This post has been sponsored by Oriental Trading. All opinions are my own.

Want to create a Haku lei that will last forever? Try creating this faux Haku lei that can be used as tropical home decor or as a memorable occasion headdress.

How to make a faux haku lei
Faux Haku lei decorating a large glass vase.

What is a haku lei?

Well, it’s a type of lei that uses ti leaves to braid flowers, ferns, and leaves together. It’s a pretty tedious task, takes time to master, can be costly, and is usually made for special occasions (weddings, graduations, birthday parties, etc).  You can see lot of Pinterest inspiration here —>> Haku Leis. Beautiful, right?! 

While it’s hard to beat a fresh haku lei, there are a few advantages to making a faux haku lei. First, it can last forever and I don’t have to worry about the flowers dying. And since I’m making this for my 2019 tropical Halloween display, this needs to last throughout the month of October. Second, it’s fairly easy to make and you don’t need to be skilled at lei making. Third, it’s a lot more cost effective if you need to make a large amount for an occasion.  So, without further ado, let’s get to the tutorial! 

Affordable and easy way to make a faux haku lei! Click to Tweet

How to Make a Faux Haku Lei

Below is a tutorial on how to make a faux haku lei using a fern garland as a base. The fern garland will be decorated with starfish, shells, and faux flowers to mimic a fresh haku lei.

How to make a faux haku lei

How to Make a Faux Haku Lei


  • 1 - Oriental Trading Fern Garland #13791351
  • 1 - Oriental Trading Natural Bleached Finger Starfish #13727292
  • 1 - Oriental Trading Sea Shell Assortment #13696283
  • 1 - Oriental Trading Natural Dried Raffia Ribbon #13780264
  • 1 - Oriental Trading Mini Natural Sugar Starfish #34/466
  • 2 - 4 various floral stems of your choice
  • 14 or 16 gauge jewelry wire
  • string


  • hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • scissors
  • flat nose pliers
  • wire cutters


  1. Cut faux haku lei fern garland Cut the fern garland to length with wire cutters. Use string or put the fern garland directly on the head to measure out the amount of garland needed. Make sure to leave at least 1" to 1.5" extra length so it can be secured together with wire.
  2. Wire wrap the ends of faux haku lei Overlap the ends of the fern. Use the pliers to wrap the wire around the ends to secure it together. This will be the back of the haku lei.
  3. Prep the flowers by cutting them off the floral bunch. Larger flowers should have a 1" stem to be secured onto the fern garland with raffia. Smaller flowers can be glued directly to the fern garland. If using floral branches, cut them into 3"-4" lengths.
  4. Prep the shells. Depending on the shells size, larger shells may need wires glued onto them in able to secure them to the fern garland. Secure them to the fern garland by wrapping raffia around the wire end. Other smaller shells can be glued directly to the fern garland.
  5. Once the flowers, floral branches, and shells are prepped it's time to decorate. Glue a starfish to the front of haku lei and further secure it by wrapping raffia around it. This will help keep the flowers even on each side of the center point.
  6. Attaching a larger flower to the faux haku lei Arranging faux haku lei flowers Use your own creativity for the floral portion. I like to add the largest flowers first. I try to evenly space the flowers along the haku lei and secure them to the fern with raffia. Then, in this order, I add in the smaller flowers, shells, and floral branches with hot glue.
  7. To add more texture, I tie raffia to the fern and cut it to stick out past the fern. Finally, I glued on mini starfish, but this is optional.


Because the faux fern garland is stiff, the flowers, branches, and some smaller shells can be 'dry fit' for placement before gluing or tying them into place.

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

What will you use your faux Haku let for?

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  1. I’m so happy to see you at Tuesday Turn About, Erlene! My sister is re-doing her kitchen with a Hawaiin ‘feel’. I’m gonna definitely share this with her, and pin to my coastal board!

  2. Ooo, it’s so pretty. Is this for a decoration, or would you wear it on your head? (it looks too small for round your neck) What lovely lush faux greenery you used.

  3. I took a ribbon lei class on a cruise around Hawaii but I had never heard of a Haku Lei before this! It looks really looks beautiful! And it’s a lovely way to dress up home decor items!

  4. Wow! It is so pretty. I’m looking forward to seeing your tropical Halloween display. I had no idea what a haku lei was, but now I do. Beautiful!