I saw these banana leaves online…
…and immediately wanted some – what could be more tropical?
I struggled to find an online tutorial – and then one happy day, there it was in my YouTube feed!
Thank you DIY angels!
Finding the beach mats was another matter, but hey, that’s shopping in Mauritius – I usually find things by accident while I’m shopping for something else entirely.
Anyway, without further ado, let’s get stuck into it…
- Straw beach mats
- PVA or other white glue
- Hot glue, E6000, or other strong glue to attach the mats to the bamboo
- Wire – I don’t know the gauge, but it needs to be thick enough to hold its shape – about 2-3mm
- Masking tape
- Jute string
- Hot glue gun
- Cotton string
- Hot glue gun
- Large wooden skewers, or bamboo
- Cheap hairspray, optional
- I bought the beach mats at Faizal Textiles – a fabric store in Triolet – it’s on Google Maps. The mats are not stored in the main shop, so you have to ask for them – they are called “nats” in Kreol – asking if they have mats will get you a shake of the head or a blank look
- White glue is sold in all hardware stores – Fevicol is a good brand
- Bamboo from Wing Tai Chong, or Chong and Sons
- Jute and cotton string from the hardware section of supermarkets, and some hardware stores
- Wire from hardware stores
- E6000 is from Gazella in Port Louis
If you know where else any of these supplies are sold, particularly the beach mats, please comment below to help out your fellow Mauritian DIYers.
The first two videos are by En Casa Con Patty, and as you might guess, are in Spanish, but they’re easy to follow visually.
Banana Leaves – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eG1H1hurhrc&t
Jute Leaves – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnKfZ9wieo4
String Pampas Grass by Justin Wray: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjDpokvdH94&t=10s
Tying a Square Knot by Crafty Patty – the relevant part starts at 3 minutes 20 seconds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIZgb3ZXUyM
I don’t have very good quality hot glue sticks, and the weight of the mats caused them to separate from the bamboo, so I had to use E6000 to secure them.
I’m sure there are other adhesives which would also do the job, but I don’t know which ones they’d be. If you know, please comment below.
I didn’t like the khaki green colour of the beach mats, so I painted them with Burnt Sienna artists’ acrylic, which I diluted in water to form a translucent glaze.
She made it look much easier than I found it. Mucho confusion!
Once I was done, I didn’t like the look of the jute twine, so I made the others with raffia.
Otherwise, I did as Patty did. Gracias amiga!
Justin makes small ones in his video.
I wanted a very tall one, with a bamboo stalk.
It was an epic fail – I used some jute string I had on hand, and after all the effort of tying it to the bamboo, when I tried to comb it out, it literally disintegrated into little clumps of fluff – only try this if you’ve got good quality cotton string and a lot of patience.
Or if your neighbours don’t mind an explosion of unsavoury language!
I rarely have DIY fails as I’m too bloody-minded, and refuse to give up, so I’ll keep at it until I SUCCEED!!!!!
Or at least have something I like.
But there was definitely no coming back from this one! Straight into the bin.
I made a raffia version instead.
It looks nothing like pampas grass, but as it took ages to make, it’s staying!
(I’ll continue to work on it, so it may just make a reappearance in a future post)
I used a square knot – see the above video – to attach the raffia to the bamboo, but had to glue each “knot” to the bamboo to stop it from sliding loose.
I also made pompoms out of cotton twine, and glued them to the top of some stalks I had left over when I took apart a Mauritian-style grass broom to use as a dried grass arrangement:
These are really cute, and are pretty realistic.
Well, maybe from a distance!
Anyway, I digress – my successful leaves have now found a home in the corner of my bedroom:
Where they’ll inevitably gather dust, give me terrible allergies, and stop me from ever sleeping again, but I don’t care – they’re gorgeous, add height, and I love them!
PS When checking the spelling of a sneeze sound, I discovered that (other than I spell it wrong) deaf people sneeze silently.
This must mean that we’ve each chosen our own sneeze sound! How weird!
Then I read that only English-speaking sneezers say “achoo” (correct spelling, but I like mine better).
The French sneeze “atchoum”, Germans, “hatschi”, Japanese, “hakashun” and Filipinos, “ha-ching”.
This is all either very interesting, or week 5 of being all alone in lockdown is having a worrying effect on my mind.