How to Create a Stunning Haku Lei Easily

To make a haku lei, gather fresh flowers and greens, trim them and braided them with cotton twine. The haku lei, also known as a head lei or crown, is a hawaiian tradition that symbolizes love, respect, and honor.

Hawaiians wear it on special occasions like weddings and graduations, and it often represents the connection between the person wearing it and the environment surrounding them. The lei, made of fragrant and colorful plants, is arranged in a ring shape, and it’s worn on the head with the braided strands sitting on the forehead.

Creating a haku lei is a beautiful and meaningful way to celebrate hawaiian culture, as well as a fun and creative way to express one’s own style. In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to make a haku lei.

How to Create a Stunning Haku Lei Easily


Understanding The Haku Lei

The hawaiian lei is a symbol of love, respect, and appreciation. The haku lei, in particular, is a traditional hawaiian lei made by braiding or weaving flowers, leaves, and ferns together. Here is everything you need to know about understanding the haku lei, from its definition to its history, and the different types of haku lei.

Definition Of Haku Lei

The haku lei is a hawaiian lei that is typically worn as a crown or headband. Unlike other leis that are typically strung together using a needle and thread, the haku lei is made using braided or woven techniques. The word “haku” means “to braid” or “to weave” in hawaiian, which perfectly describes how this type of lei is made.

History Of Haku Lei

The haku lei has a rich history that dates back to ancient hawaii. Hawaiian women would make haku lei to wear to special occasions like weddings, graduations, and other important ceremonies. The haku lei was, and still is regarded as a symbol of love, affection, and respect.

The materials used to make the haku lei were often picked fresh from the forest and included native flowers and ferns.

Types Of Haku Lei

There are several types of haku lei depending on the materials used. Here are a few of the most popular types:

  • The maile haku lei: Made from the fragrant maile vine, which is endemic to hawaii, and is often worn by grooms during weddings.
  • The kukui nut haku lei: Made from kukui nuts, which are native to hawaii, and are believed to bring good luck and enlightenment.
  • The plumeria haku lei: Made from plumeria flowers, which are the most popular flower used in leis for their sweet fragrance and vibrant colors.

The haku lei is a beautiful and meaningful tradition in hawaii. The haku lei is a symbol of love, respect, and appreciation and was historically made using native flowers and ferns. With the knowledge of its history and types, you can now appreciate the haku lei even more when making one.

Materials And Tools Needed To Make Haku Lei

Choosing The Right Flowers

When making a haku lei, it is important to choose the right flowers. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Choose fresh flowers: Whether you are picking flowers from your garden or buying them from a store, make sure they are fresh. Wilted or browned flowers will not look good in a lei.
  • Choose flowers based on color and meaning: Depending on the occasion, you may want to choose flowers that represent certain colors or meanings. For example, red flowers symbolize love and passion, while yellow flowers represent friendship and happiness.
  • Choose flowers that will hold up well: Certain flowers may wilt quickly in a lei. Look for sturdy flowers like orchids, roses, and plumeria.

Selecting The Right Foliage

In addition to flowers, foliage can also be used in a haku lei. Here are some things to consider when selecting foliage:

  • Choose fresh foliage: Just like flowers, the foliage you use should be fresh. Wilted or browned leaves will not look good in a lei.
  • Choose the right type of foliage: Different types of foliage can add texture and color to a lei. Consider using leaves from ti plants, ferns, or eucalyptus.
  • Mix and match foliage with flowers: Mixing foliage with flowers is a great way to add variety to your lei.

Other Necessary Materials And Tools

Aside from flowers and foliage, there are a few other materials and tools you will need to make a haku lei. Here are some key items to gather:

  • Floral wire: Floral wire will help hold the lei together. Make sure to choose a thin wire that is easy to bend.
  • Scissors: You will need a sharp pair of scissors to cut the flowers and foliage.
  • Tape: Use clear tape to secure the ends of the lei.
  • Ribbon: Ribbon can be tied to the ends of the lei to create a bow and add an extra decorative touch.

By following these guidelines for choosing flowers, selecting the right foliage, and gathering necessary materials and tools, you will be well on your way to creating a beautiful haku lei.


Preparation Before Making Haku Lei

Making a haku lei is a traditional hawaiian practice of flower lei making. It is a beautiful art form that creates a colorful and fragrant garland for decorating around your neck or in your home. However, when making a haku lei, it is essential to start the preparation process correctly.

Here are the key points of the preparation before making haku lei.

Preparing The Flowers And Foliage

Before starting with the haku lei process, preparing the essential elements, i. e. , flowers and foliage, is crucial. Below are a few key points to be kept in mind while preparing the flowers and foliage:

  • Firstly, choose the flowers and foliage that would suit your personalized haku lei. Take into account the color scheme, the size and look of the flowers, and the aroma.
  • Cut the flowers and foliage in a uniform size of 2-3 inches long, keeping each stem intact.
  • Keep a bowl of fresh water handy to soak and store these flowers to preserve their freshness.

Cleaning The Workspace

The preparatory process includes cleaning the workspace before starting the haku lei process. Here are a few key points to keep in mind while cleaning your workspace:

  • Cleanliness is an absolute necessity in this process to avoid any unwanted germs and bacteria. Ensure that all the surfaces and tools are cleaned and disinfected before proceeding.
  • Keep a roll of paper towels or a clean dish towel handy to wipe off excess water from the leaves and flowers.
  • Keep a waste bin near your workspace to avoid any clutter.

Setting Up The Necessary Tools

Apart from cleaning the workspace and preparing the flowers and foliage, it is equally important to set up all the necessary tools and equipment. Here are a few key points to keep in mind while setting up your tools for making your personalized haku lei:

  • The bare minimums tools needed are scissors, floral wire or tape, and ribbon or string.
  • Ensure to have a wide variety of flowers and foliage at hand that would complement each other well.
  • Keep a firm grip on the flowers and foliage while constructing the lei, and be gentle while handling them.

Now that we have covered the preparatory process, we can start constructing our personalized haku lei. Keep these key points in mind while making the lei to create a beautiful masterpiece. Happy lei making!

Steps To Create A Stunning Haku Lei

Start With The Foliage

Creating a beautiful haku lei requires meticulous attention to detail, starting with the foliage. Here are the key steps:

  • Choose your greenery: Select leafy greens that are fresh and pliable, such as ti leaves, ferns, and eucalyptus.
  • Cut your greenery: Use scissors or garden snips to cut your greenery into manageable pieces. Make sure each piece is at least six inches long.
  • Position your greenery: Take a leafy piece and lay it horizontally along the base of your head, so that one end is on each side. Bend both ends upward to create an arch.
  • Secure your greenery: Use floral wire to twist and secure the greenery arch to the base of your haku lei. Repeat, alternating the direction of the arches until you have a full circle of greenery. Make sure everything is tightly secured.

Adding The Flowers

Now it’s time to add some color to your lei! Here are the key steps:

  • Choose your flowers: Select flowers that are in season, fresh and will match with your greenery. Good options include roses, orchids, and plumerias.
  • Prepare your flowers: Cut the stems of your chosen flowers to approximately three inches. Remove any leaves that would be below the wire.
  • Position your flowers: Begin wiring the flowers onto the greenery base, combining the flowers and greens to create a loose, balanced distribution. Start with one area and move on around the lei, until all the greenery is covered.
  • Fill in gaps: If you have gaps in your lei, add additional flowers to balance things out. Make sure the amount of greenery and flowers is equal and balanced, so you create a cohesive, symmetrical look.

Weaving The Lei

Now it’s time to weave everything together. Here are the key steps:

  • Gather your excess wire: Collect all of the wire that is not used for flowers or greenery and place it in your non-dominant hand.
  • Use the wire to latch onto the foliage: With your dominant hand, take hold of the wire at the base of the lei and use it to bind and reinforce each of the leafy arches. Make sure to loop under the wire from the previous arches as you make your way around your lei.
  • Weave in the flowers: Begin with one flower and bind it to the greenery base. Move on to the next flower, making sure to weave it in as if it is a part of the foliage. Keep using the wire to weave everything together as you work around the circle.
  • Repeat: Continue adding foliage and flowers until you have completed the entire circle. When you get to the end, use the remaining wire to bind the last flower.

Finishing Touches

These final steps will bring your haku lei to life:

  • Trim excess wire: Use scissors to snip off any excess wire, making sure not to ruin the shape of the lei.
  • Seal the stem ends: Use a little bit of floral adhesive or floral tape to seal the stem ends of your flowers.
  • Refrigerate: Preserve your haku lei by placing it in a bag and storing it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to wear it.

Tips On Creating A Symmetrical And Cohesive Haku Lei

  • Choose a theme: Select flowers and greenery that match and enhance each other, rather than clashing.
  • Measure accurately: Use a measuring tape to get the exact length you need and ensure the lei is tight and secure.
  • Be patient: Take time to create a consistent and even lei. Symmetry is key!
  • Practice: Don’t be afraid to experiment and make mistakes to perfect your technique.
  • Ask for help: Enlist a friend or family member to help you tie the lei and give feedback on your work.

Adding Personal Touches To Your Haku Lei

How to make a haku lei: adding personal touches to your haku lei

When it comes to creating a stunning haku lei, adding unique personal touches can make it all the more special. Whether it’s incorporating sentimental items, additional embellishments, or finding a creative way to present it, there are several ways to bring your haku lei to the next level.

Here are some suggestions:

Adding Ribbons Or Beads

  • Ribbons and beads can add a pop of color and texture to your lei. To attach, stick a wire through the center of the ribbon or bead and then weave the wire into the base of the lei.
  • Vary the size of the ribbons or beads to add depth and dimension to the finished product.
  • Use ribbons or beads to match the colors of the flowers in your lei or to add contrast for a dynamic look.

Including Sentimental Items

  • Adding sentimental items to your haku lei can make it a special memento for the receiver. Consider using items such as seashells, feathers, or small trinkets with sentimental value.
  • While attaching the items, keep the thickness of the strand consistent throughout the lei to ensure a uniform look.
  • If using natural materials, make sure they are securely attached and preserved to prevent them from falling off or breaking.

Unique Ways To Present The Haku Lei

  • Arrange the lei in a circular shape to create a traditional haku lei or create a unique shape, such as a heart, to add a personal touch.
  • Attach the lei to a hat or headscarf for a fun and functional twist.
  • If you want to gift the lei, consider wrapping it around a woven basket or framing it in a shadow box for a keepsake that will last a lifetime.

Remember, the best haku lei is one that embodies your personal style and creativity. Experiment with different materials and techniques until you find the perfect combination for a lei that reflects your unique identity.

Frequently Asked Questions On How To Make A Haku Lei

What Is A Haku Lei And What Is It Made Of?

A haku lei is a head wreath made from fresh flowers, greenery, and leaves. It is made by braiding flowers and greenery onto a flexible base made of lauhala or raffia.

What Occasions Would You Wear A Haku Lei For?

A haku lei is traditionally worn for special occasions like weddings, graduations, hula performances, and other celebrations. They are also popular for photoshoots or just as a way to add a pop of color to your outfit.

How Do You Make A Haku Lei Step By Step?

To make a haku lei, you will need a flexible base, fresh flowers, and greenery. Start by measuring and braiding the base, then add the flowers and greenery in a pattern as you go. The full instructions can be found on our blog.

What Types Of Flowers And Greenery Can You Use For A Haku Lei?

A haku lei can be made using a variety of flowers such as orchids, roses, plumeria, and carnations. Greenery like ferns, ti leaves, and maile leaves are also commonly used. Choose flowers that complement each other and provide contrast for the best effect.

How Long Does A Haku Lei Last?

A haku lei made with fresh flowers will typically last for a day or two with proper care. Keep it refrigerated and mist it with water to ensure the flowers stay fresh. You can also make a haku lei with fake flowers or dried flowers for a longer-lasting option.

Can You Make A Haku Lei With Artificial Flowers?

Yes, you can make a haku lei with artificial flowers. This is a great option if you want to keep the lei for longer or if fresh flowers are not available. Simply substitute fresh flowers with silk or foam flowers and follow the same method as making a haku lei with fresh flowers.


Crafting a beautiful and meaningful haku lei is a perfect way to connect with hawaiian culture and tradition. This special flower crown represents a symbol of love, beauty, and respect for nature. With the right materials, tools, and techniques, anyone can make a stunning haku lei to wear or gift to someone special.

Remember to choose flowers that hold significance and carry your intention. Take your time and put your energy into each step of the process to create a beautiful and unique haku lei. Share your knowledge and experience with others to expand the appreciation for this beautiful art form.

Embrace the mindfulness and gratitude that come with creating something by hand and cherish the beauty of your finished haku lei. Mahalo nui loa for joining us on this journey of hawaiian culture, tradition, and art.


Latest articles


Related articles

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here