How to Make a Carnation Lei

"Lei" is the Hawaiian word for "wreath" or "garland." While this flower wreath is popular throughout Hawaii, they are also given and warn throughout the Polynesian islands. The Lei is traditionally given to someone upon arrival or departure. Lei are often given as gifts for graduations, bridal showers, birthdays, funerals and weddings. They are used to express affection, and should be disposed of by placing flowers back in the earth or being hung to dry, instead of thrown in a trash can. Leis can be made with many flowers, plants and natural materials, and they can be braided, twisted, sewn and coiled. If you want to give a thoughtful token of your affection, then you can create a lei from carnations in the color of your choice. Learn how to make a carnation lei.

Steps

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    Buy about 60 carnations in 1 or many colors. You can pre-order carnations from a flower shop to ensure you will have enough flowers to create as many leis as you want.
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    Cut the carnation heads from the stems. Leave 14 inch (0.6 cm) of a stem remaining on each carnation, or the flower will fall apart when strung.
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    Place the flowers in the order you would like them on your garland.
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    Measure a 6 foot (1.8 m) length of strong string. Make sure you test the thread to ensure it withstands some force.
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    Choose the longest embroidery needle that you can find. Thread the needle and pull the 2 ends so that they meet.
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    Knot the ends 2 or 3 times. Make sure there is a large knot at the end, which will stop the flowers from falling off.
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    Take your first flower and hold it on the sides of the petals. Stick the embroidery needle horizontally through the green "hip" where the flower connects to the stem.
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    Pull the flower along the thread until it reaches the knotted end of the thread.
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    Thread each carnation the same way until you reach the end of your string, near the needle.
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    Cut the thread from the needle and hold the 2 ends together. Gather the other end of the lei.
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    Knot the ends together 2 or 3 times. Tug to make sure your knots will hold.
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    Give a lei to someone on a special occasion. Since World War II, leis have often been given along with a kiss.

Tips

  • Leis are often given with a slight bow. The recipient is allowed to take the lei and put it over the head. It can be considered rude to raise your hands above another person's head.
  • This type of lei is called a "Kui." There are approximately 7 other types of Hawaiian leis that are made in different styles with other materials. The "Hilo" lei is made by twisting 2 different strands of flowers together, in a double helix.

Things You'll Need

  • Carnations
  • Table
  • Embroidery needle
  • Strong thread
  • Scissors


Article Info

Categories: Flower Arranging and Floral Art