The Hawaiians make lei out of many different things other than just flowers. Some of the prettiest lei are made from leaves!
The maile lei is made from the leaves of the maile (my - lee) vine. The maile vine is a native Hawaiian plant, found only in the forests of Hawai'i. It has a nice smell, like licorice. Maile lei are worn for special occasions like weddings, graduations, and birthdays.
Mock Orange Leaf Lei
This beautiful lei is made of mock orange leaves and rose petals. The seperate leaves and petals are just folded in half and strung on the string! It's easy to do, but you'll need a lot of leaves!
The ti (tee) plant has broad glossy green or red leaves. The Hawaiians use the leaves for lots of things besides lei. They wrap food in ti leaves before cooking it in the imu.
How to De-vein a Ti Leaf
Before ti leaves can be used for a lei, you have to take the stiff center vein out. Make a shallow cut on the backside of the leaf where the vein starts getting thick. Don't cut all the way through the leaf.
Strip off the vein with your fingers.
Here are two kinds of ti leaf lei that you might want to try making.
1. Take two ti leaves that have been de-veined. Tie them together at the stems with a square knot.
2. Next, fringe the leaves with your fingers, making little strips in the leaves.
1. Cut the vein out of the leaf with scissors. You will have two long pieces.
2. Put the leaves in the freezer for at least an hour. This makes them soft so you can roll them. You can also heat them in a microwave oven a few minutes until they are dark green and soft.
3. Thaw the leaves and let them dry.
4. Tie the leaves together with a knot. You can make a square knot if you know how.
5. Twist the two leaves in the opposite direction. They will look like rolled rope.
6. Then twist the two rolled leaves around each other. When you come to the end of the leaf, just put another leaf there and keep going. You can let the end of the leaf stick out.
7. Tie the ends of the two leaves together. There are lots of ways to wear this lei. You can tie the lei together to make a loop, or let the two ends hang down loose when you wear it. You can wrap the lei around another lei.