How to Make Hawaiian Leis for Kids

pineapple and lei image by William Berry from

Leis are the traditional way of saying "Hello" or "Welcome" in Hawaii. They are simple for children to make; they can create one using paper and straws, or they can use real or artificial flowers. Make leis to prepare for a trip to Hawaii, or in preparation for a Hawaiian-themed party. Children can also create leis during a party as a favor to take home with them. Leis require everyday craft items that can be found at home.

Create your own lei out of paper, real or artificial flowers.
pineapple and lei image by William Berry from

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Measuring Tape
  • Lei Needle Or Sewing Needle
  • String
  • Plastic Drinking Straws
  • Orchids
  • Pencil
  • Single-Hole Punch
  • Construction Paper

Paper Flower Lei

Trace 20 to 30 flower shapes onto construction paper. Use many different colors of paper, and make several different shapes and types of flowers. Make sure each flower has a match, so they can be glued together.

Trace matching leaves on green construction paper. Again, make sure you have an even number, and each leaf has a match.

Cut out the flowers. Cut out the green leaf shapes as well.

Lay the matching flowers and leaves on top of each other. Punch a hole in the middle of the flowers and leaves with a single-hole punch.

Cut plastic straws into 2-inch pieces.

Cut a piece of string long enough to fit in a loop around the child’s necklace, allowing it to hang to the middle of the chest.

String a double flower onto the string, followed by a leaf. Add a piece of straw. Repeat with another flower and leaf, followed by another straw.

Repeat the pattern, finishing when you have about 2 inches left on either end of the string.

Tie the two ends together in a double knot.

Real Flower Lei

Gather roughly 50 loose orchid flowers. If the flowers still have the stems, cut them off carefully.

Cut a piece of string roughly 90 inches long.

Thread a lei needle with the string. Pull the string until the needle is in the center of the piece of string. If you do not have a long lei needle, you can use a shorter sewing needle.

Push the needle through the bottom of a flower up through the center and out the top of the flower. Slide the flower down the needle and onto the string.

Continue adding flowers onto the string until it is full, except for roughly 2 inches of loose string on either end. Tie the two ends of string together in a double knot.