Feb 24

DIY Ti Leaf Hip Hei

With the help of this and this, we successfully made hip heis (belts) for our Tahitian costumes! :]

Ti Leaf Hip Hei


  • 6 1-inch longgggggg strips of black fabric (long enough to go around where you’d like the belt to sit, aka hip-level ~1.5 times)
  • 2 bunches of silk ti leaves
  • a good amount of patience
  • the ability to braid


  1. Cut the ti leaves diagonally into parallelogram shapes. The longer and fatter ones will make the belt puff up more, but you can definitely throw in some smaller/shorter pieces for variety!

    For the record, I mostly cut mine like this (sometimes fatter though, for variety).

  2. Tie a knot on the end of the fabric. I usually like to make a loop and then knot it so that you can hang it off your big toe (or a chair leg) to give it some tension as you braid. (The tighter the braid, the better it’ll look!)
  3. Divide the fabric into 3 2-strip sections and start braiding! Give yourself about 8 inches so that you can use the braid to tie it around your hips.
  4. Tie a knot just to make sure the braid will stay put.
  5. Fold a ti leaf piece in half (hot dog style/whichever way makes the piece longer) and add it to the braid.
  6. Cross over the leaf with your left hand and pull it tight! Then add another piece of leaf* and cross over with your right hand and pull it tight. You’re pretty much still just doing a regular braid, but adding a piece of leaf each time.
  7. Keep braiding until it’s long enough to go around your hips.
  8. When you’re done adding leaves, knot it off again, then braid the rest and tie it off.

*If you want a fuller belt, you can add multiple leaves per braid, but I was afraid of running out of leaves, so I didn’t. I ended up having enough to make a full belt though (I originally thought we’d only have enough to make half of one)! :]

And…just for kicks, here’s the close-ish-up of the armband and headpiece we made!

See what they look like on people! <3

Permanent link to this article: http://www.fairyburger.com/ti-leaf-hip-hei/

2 pings

  1. International Festival 2014 | fairyburger

    […] (The tutorial for the belts can be found here!) […]

  2. fitness goals (revisited) | fairyburger

    […] to take it a step further (probably because I really miss Na Keiki ‘O Hawai’i) and we made our own hip heis (+ armbands and headpieces). Our first priority was obviously still med school, so getting enough […]

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