Easy Orchid Lei Making Tutorial to Create Leis for Luau or Hawaii Theme Wedding

In Hawaii leis are worn for special celebrations and given anytime as a symbol of love and/or appreciation.


It is easy to create fresh orchid leis to wear for a Luau or Hawaii theme wedding!
Making leis is a fun activity for guests of all ages at a Hawaii themed celebrations!

Photos of people we have assisted in enjoying or sharing fresh orchid leis

The variegated purple dendrobium orchid bloom is a popular flower used in fresh leis in Hawaii because it is  beautiful and durable. This hearty bloom handles body heat and being worn for long periods of time well along with good longevity.

Many styles of lei can be created from dendrobium orchid blooms using the whole orchid head or just the petals. Variegated purple, white, lavender, and green are the common colors dendrobium orchids used in fresh leis.

To make your own fresh leis you will need:

  • Loose orchids (or other blooms)
  • Lei needle
  • Lei string

Leis can be worn on the neck, head, wrist, and ankles!

For neck leis use 90 inches of string and about 50 orchids.


For head leis take the head measurement and add 8 inches.
Then double that for the length of the string and use about 25 orchids.


For wrist and ankle leis use 16 inches of string and about 10-15 orchids.

STEP 1: Remove the stems from the orchids.

 STEP 2: Fold the string in the middle so there is an even amount on each side. Hook lei string onto lei needle in the middle.

STEP 3: Hold the needle close to the sharp end and stick needle through the orchid throat and out through the butt end of the orchid.

STEP 4: Pull orchid onto the needle. Repeat the process. Slide the orchids down the needle as you add them. This allows you to maintain control of the lei needle and arrange the orchids.

STEP 5: Once you have several orchids arranged on the lei needle then slide the group of orchids down onto the lei string.

WARNING: Be careful not to slide the orchids all the way off the string.

Continue the lei making process until you have about 2 inches of lei string left on each end to tie the lei closed. Neck leis can be tied closed once completed. Head, wrist, and ankle leis should be tied when putting them on to wear so they fit perfectly. Proudly wear your fresh orchid lei or give it to your sweetie!

Optional, add a bow at the closure of the neck lei or for head, wrist, and ankle leis you can tie on ribbon onto the string ends fancy up how the leis tie closed.

Lei Making is fun for all ages!

If you would like to share photos from your Luau or Hawaii theme wedding email them to aloha@alohafriends.com

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Send us pictures from your Luau or Hawaii Theme Wedding!

If you would like to share photos from your Luau or Hawaii Theme Wedding/Vow Renewal please email them to

Email: aloha@alohafriends.com

Note: all photos submitted become property of A Friend in the Islands and may be used for promotion.

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All content on the website was written by Mike or Kim Crinella. All photographs on the website were taken by Mike or Kim Crinella, were submitted to A Friend in the Islands by a website user, or were Public Domain Fair Use at the time of publication.