Tahitian Wrap Floral Crown (also known as a Hei)

I was fortunate to learn how to make a Hei from the experts on a recent trip to the Society Islands. The joy the "Mammas" and "Aunties" exude seeps from their pores and envelopes you in their culture.  They gave generously of their time and talents teaching me to wrap a crown of flowers.  The result was spectacular. 

Tahitians have many methods for making flowers the focus of your day.  The Hei and the Lei are just two. Tahitian crowns tend to be very full because of one important element - they have an abundance of large beautiful fresh flowers!  Maybe you don't.  Keep in mind you can still create a beautiful but more modest Hei with flowers from your garden.  

I created the Hei on the right after I returned from my trip and gave it to my friend who makes a beautiful model.  My Hei came exclusively from my Southern California backyard.  It's been very hot lately so there were many plants in bloom.  My crown was made with: white roses, yellow roses, purple agapanthus, pink bougainvilleas, various greens, and various small white buds.  If you don’t have access to live flowers in your yard, consider a colorful bouquet from the supermarket. Also popular on the islands are Heis made of only green leaves.  Another option is a crowning masterpiece made from silk flowers.

A floral crown is a beautiful adornment for a wedding or other special occasion and a great gift.  Of course you must keep in mind the life of the flowers you choose. When using live flowers, pick blooms that will be appropriate to the size of the finished crown.  The crowns can be prepared in advance of the event and kept fresh in a tub of water. Drain them on absorbent terrycloth towels to remove excess water before wearing them.

Directions

step 1 - Cut a reed long enough to wrap around your head.  Cut a length of green ribbon three times the circumference of your head.  Form a loop on one ribbon end.  Place it behind a reed. 

step 1 - Cut a reed long enough to wrap around your head.  Cut a length of green ribbon three times the circumference of your head.  Form a loop on one ribbon end.  Place it behind a reed. 

step 2 - Bring the length of the ribbon through the loop and pull to secure it to the reed.  

step 2 - Bring the length of the ribbon through the loop and pull to secure it to the reed.  

step 3 - Grab a main flower (larger flower) at the base.  Bunch some smaller stems with it and press it to the reed.  Wrap the ribbon around the base twice to catch the flower and stems.

step 3 - Grab a main flower (larger flower) at the base.  Bunch some smaller stems with it and press it to the reed.  Wrap the ribbon around the base twice to catch the flower and stems.

step 4 - Add another flower and stems (be sure to include some greens) and position them to cover the previous wrap.  Wrap the base of the new flower bunch with the ribbon.

step 4 - Add another flower and stems (be sure to include some greens) and position them to cover the previous wrap.  Wrap the base of the new flower bunch with the ribbon.

step 5 - Continue to add new bunches.  When you reach the length of reed you need for your crown stop adding flowers.  Overlap the beginning reed with the end piece.  Wrap ribbon around them twice.  

step 5 - Continue to add new bunches.  When you reach the length of reed you need for your crown stop adding flowers.  Overlap the beginning reed with the end piece.  Wrap ribbon around them twice.  

step 6 - Fold over the long tail and wrap in place.

step 6 - Fold over the long tail and wrap in place.

Step 7 - Add flowers to cover the bare reed.  Loop the ribbon around the reed and bring it through the excess ribbon to form a knot, the same way you started the wrap.  Repeat.  Cut off excess ribbon hiding the knots behind blooms.


Supplies

At Craft Store  

  • 25” ribbon
  • scissors
  • Miscellaneous
  • Flowers and greens

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