How to Make a Graduation Lei: Step-by-Step Guide

Graduation season is almost upon us, and one of the most unique and traditional ways to celebrate this momentous occasion is by wearing a graduation lei. A graduation lei is a beautiful garland of flowers or other materials draped around the neck, signifying achievement and respect. Making a graduation lei is not only a fun and creative activity, but it’s also a great way to show your love and support for the graduate. In this article, we’ll take you through the steps of making a graduation lei, along with some explanations and tips to ensure your lei-making experience is a success.

Steps how to make a graduation lei

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

The first step in making a graduation lei is to gather all of the materials you’ll need. You’ll need fresh flowers, foliage, ribbon, needles, and thread. Choose the flower and ribbon colors according to your graduate’s school colors or favorite preferences. It’s also important to select flowers that are sturdy yet easy to work with, like orchids, daisies, and carnations.

Step 2: Cut the Flowers & Foliage

The next step is to cut the flowers and foliage to the appropriate lengths. The general rule of thumb is to have each strand be around 18 inches long. Once cut, remove any thorns or leaves that might be in the way.

Step 3: Thread the Needle

Thread the needle with your choice of color. We recommend a color that matches the ribbon color.

Step 4: Choose a Starting Flower

Choose a flower to start with and tie a knot near the end of the strand. This will keep the flowers and foliage in place as you work. Remember to keep a 3 inch tail while you start.

Step 5: Add Flowers & Foliage

Begin to add flowers and foliage to the needle and thread. Alternate each flower with a piece of foliage to add texture and volume to the lei. Be sure to work with the grain of the leaves to ensure a smooth and seamless look.

Step 6: Knot the Flowers and Foliage

Once you’ve added enough flowers and foliage to the strand, tie another knot to hold everything in place.

Step 7: Repeat

Repeat steps 4-6 with the remaining strands until you have a pile of flower strands that you can arrange together.

Step 8: Braiding

Once all of the strands are ready, it’s time to braid them together. Begin by knotting three strands together, then start braiding away from you. Hold the braid securely in one hand and pull the strands tight as you braid.

Step 9: Adding flowers

As you braid, start adding in extra flower strands to add volume and texture to the lei. Be sure to knot it to the braided strands before braiding again.

Step 10: Finishing

Once you’ve reached the desired length, you can finish the lei by tying a knot at the end of the braid, tucking in the loose ends and adding a decorative bow.

Step 11: Ready to Wear

The final step is to place the lei around the graduate’s neck. Congratulations! You have successfully made a graduation lei!

Step 12: Care and Storage

Graduation leis are delicate and need to be stored in a cool and dry place to preserve their freshness. You can use a plastic bag or wrap with paper towel to help prevent them from drying out. Even better, you can put them in a fridge if not used within 24 hours.

Explanation how to make a graduation lei

The process of making a graduation lei may seem daunting at first, but with a little practice, anyone can master it. The key to making a beautiful lei is to choose the best materials, colors, and textures that complement each other. Leis can be made with fresh flowers, silk flowers, or even ribbon. The type of flowers you choose are usually based on personal preference or symbolic meaning.

When making a lei, it’s important to handle the flowers and foliage with care. The stems and leaves should be trimmed cleanly to avoid any injuries or damage. Be sure to remove any thorns or leaves that might get in the way while working.

It’s also important to choose the right type of string or ribbon for your lei. A thicker thread will hold up better when braiding, while a ribbon can add a decorative touch. When braiding, be sure to alternate between the flowers and foliage to create an interesting pattern and texture.

When wearing a lei, it’s customary to drape it over the shoulders and let it hang at the front. Leis can be worn with traditional or modern clothing, and add a special touch to any wardrobe.

Tips and Tricks how to make a graduation lei

Tip 1: Choose the right flowers

Choose the flowers that will last the longest. Some examples include orchids, carnations and daisies.

Tip 2: Use fishing line

Fishing line is stronger than thread and can endure the weight of many flowers.

Tip 3: Select complementary colors

Choose flowers and ribbon colors that complement each other to make the lei more aesthetically pleasing.

Tip 4: Add ribbons and trinkets

Add ribbons and trinkets for an extra flair of creativity to your lei.

Tip 5: Don’t rush

Take your time, it’s important to be patient and handle the flowers with care for best results.

Tip 6: Avoid bulky flowers

Avoid using bulky heavy flowers for the lei, as they tend to fall apart easily.

Tip 7: Size Matters

Ensure that each strand is the same length for a consistent look. You can use scissors or clippers to cut the stems and try measuring one strand against the other.

Tip 8: Fragrance

Add fragrance to your lei by sprinkling salt on the flowers before stringing them together.

Tip 9: Vary the flower types

Add variety to your lei by using different types of flowers such as jasmine, tuberose or plumeria.

Tip 10: Keep it Clean

Keep the workspace clean and tidy during their preparation. Any debris, residue or tools lying around can cause a mess and damage to the lei.

In conclusion, the process of making a graduation lei can be a fun and enjoyable experience. With proper materials, patience, and attention to detail, anyone can create a beautiful graduation lei that the graduate will treasure for years to come.

Advantages of Making a Graduation Lei

Making a graduation lei is a fun and creative way to celebrate the achievement of graduating. However, there are also many advantages and disadvantages to making a lei yourself instead of buying one from a store.


1. Personalization
2. Cost-effective
3. Unique design
4. Sentimental value
5. Opportunity to bond with loved ones who help make it
6. Learning a new craft skill
7. Control over materials used
8. Showcasing cultural heritage
9. Can be reused for future graduation ceremonies
10. Eco-friendly alternative to store-bought leis

Overall, making your own graduation lei can be a rewarding experience that allows you to showcase your creativity and personalize the celebration to your liking while also saving money and creating a sentimental keepsake.

Disadvantages of Making a Graduation Lei


1. Time-consuming
2. Requires a certain level of skill
3. Difficulty in finding materials
4. May not look as professional as store-bought leis
5. Risk of damage or breakage during the making process
6. Need to clean up after making the lei
7. May not match the dress code or theme of the graduation ceremony
8. Can become stressful if time is limited
9. Embarrassment if it does not turn out as planned
10. May not save money if materials are expensive or hard to find

Overall, there are both advantages and disadvantages to making your own graduation lei. It is important to weigh the pros and cons before deciding whether it is the best option for you.


1. What is a graduation lei?

A graduation lei is a custom in Hawaiian culture, where a garland or wreath made of flowers, leaves, and/or other materials are worn around your neck to celebrate a milestone like graduation.

2. What materials do I need?

You need flowers (like plumeria or orchids), dental floss, scissors, and greenery (like ferns or leaves) to make a graduation lei.

3. Where can I buy the materials?

You can buy the materials at a local florist, craft store, or even online.

4. How do I prepare the flowers?

Remove the stem and cut the flower off. Cut off any excess leaves.

5. How do I string the flowers together?

Tie one end of the dental floss into a knot, then string the flowers onto the floss one by one, spacing them out evenly.

6. What happens when the lei gets too long?

You can tie a knot in the floss and start a new string of flowers.

7. What if I’m not good at tying knots?

Practice makes perfect! Try using YouTube tutorials to help you learn different knots.

8. Can I personalize the lei?

Absolutely! You can add charms, small graduation caps, or even letters to spell out a special message.

9. How long does it take to make a graduation lei?

It depends on the length and complexity of your lei. It could take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours.

10. How do I store the graduation lei?

Store the lei in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. If it starts to wilt, you can spritz it with water or refrigerate it in a plastic bag.

11. Can I make a graduation lei for someone else?

Absolutely! It’s a great gift to give to someone who is graduating, especially if you personalize it with their favorite flowers or colors.

12. What if I make a mistake?

Don’t worry! It’s all a learning process. You can always take it apart and start over or adjust it to fix the mistake.

13. Is it okay to wear a graduation lei to the ceremony?

It depends on the school’s dress code and cultural traditions. Some schools allow students to wear leis during graduation ceremonies, while others may not. Check with your school to find out their guidelines.

Conclusion how to make a graduation lei

Congratulations on your upcoming graduation! Besides your gown and cap, have you thought about a beautiful Hawaiian lei to celebrate your achievement? Making a graduation lei by yourself is not only a great way to express your creativity but it can also save you a few bucks. In this article, we have shared a simple and easy-to-follow guide on how to make a graduation lei. We hope that you have found it helpful!

Remember to choose flowers and ribbons that match your school colors or your personal preferences. You can also add a touch of personality by including small trinkets or charms that represent your interests or accomplishments. No matter what design you choose, your graduation lei will be a meaningful souvenir that symbolizes your hard-earned achievement.

If you are planning to gift the lei to a special someone, consider their personality and preferences. For instance, if they prefer simple and elegant designs, opt for a traditional single strand lei. On the other hand, if they enjoy bright and bold colors, choose a multi-color lei or a combination of different types of flowers. Whatever design you choose, your effort and thoughtfulness will surely be appreciated.

Closing how to make a graduation lei

We hope that our guide has inspired you to create a stunning graduation lei that you can cherish for years to come. Remember, making a lei is not just about the final product, it’s about the journey. Take your time, enjoy the creative process, and appreciate the beauty of each flower and ribbon. Don’t forget to congratulate yourself on your hard work and dedication. We wish you a wonderful graduation ceremony and a bright future ahead!

Good luck and aloha!