To make lei is a practice deeply rooted in Hawaiian culture and history — it’s more than just stringing flowers together and calling it a day. There are customs rooted deeply in Hawaiian traditions and culture on how to craft lei. So having someone who has grown up making lei — weaving them since childhood and growing up immersed in the culture — teach you how to craft a lei of your own can be an invaluable experience for visitors and locals alike. Below are five local lei-making classes worth checking out if you’re set on stringing together your own lei.
1. Haku Maui
Started by Britney Texeira in the upcountry slopes of Haleakalā, Maui, this local flower shop doubles as a lei-making studio which offers public and private workshops. The lei-making sessions will include all of the necessary materials needed, and Texeira provides attentive hands-on instruction during the lesson. Lei poʻo, also known as a head lei or flower crowns, can be crafted in a variety of sizes, from a full-length lei which circles the entire head to the mini lei, which only covers the forehead. Traditional string lei and flower hairpiece workshops are also available for reservations.
For more information or to book a workshop, visit Haku Maui on its website or call (808) 856-0101.
2. Lei By Dillyn
Lei By Dillyn offers a personal guided experience in creating your very own lei poʻo. Offering both public community workshops as well as private classes, the process takes two-and-a-half hours and all materials will be provided by the instructor. While having a finished wearable flower crown is the goal of the workshop, expect to also be immersed in Hawaiian culture and history as you make your way through the class.
For more information or to book a workshop, visit Lei By Dillyn’s website.
3. Hawaii Hula Company
If you’re really looking to learn about the arts of Hawaiʻi, look no further than the Hawaii Hula Company. Formed to empower Hawaiian artists in fields such as hula, fire-knife dancing and music, the local entertainment company also hosts hula and lei-making lessons. In fact, you can participate in a lei-making workshop and then learn hula while wearing your newly crafted lei. Serving the islands of Oʻahu, Maui and Hawaiʻi Island, it’s the perfect way to celebrate a bachelorette party or to host your family for a day of fun and culturally enriching activity.
For more information or to book a workshop, visit the Hawaii Hula Company’s website or call (808) 646-1455.
4. Heavenly Hakus
To-be lei makers in search of a smaller, more lowkey lei-making experience will want to reach out to Heavenly Hakus, which is run by Elizabeth Chow on the island of Kauaʻi, who specializes in lei poʻo. Chow, who grew up in California before moving to Kauaʻi in 1976, launched Heavenly Hakus in 1996 to share the knowledge she’s picked up and learned in her decades of lei making, and hopes her students will continue to learn and share with others.
For more information or to book a workshop, call (808) 634-9999.
5. Royal Hawaiian Center
Royal Hawaiian Center offers free — that’s right, free — lei making classes. Hosted every Friday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., classes are limited to the first 15 guests and keiki must be older than 10 to participate. The hour-long lesson covers basic skills and techniques needed to craft a lei, as well as tips on how to prepare and create your very own orchid lei.
For more information, visit the Royal Hawaiian Center’s website or call (808) 922-2299.