose it's foundation, you can see that this lei was made from grosgrain ribbon and several colors of eyelash yarn.
Local nuts and berries continue to be popular lei making material. The kukui nut lei is quite masculine and is often worn by males.
There are so many fabulous artificial lei designs that mimic fresh flowers. The best part of having an everlasting lei is that you are left with a meaningful momento of the occasion and one that you can wear over and over again.
I sometimes give a fresh flower lei to go along with an artificial one because there really isn't anything better than the sweet smell of fresh flowers around your neck.
This is a fresh cigar flower lei made from over 2000 flowers from the Cupea Ignea shrub.
I would like to share a very basic ribbon lei design, one that mimics a double carnation with roses. This is a very feminine lei and is perfect for a young female.
You will need fifteen, 10-yard spools of 1/4-inch ribbon plus several more yards of a contrasting color for the bow. You will also need twenty, 3/4" paper roses, a ruler, pen, sewing needle, and quilting thread.
Remove the ribbon from the spool. Lightly tap the ribbon with the tip of a ball-point pen at 2-inch intervals. Repeat this for all 15 rolls. This is the mark that you will be following when assembling the lei.
I find that marking all my ribbon prior to sewing is very time efficient.
To prepare the roses, sew through the base of 4 roses and tie the threads together to form a ring. You will need 5 rings consisting of 4 roses each.
Thread your needle with a double strand of quilting thread measuring approximately 55-inches in length. Place a knot at the end of the thread.
Take the first bundle of ribbon and cut it in half making two 5 yard pieces. Set one aside for use in the last segment. Begin the first segment by taking a running stitch in and out of the 5-yard piece of ribbon, using the markings as your guide. (Place your needle down through one marking and up through the next.)
Push the ribbon to the end of the thread, stopping 4 inches from the knot. Be sure to really pack the ribbon close together. Failure to do this may leave gaps of bare thread once the ribbon settles. Add another 10 yards of ribbon in the same manner.
Once you have 15 yards of ribbon on the thread, add a ring of roses. Catch the base of one of the roses with the needle as you pull the needle through the center of the ring. This will secure the roses and will eliminate shifting.
The next 4 segments each have 30 yards of ribbon followed by a ring of roses. The sixth and final segment consists of 15 yards of ribbon.
Once you have completed adding all of the ribbon and roses, tie the lei together with a secure knot. Adding a small drop of fabric or crazy glue to the knot will prevent it from coming apart. Clip off any extra thread.
Tie a pretty bow over the knot and add some beads to the ribbon tails if you'd like.
A lovely lei for a special occasion.