When I was at San Francisco Pride this weekend, I got overwhelming interest about my head piece and if I made it. I would give mini, impromptu, tutorials on how and where they could probably find tutorials on how to make them. I've been making these for years so I figured, why not make my own tutorial?
So here it is!
What is a ribbon lei you ask?
Well, curious bystander, let me tell you a thing! A ribbon lei is traditionally a form of necklace. The word "lei" referring to the Hawaiian wreaths that beautiful woman place around your neck, typically made of flowers, when you arrive at a Lu'au. However, ribbon leis have many practical and cosmetic uses! They are a series of loops and are made by weaving these loops together.
We're hovering around a "I learned how to do this when I was 6" level.
Approximate Time Needed:
The one seen in the examples took me about 1/3 of an episode of Star Trek: Voyager. So about 10-15min for a head piece and MAYbe 20-15min for an entire lei. Maybe even less if you're not watching an episode of your favorite TV show and periodically getting distracted by awesomeness.
So are you ready?!
I'm going to make YOU a ribbon lei expert!
You will need two things when making a ribbon lei.
2. Two available hands.
That's a lot to remember so let's go over these supplies in detail.
You can use any ribbon to make a ribbon lei. Please excuse my over excessive use of the word 'literally', but you can use literally any ribbon! You can even use things that are ribbon shaped, like grass or tape! You will, of course, get different results of elasticity, width, and texture depending on the ribbon you use, but for the sake of learning how to make a ribbon lei, you can use any old ribbon you've got laying around.
How much ribbon will you need? For a headpiece, about a 4ft of ribbon. For a headpiece with long tassels, about 2-3 yards depending on the length of your tassels. For a entire lei, I play it safe and get two spools of the same ribbon. You can use the excess ribbon, if any, to make a matching bracelet or headpiece.
You can even use two different colors/types of ribbon, which makes for an excellent pattern, but ensure your ribbon is the same width or your loops will come out lopsided.
I have to hand it to ribbon lei making, pun intended, that it is a very hand friendly activity. My mom had pretty severe arthritis and she enjoyed making ribbon leis and could pump them out like it was making her money! It's also friendly to shaky hands. There's nothing precise about making ribbon leis! If you're looking for a hobby that requires very little dexterity, this is the activity for you!