DIY Ti Leaf Twist Lei

Ti leaf twist lei

Lei making reminds me of my childhood. My mom and I would make leis for graduations, weddings, birthdays, baby showers and, my personal favorite, before we picked friends up from the airport. I always felt a lot of anticipation and love when I made the leis.

I would think of the lucky lei recipient when I picked the plants. Send good intentions when I made the lei. When it was finished I could hardly wait to give them a huge hug filled with Aloha.

Let me tell you, the receiving end is just as good!

Flower leis are magical. They pop with color and smell. But they don’t last long. I love these ti leaf leis for three reasons 1. They last and dry beautifully 2. You can make them on the cheap! 3. Men, especially the men who don’t get excited at the idea of wearing flowers, love them! Not every guy is like Bubba!


Making a ti leaf lei DIY
  • 5 Ti Leaves
  • Scissors
  • Freezer or an Iron
  • Heavy object (I used a jar of dry goods)



1. Pick 5 ti leaves. Try to pick the large, dark green leaves. If you don’t have them in your own yard then find them in nature. I see them when I go on hikes, or even on the side of the road. They’re everywhere here in Hawaii!

Hawaiian Ti leaf

2. Lay our leaf flat and de-bone each leaf. I use a pair os scissors and cut from the tip of the leaf to the base following the spine. Repeat on the other side.


3. Now that you have your pieces ready you will need to soften them. I like to use the freezer. I place them as is into the freezer for an hour, then I let them thaw for 20 min and they are ready to go! You could also iron or boil them. Whatever it takes to get the natural oils out of the leaf which makes the ti leaf malleable.


4. Take two thawed leaves and tie a knot at the very end, be gentle! Take a heavy object and place on top of the knot.


5. Now for the twisting. Begin by twisting both strands in the same direction. Then take the twisted strands and twist them together. Woah! Its a lot of twisting! Keep on going till there is only a few inches left.


6. We’re going to have to add more ti leaf! Take new leaf, let the top of the leaf stick out. The bottom falls to the left. The old left and the new left twist into one strand and become ONE! (There’s a deep insightful metaphor that could go here, I’ll let you figure it out.)

IMG_5497 (1)

7. Now keep on twisting a few time and do the same process for the right side.

8. Keep on going till you have used up all of the leaves. Finish off with a knot!


9. Give it to a loved one with Aloha, you’re work is done !



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