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Banana leaf hats are primitive hats that many third-world countries use to keep cool during hot weather. The large leaves provide enough shade and sun protection to prevent overexposure to the sun in hot regions. These hats should not be used to replace sunscreen. A banana leaf hat lasts until the leaves start to dry, at which point it needs replacing.
Soak banana leaves in water for one or two hours before starting to make the hat. This makes the leaves more flexible and makes it easier to form the hat without tearing the leaves.
Align the edge of two banana leaves with the stem side up. Overlap the edges by about 2 inches. Thread a sharp stick between the two leaves, holding them in place. Attach one more leaf to the edge of the second leaf, then attach the third leaf to the open edge of the first leaf to make a circular shape.
Place the circular shape on your head. Adjust the fit by adding new leaves or tightening the edges of the leaves to get the leaves to fit around your head.
Bend one banana leaf in half. Use sticks to pin the top of the leaf over the stems of the other three leaves. If necessary, pin additional leaves between the gaps in the top leaf.
Allow the hat to dry overnight. You can wear the hat for several days until the leaves dry. Once the banana leaves dry, they start to crumble.
- "Pattern Weaving with One Leaf;" Heta Kircher; 1959
- 2 BP: Banana Leaf Hat
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