Sunday, December 13, 2015

Making a Ribbon Lei Wreath

 We took a wonderful cruise the week before Thanksgiving that my sister-in-law graciously gave my hubby and me.  She wins exotic trips all the time on her job and offered us several to choose from.  We cruised with NCL's Pride of America around Hawaii and thoroughly enjoyed it even though we had been there a couple of times before!  You can never have too much of Hawaii!  It was so much fun, but for some reason we had a time getting use to the five hour time difference and was usually in bed by 9:30pm most nights.  I'm sure that has something to do with just getting older! LOL!!!  Anyway, we stopped in several ports including Hilo, Honolulu, Kauai, Kona and Maui and had a great time exploring the sights. 

During "down time" I managed to take part in a few craft classes that were offered on board.  There were some on origami, beading, folding towels into animals and making a real flower lei, but the highlight for me was learning to make a ribbon lei!

The class was held in the main theatre where a screen was set up to show every step.
We were given two strips of grosgrain ribbon about three yards long in red and gold - the colors for royal Hawaiians.
Most of the class zipped right through following the directions .  .  .

some quicker than others.

My braided lei was a little off in a couple of places  .  .  .  the instructor was going a bit fast for me and I felt rushed, so I tighten my ribbon too much, twisting it. Even so, the lei turned out great for my first time!

After getting home and looking at my lei again, I thought the design pattern on a smaller version would make great holiday wreaths.
So here is how I made them: 
I used red and green double-faced satin ribbon 5/8 inches wide and about 1 1/2 yards long. A neck lei uses about three to four yards.
Start about 6 inches down from the end and make a slip knot in the red ribbon.

Next, make a loop with the green ribbon about six inches down, too, and .  .  .

push the green loop through the red loop. Take the long hanging red ribbon and tighten the loop to the width of the green ribbon, making sure it's snug and the ribbon is straight   *Always have the longer ribbon pieces in the front as you are braiding.

Next, pick up the long red ribbon, fold into a loop and .  .  .

push through the green loop and tighten by pulling on the long green loop, keeping the ribbon snug and straight.

Continue alternating the red and green ribbon, making loops and pushing the opposite color ribbon through (braiding).

You will see a pretty check pattern emerge as you continue to braid .  .  .

Continue to loop, push and tighten ribbon until you have braided most of the ribbon and have only a few inches left.

Nearing the end, tighten the ribbon and pull the tail end of the last loop all the way through to finish off the braid.  

Make a circle of the braids, tying both ends together in a knot and then flatten the circle with your hand while it's on a table.

Tucked the ends back into the braids.

I made a small bow with my Bowdabra and glued it on over the closure.
A ribbon hanger can also be attached if needed.

I made another wreath using all green ribbon, tied the end pieces together into a bow and added red berries.

 I love the design pattern of these adorable wreaths.  It looks very intricate but is quite easy to do.

Imagine braiding one using much larger ribbon to make a door wreath.  Wow!
There are so many wonderful possibilities using this fabulous technique!

Take a little time to enjoy


Happy Holiday Crafting!



  1. That's really cute. Sounds like you had fun on your cruise...that five hour time change is tough. But then an hour difference can throw me off. Lol.
    Merry Christmas, Gail!

  2. this ribbon lei is totally cool! Love the tute! I want a ton of small ones to add around my tree :)

  3. I've not seen these before, such a cute idea!

  4. Wooo another super stunning project Gail! I am inspired to try it
    Dr Sonia

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