How to Make Geisha Hair Ornaments

Written by nicki callahan
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How to Make Geisha Hair Ornaments
Making geisha hair ornaments can be a creative outlet. (die geisha image by Yvonne Bogdanski from

Geisha hair ornaments, also known as Kanzashi, originated in the 1600s and spread throughout Japan as a hair decoration to be worn by maidens during certain celebrations. Made from silk, these hair ornaments portrayed cherry blossoms and chrysanthemums. Eventually associated with geishas, Kanzashi's popularity continued into the modern era and today is enjoyed and worn by many. Making your own geisha hair ornaments can be a creative experience and can foster an appreciation of this beautiful and ancient tradition.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Sewing needle
  • Thread
  • Bead or button
  • Hairpin or hair sticks
  • Hot glue gun

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  1. 1

    Choose a fabric that you would like to use for the petals of the hair ornament. A piece of satin or silk pastel fabric will work nicely for this project. Cut this piece of fabric into five 2-inch by 2-inch squares to create a single blossom.

  2. 2

    Make a diagonal fold into one of the fabric squares and then a second diagonal fold. Take the top two corners of the triangle and flap them over towards the centre point (the centre point should be made of the raw edges).

  3. 3

    Push the fold upwards to create a centre bump or "nubbin" with an outer surrounding wing. This is the first petal. With a needle and thread, securely string the bottom tip of the petal (made of the raw edges) onto the thread.

  4. 4

    Create four more petals in the same manner and thread them onto the string as well. Each petal should be facing with the bump or "nubbin" upward. Sew through the centre of the petals several times if necessary to ensure that the petals are attached firmly together. Tie off the thread and trim any unwanted edges or strings.

  5. 5

    Fill the centre of the flower with a bead, button or other piece of fabric. Simply choose a bead or cut a small circle of fabric and glue this to the centre of the blossom with a glue gun. You may also choose to sew the fabric or bead into place.

  6. 6

    Use the glue gun to attach the kanzashi flower to a hairpin or hair stick of your choice. You may wish to create a cluster of Kanzashi flowers in which case the above steps should be repeated to make as many flowers as desired.

Tips and warnings

  • Use caution when using a glue gun as the hot glue and/or tip can cause burns.

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