How to Make a Tongan Lei: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

If you’re looking to add some flair to your next special occasion, consider making a Tongan lei! This beautiful and meaningful gift is not only easy to make, but it also has deep cultural significance. In this guide, we’ll take you through the steps to create your own lei, from choosing the perfect flowers to tying the knot.

  1. Choose Your Flowers: The first step in making a Tongan lei is selecting the right flowers. Traditional Tongan leis are made with a combination of fragrant flowers such as hibiscus, frangipani, and bougainvillea. These flowers not only look beautiful but also hold cultural significance in Tongan culture.
  2. Gather Your Materials: Once you have your flowers, it’s time to gather the rest of the materials you’ll need. You’ll need a long piece of cord or ribbon (around 8-10 feet), scissors, and a sharp needle. You can use a thin gauge wire for the core, but a sturdy plastic pipe will also work well.
  3. Tie the Knot: Begin by tying a knot at one end of the cord. You can use a square or reef knot, depending on your preference. Next, thread the needle with a piece of the cord and insert it through the center of the first flower. Loop around the core and tie another knot, then move on to the next flower.
  4. Add More Flowers: Continue adding flowers and tying knots until you reach the end of the lei. Tie one final knot and trim any excess cord. You can choose to make your lei as long or short as you like, but a standard length is around 3-4 feet.
  5. Preserve Your Lei: Once you’ve completed your lei, it’s important to preserve it so that it lasts longer. To do this, spray the flowers with water and a preservative solution such as bleach or rubbing alcohol. This will help to prevent mold and decay.

In conclusion, making a Tongan lei is a fun and rewarding activity that can be done in just a few simple steps. Not only does it make for a beautiful gift, but it also allows you to connect with Tongan culture and tradition.