Sunday, July 20, 2014

Island Lei Flowers Project

Festive tropical lei is assembled from multiple cut shapes
from two sizes of two flower styles plus leaf
strung together on jute twine 
with beads to separate the clusters.
Since this may be a craft project for older elementary school age,
you may choose to plan a family luau or island party
and have the lei stringing activity part of the fun.

1. Plan and cut the flowers for your lei. The sample lei pictured above is approx. 34 to 36 inches in length, using 20 cut shapes of each of the flowers pictured here from the cut file (large and small posie five petal, large and small daisy eight petal, leaf), and 40 leaves.

One leaf shape is paired with each petal strung onto the twine.

The cut files are arranged with one set of individual shapes, plus one large 12x12 layout of 20 or more petals for easy positioning onto the cutting mat. NOTE: the smaller flower petals have more than 20 shapes per mat configuration, so extras will be cut. Ungroup and eliminate any extras beyond the 20 you may NOT wish to cut.

The leaf shape configuration includes 70 leaves, but you may need more, so ungroup and rearrange as needed.

2. Assemble the other tools and materials you may need. Shown here are small natural colored wooden beads, jute twine (these were purchased from JoAnne Fabrics, or other retailers), paper glue, prepared flower shapes and leaf, small scissors (for curling). Masking tape may also be useful.

For the lei length noted in step 1, you will need approx. 81 beads, 1 1/2 yards of twine.

3. Use the edge of scissors (or other curling tool) to curl each petal of all cut flower shapes.

Also curl the tips of the leaf shapes.

4. Prepare the shape the flowers into their final "cupped" shapes. Apply a dot of glue to the right edge above the center "hole" slot, but not very high up the edge.

5. Bring the edges together, overlapping the right edge with the left edge on top over the glue dot, but not overlapping very much (1/8" or so).

Here you can see the glue being added to the posy style flower at the right edge below the curve.

Press the edges together and hold until secure.

Repeat for all flower shapes.

6. Fold the hole end of each leaf in half slightly.

7. Thread the twine onto a large needle (size 18 chenille tapestry used here), then thread the first bead and flower onto the twine. For the sample, the needle is inserted front-to-back through flower centers and leaf holes.

Move the bead down to the halfway point of the twine.

8. Wrap a piece of masking tape at the center to keep the first half from sliding too far along twine.

The sample shown is threaded in halves, with the face side of the petals oriented inward toward the center from each side. You may choose to string the whole length with the faces oriented toward one side only. IN THAT CASE, you may skip this step, or put the tape stop at the end.

9. String the flower sequence you have decided on, moving each addition down snugly against the previous additions.

For the sample shown, the order is: small fuchsia posy & leaf, bead, orange daisy & leaf, bead, pink posy & leaf, bead, yellow daisy & leaf, bead.

10. Continue stringing in sequence until you have reached your target half length (if assembling as halves).

11. Be sure there is a tail for tying off at the end of assembly, then attach a small piece of masking tape above the final bead of the sequence as a stop.

12. Remove the center tape stop. Complete the second half assembly to match the first half.

13. When the second half is completed, tie the ends together with a secure double knot of your choice, then use the needle to thread each end down through part of the lei so that a tail is "buried" in the lei assembly.

Your lei is now completed.
Put the lei around your neck,
and start the "Hawaiian Holiday" music now!

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