With most of May and June being graduation season, a really popular way to show your grad how proud you are is to gift them with a lei. Lei-giving is a Hawai’ian tradition that has also become popular for special occasions such as graduations.
The history of handing out leis goes back to when voyagers traveled from Tahiti to Hawai’i in canoes. These voyagers sailed day and night with the stars as their map. When they arrived at the Hawai’ian Islands, these settlers began their tradition of making and giving out leis.
While you can often purchase a pre-made lei from florists, it is also quite simple to make them yourself. If you do not have access to the more exotic flowers used for leis in Hawai’i (such as plumerias or hibiscus), popular flower options for graduation leis include carnations, orchids, daisies or even roses.
A freshwater lei is simple to make and requires these items:
- 1. A long needle (embroidery needles work perfectly)
- 2. Thin string (i.e., dental floss, ribbon, fishing line, etc.)
- 3. Your flower of choice
How to make your own freshwater lei:
First you gather around 40 to 50 flowers of your choice. Since the petals can be delicate you should have them resting in a cooler area on top of a plastic bag. Next, take your thin string and cut off around 30 to 40 inches depending on the preferred length for your grad. Once you’ve cut your string, make sure to knot one end a few times to act as a stopper for when you thread your flowers onto the lei. You will also need to leave some extra string below the knot to connect both ends of your lei. On the other end, tie your string to the needle you have picked out.
Now it’s almost time to start adding flowers to your lei! Before you start to string your flowers, make sure you cut the stems off. Once you’ve done this, you can start stringing each flower onto the lei. Be delicate with your flowers and slowly move them down one by one. Once you’ve added all your flowers, leave a little extra string before your needle and cut off the needle from your lei. Tie together both ends and you have yourself a grad lei!
You can make your grad multiple leis and even mix it up using different colored flowers. It’s really up to you. If you aren’t giving your homemade lei to your grad right away, you can store them loosely in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper drawer of your fridge.
And there you go! The perfect DIY idea for graduation season. This idea is a great way to incorporate flowers into your grad’s life. This is a time for celebration and gift-giving.
(We’d love to see how you use #AvasFlowers to make your special moment extra-special. Share your pictures on social using “#AvasFlowers” for a chance to be featured on our social channels!)