How to Make a Lauhala Hat

Weave a distinctive look with pandanus leaves to create a perfect beach hat.

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Materials and Tools:

pandanus (lauhala) leaves
manual pasta machine
homemade cutting tool
homemade wooden hat form
transparent tape
heavy thread
string
scissors
small sharp knife
spray bottle of water
iron
feather, flower lei or shell

Steps:

1. Clean the leaves.

2. Shave the leaves with a small knife to remove the thorns.

3. Soften the leaves by rolling them through a pasta machine.

4. Cut the leaves 18 to 20 inches long.

5. Cut the leaves into 1/8-inch-wide strips with a homemade stripper.

6. Lay out the center of the hat. Weave and add strands until the weaving forms an oval the size of a dinner plate.

7. Tie the oval to a wooden hat block with string and weave on the hat block to form the shape of the hat.

8. When you've woven a crown of the desired size, weave in a string to allow for adjustment of hat size.

9. Weave the brim, adding strips as necessary until the desired size is obtained. Different weave patterns produce different motifs on the crown and the brim.

10. Remove the hat from the wooden hat form and trim excess strands.

11. To shape the hat, spray it with water and apply a hot iron while it's on the hat form.

12. Decorate the lauhala hat with shells, feathers or a fresh flower lei.

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