How to Crochet a Lei


Classic Hawaiian leis may be woven directly out of flowers and leaves, or the plant materials can be strung on thread. You can imitate these styles in crocheted satin ribbon. The simple Hili style is braided from stems; you could make three long chains to braid, or add a layer of double crochet in bright petal colors that will twist as you go. The Kui style strings blossoms on a thread; you can catch crocheted flower motifs on a long chain of green stem.

Things You'll Need

  • 5 yards satin ribbon, 1/8 inch wide, green
  • Size F crochet hook
  • 10 yards satin ribbon, 1/8 inch wide, petal colors

Hili Twist

  • Crochet a chain with green ribbon to a generous length for your lei. It will draw up slightly as you begin the pattern.

  • Insert the crochet hook in the first chain stitch. Draw a loop of petal-colored ribbon through that stitch and the last one to join the chain into a ring. This is called a slip stitch. Tie the ends of the green and petal-colored ribbons together and hold them against the chain to catch them in the next row of stitches.

  • Chain 3 in the petal color. Work a double crochet --- yarn over, insert the hook and draw up a loop, draw up a single loop through 2 loops twice --- in the same chain stitch as the slip stitch.

  • Work two double crochets in each chain around. Don't worry about keeping the chain straight. The lei will naturally twist as the stitches pile up, and you can encourage it by rolling the finished length in your fingers. Join the last stitch to the first chain-3 loop with a slip stitch and finish off.


  • Make open flower motifs, using one or more petal colors. Chain 6 stitches and join with a slip stitch to form a ring. Chain 9. Work a treble crochet --- wrap the ribbon twice around the hook, draw up a loop and draw through two loops each, three times --- into the starting ring. Chain 6. Repeat the treble-crochet stitch into the ring and chain 6 six times; join the final chain to the first chain 9. Your flower should have eight petals. Fasten off the ribbon and draw the ends into the stitches.

  • Make solid flower motifs, using one or more petal colors. Chain 6 stitches and join with a slip stitch to form a ring. Chain 4. Work a treble crochet, a double crochet and a single crochet --- no wraps before drawing up a loop --- into the ring. Chain 1, double crochet into the ring, chain 1 again. Repeat this sequence of stitches three or more times, ending with the single crochet. Join with a slip stitch to the first chain and fasten off. If you've crowded extra petal sequences in, your flower will be more ruffly.

  • Thread green ribbon through the center rings of the flower motifs you've made, in whatever order you want them on the final lei. Chain 10 stitches in green, or to whatever length you want between flowers. Move the first flower motif to the end of the chain and work the next chain stitch over the flower's center ring and into one of the petals. Remove your hook and reinsert it on the other side of the flower. Continue chain stitching in green and setting flowers on the chain around. Join the ends of the chain with a slip stitch and fasten off.

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