A beautiful Haku Lei can be created by using the technique of braiding and winding brightly colored flowers and greenery to form a unique traditional Hawaiian headpiece. The Haku Lei can even be worn around the neck or to adorn the brim of a woven hat.
Cut flowers and foliage stems approximately 2 to 3 inches in length and place in water.
Soak the raffia for 5 to 10 minutes. Measure the diameter of the wearer’s head. Braid the soaked raffia the length measured plus 10 inches. For example, if the head measures 22 inches, add 10 inches for a total of 32 inches. Lay the braid spine flat and tie a piece of raffia 5 inches from the start of the braid.
Lay a piece of Ti Leaf flat with the spine. Wind the raffia around the Ti Leaf in a circular motion. Firmly pull the raffia to secure.
Place a piece of shinobu fern on top of the Ti Leaf and repeat the circular winding technique. Firmly pull the raffia to secure. Repeat with the waxflower. Continue repeating this sequence (Ti Leaf, shinobu fern, waxflower, privet berries, Song of India, Bougainvillea, Cymbidium, Mokara orchids, Plumeria, spray roses and Leucaena leucocephala) throughout the lei to create the pattern of overlapping layers. The tension between layers must be strong enough to ensure that the botanical materials stay in place without showing the raffia spine.
The key to creating a Haku Lei is to place the flowers and foliage in a consistent width throughout the lei.
When your raffia tie piece becomes too short to continue winding, secure the raffia to the spine by using a half knot. Cut another piece of raffia and tie it where you ended working. Continue winding the raffia around the flowers and foliage.
When you have 5 inches remaining at the end of the braid, tie off the raffia with a knot. Sprinkle the Haku lei with water and place in a plastic bag until ready for use.