Tissue Paper Hawaiian Lei

There are only a few items needed to make this tissue paper lei and bring Hawaii to your own home.

  • strong twine or ribbon
  • colourful tissue paper
  • scissors

In Hawaiian culture, a lei is a common symbol of love, friendship, celebration, honor or greeting. In essence, it is a symbol of Aloha. In ancient Hawaii, wearing a lei represented wealth, royalty and rank. Receiving and giving of Lei originated with Polynesian voyagers who travelled by boat from on long and hard journeys from Tahiti to the Hawaiian Islands.

Lei, a garland or necklace of flowers given in Hawaii as a token of welcome or farewell. Leis are most commonly made of carnations, kika blossoms, ginger blossoms, jasmine blossoms, or orchids and are usually about 18 inches (46 cm) long. They are bestowed with a kiss as a sign of hospitality.

How to assemble:

  • Step 1: Cut the tissue paper into strips about 3 inches wide and 2 inches long.  Once all the pieces are cut, take each peice and twist the middle together (crimped to create a flat space where you will tie the paper around the twine.
  • Step 2: Using care, tie one piece of tissue paper around the rope or ribbon. It is easy to rip so you may want to assist your children while creating this craft.
  • Step 3: Repeat with the second color next to the first.
  • Step 4: Leave them slightly spread out about an inch in between colors. Contine tying the papers to the twine, depending on the size you are creating, may take 12 - 14 pieces of tissue paper.

Facts about Leis:

  • Traditionally in the early 1900's when people travelled to Hawaii by boat, it was customary to receive a lei greeting when entering the islands on your boat. It is said that when visitors were departing, they would throw their lei into the ocean as they passed Diamond Head in hopes that they would return to the islands again.
  • Men often wear lei constructed of ti leaf, kukui nuts or leaves, and grooms are often seen wearing a maile lei, and open-ended lei made of maile vine, symbolizing royalty.

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