Instructions for a Ribbon Lei

In Hawaii, individuals exchange leis to celebrate important events and holidays or to show respect. Traditionally, lei makers are seen as weaving their spirit into their leis. When you make a lei and give it to someone dear to you, you are giving them a piece of yourself. Although most leis contain fresh flowers, woven ribbon leis are becoming more popular. These leis are cheaper to produce and last much longer than leis made with fresh flowers.

Cut 6 yards of each ribbon color.

Place one ribbon on top of the other. Grasp the ribbons in your left hand approximately 6 inches from one of the ends. Tie a knot by taking the end in your right hand, making a loop and passing the end through the loop. Turn the knot so that the creased side faces down, long ends of the ribbons drifting away from you.

Place your right hand on the knot. Take the bottom ribbon in your left hand and make a 2-inch long loop. The loop should begin near the knot, with the long end of the ribbon hanging to the left.

Hold the loop and the knot in your left hand. With your right hand, pull the ribbon on top to the right, then behind your first loop. Switch hands so that you are holding the knot and loop with your right hand.

Make a loop with the second ribbon color by pulling the ribbon gently with your thumb and index finger, with your thumb on top. Flip your fingers over so that your index finger is on top. You should now have a loop of ribbon. Push this loop through the first loop. Pull the end of the first ribbon color to tighten the loop. Repeat this process, alternating hands and colors until you have about 6 inches of ribbon left.

Make one final loop. Pull the opposite color ribbon directly through the loop to secure it. Pull on the knot to tighten it.

Tie the two ends of the lei together so that it forms a complete circle. You can attach a flower or a fan to hide the knot.


As you are making the lei, smooth out the ribbons periodically. Twists in the ribbon will ruin the look of your lei.

About the Author

Kat Black is a professional writer currently completing her doctorate in musicology/ She has won several prestigious awards for her research, and has had extensive training in classical music and dance.