Lei making: Fresh flower plumeria lei

A man smiles proudly and holds up a shaka; he wears a fresh flower lei around his neck.

May day is lei day in Hawaii, but it’s not the only time of year that you can make one. Lei is the Hawaiian word for garland, wreath; or a necklace made of flowers, leaves, shells, feathers etc. Gifting someone a lei can be a fantastic way to show appreciation, celebrate special occasions and achievements, or just to brighten their day. There are a variety of ways to make lei’s, using different materials and weaving styles. Today we will be showing you how to make a fresh flower lei in the kui style (piercing method).

This activity is accessible for those who are blind or visually impaired. This activity is enjoyed by people of all ages. If you or someone you know has plumeria trees in your yard and have an abundance of flowers, lei making is a great way to put those extra flowers to use. The result is a beautiful adornment that can be appreciated by all who can see or smell it.

Supplies needed:

  • Lei making needle or a long upholstery needle
  • Cotton thread or fishing line
  • Lots of plumerias (or your choice of fresh flower)
  • Scissors


  1. Start by measuring a piece of thread that is the length of your outstretched arms beginning from one fingertip to the other. Cut and thread through your Lei needle tying a knot.
  2. Use your lei needle to pierce the center of the flower and push through gently until you can pull the needle out of bottom of the stem. Careful not to break the flower.

 (Tip: If you have a lot of flowers and want to have a fuller looking lei, you can trim the ends of the plumeria stem)

  1. Repeat step 2 until your lei filled to your desired length, and then cut and tie your lei.
  2. Wear this beautiful lei that you’ve just made or gift it to someone.

Do you want to try this activity at home? We’ve listed a link to where you can find some of the supplies used down below. When you purchase these items through Amazon Smile, and select Guide Dogs of Hawaii as your supporting organization, a portion of the profits get donated to our organization so we can continue to provide resources for our blind and visually impaired clients.


If you enjoyed this tactile and accessible activity, and Tag us on social media so we can see how your leis turned out. You can tag us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/guidedogsofhawaii  and @guidedogsofhawaii on Instagram.

A man sits at a table stringing plumeria flowers into a lei. He holds a long needle in one hand and a flower in the other.

Help Guide Dogs of Hawaii serve the blind community in HawaiiSupport