The giving and wearing of leis are a traditional Hawaiian custom brought to the islands by settlers from Tahiti. Leis can be made from leaves, seed pods, seeds, flowers and all manner of other natural elements or mixed combinations thereof. Leis are worn over the shoulders, draped around the neck or worn on the head as a crown to convey welcome greetings and to mark celebrations and rights of passage. A double carnation lei refers to doubling the amount of blossoms strung on one string to achieve a lush, more gracious and therefore superior look. For a double carnation lei you will need approximately 120 mid-size carnation heads for a 41-inch finished lei length.

Step 1

Trim off approximately a 100-inch length of cotton string, and thread it through the eye of the needle so it is doubled over itself. Tie several overlapping knots at the end of your string to function as a stop for the flowers, leaving at least 7 inches in length beyond the knot to serve as a tie to fasten the lei ends together.

Step 2

Thread the needle through the side of the green base of the carnation, gently sliding the flowers down the string toward the knot, snugly fitting each next to the other.

Step 3

Alternate the direction the carnation bloom is facing to create a full and balanced look. Keep stringing carnations until you reach the desired length, which is typically 40 inches or so.

Step 4

Tie the two extending ends of string to one another in a knot to achieve your desired finished length. The knot area can be finished or covered with a decorative ribbon tie, disguised by the flowers or left plain.