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Thursday, May 9, 2013

How to Make a One-Straw Lei

As everyone knows, leis are a big part of Pacific Island culture. I love leis; I find all of them to be so beautiful! There are tons of different leis, some take a lot of time and effort to put together and some are really simple to put together. 

In the season of Mother's Day and Graduations, I thought it would be perfect to share how to make a simple One-Straw Lei. These are easy to make, they look beautiful when you're done, and the best part is they are made of yarn so they last forever! 

 I have seen these around since I started living here in Hawaii in 2007, but it wasn't until Matt's graduation that I became really interested in figuring out how to make them. 

I was sitting by a friend of mine during graduation and she was busting out these one-straw leis like nobody's business. I think she made three during graduation. I watched what she did and was like, okay I can do this. 

And I did! My mother-in-law would be proud. 

Here's how to make your own One-Straw Lei. 

What's great about one-straw leis is that you probably have most of this stuff around your house.

You will need: 
Eyelash yarn - you can use up to three different colors at one time. I think using more would just look a little too crazy, and be really thick. For my leis, I used two colors. Here in Hawaii, you can find eyelash yarn at Longs, but on the mainland you could probably find it at your local craft store. If you want to shop on-line you can click here.  There is long and short yarn and regular and sparkle yarn. Just find what you like. One lei will use one whole spool of each color. 

Straw (I used a McDonald's straw because they are wider.) 
Kukui Nuts (optional- if you do this you will need a needle) 

Start with threading the ribbon up through the straw. Once it's through the other side, tape the ribbon to the straw. 

Now tie the ribbon to the straw, opposite to the side you taped. I tied a double knot to really secure it to the straw. 

Now you just take the ribbon and twirl it around the straw. You do that all the way to the top of the straw. *Make sure you don't twirl the yarn too tight on the straw. 

When your yarn is at the top of the straw, push it down to the bottom of the straw. You will keep twirling and pushing the whole time. You will get to the point where you have pushed the yarn off the straw onto the ribbon. That is okay, just make sure some of the twirled yarn is still on the straw. 

This is what it will start to look like as you progress. {Hopefully your yarn won't change colors.} You just keep going until a) you have the length you want or b) you use all your yarn.

*If you want to add more yarn just tie the end of the old yarn to the start of the new yarn. 

When you have the length you want push all the yarn off the straw. Un-tape the ribbon from the straw and pull the ribbon free. Now you can either tie the ribbon at the top, or string some kukui nuts to the ribbon. 

Thread the kukui nut to each side of the ribbon. 

And there you go! You have a one-straw lei! 

You can make a one-straw lei in a little less than an hour, and under $7. 

This would make the best gift for your mom on Mother's Day. Or get the school colors of your grad and make a straw lei for graduation day! 

If you feel like this is too easy or you don't like the look there are also two and three straw leis for you to try your hand at. 

If the pictures weren't enough, check out this video. 



  1. Thank you very much for the post. I was wondering how to mix two colors. You post was very easy to follow and understand. Great job!


  2. Great idea for graduation! I will tie some origami dollar bills in the shape of a leaf to add to the lei. Thank you for the pictures and clear instructions.


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