How To Make a Carnation Flower Lei

Exotic Look With Carnations
Flower leis are a beautiful tradition in the Polynesian culture.  In Hawaii, the flower lei is the first symbol of welcome as soon as new visitors arrive.  The scent of flower leis are heavenly.  These can easily be recreated for a backyard Luau or for a special Luau held at a local club.  Carnations have generous flower petals, which is most desirable in making carnation flower leis. These are actually relatively simple to make.  Here are the items you will need:

  1. Strong cord.  This needn't be thick in diameter. But, it needs to be strong enough to hold the weight of the flowers.
  2. A large curved carpet needle or similar.  Be sure the eye of this needle is wide enough for the cord chosen.
  3. Approximately a dozen carnations, either fresh or silk.  If you choose fresh carnations, the carnation flower leis will need to be kept in a refrigerator to keep them from wilting.
  4. A large, clear workspace.
  5. Pruning shears to cut away large carnation stems.
  6. Dark green leaves or small carnation buds to separate each flower on carnation flower leis.

Putting carnation flower leis together is simple and can be completed quickly.  Simply thread a length of cord about 18 inches long through the eye of the curved needle. Place a small, loose knot at one end of the cord. This will stabilize the first stringing of the carnation flower leis.  Cut away carnation stems until only the small green petal base remains.  String the first carnation with the needle onto the cord.  Pull it until it is as close to the loose knot as possible.  Repeat with a dark green leaf next or a small carnation bud. Continue until the carnations fill the cord.  When this has been completed, loosen the knot and connect the two ends of the carnation flower leis by knotting tightly.  Repeat this procedure until all of the carnation flower leis have been completed. 

Note:  As each of the carnation flower leis are completed, place inside a plastic bag and refrigerate.  This isn't necessary for silk carnation flower leis.  The colors of the carnations can be varied so that each of the carnation flower leis has flowers in multiple colors like white, pink, coral or red.

These flower leis can also be used as a decorative waistband for a grass skirt.  Or, they can be doubled and used on the wrists and ankles to enhance the tropical look.


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