I Made My First Ti Leaf Lei

I made my first ti leaf lei during my visit home to Maui for my 40th birthday!  Having lived in Hawai’i, I know how to make your basic flower lei. But, I’ve never learned how to make a ti leaf lei.  They take some practice to in order to “get it down” and I’ve thought them to be intimidating.  My father “the Jack of all trades and master of all ”  of course knows how to make tea leaf leis.  So I begged for a lesson and I think I kind-of got it down.


Tea Leaves after I wilted them with a warm iron.  This allows the leaves to be twisted without breaking.  I was told when doing lots of leis, you can put freshly cut ti leaves in the freezer to wilt them.

Ti leaves after I stripped them from their stalks.

To start the lei, I began with twisting the first leaf.  Then anchoring it wound my toe to continue the process.  This is a traditional method of lei making.  However, you can anchor your lei on just about anything.

tea leaf lei making

I blend in another ti leaf, once I reached the end of the first leaf.  At this point, I can, if desired, add a flower to the lei.

What gives the Ti Leaf Lei its look is the ends of the leaves are left exposed.

I added leaves until the lei was long enough to fit over my head.

Once I reached my desired length, I tied off the ends and removed the bottom of the lei from my toe and connected the ends.


I love making leis.  The process and the finished product are equally beautiful! Ti leaf leis can be made as simple or as intricate as you like.  There are other techniques that I want to learn, but what I made here is the basic version.  My father also taught me how to add flowers for pops of color –  I need to practice that a bit more.

I’m back on the mainland now and I am making it my intention to continue lei making.  I feel it could be a fun and therapeutic way to slow things down.  It’s therapeutic and evokes a stillness…which brings up a lot of good ideas!

I hope this inspired you!  Thanks for reading!


Flour Resist + Paint Removal | Flour Paste Tutorial Part 4

Removing the flour resist and paint from your fabric!

Unclamp your thoroughly  dried fabric from the table.  Fill a large bucket with warm water and slowly submerge your fabric.   DO NOT do this step in a sink, the flour resist WILL clog your drain and pipes. You’ve been warned!  

Soak the fabric in warm water to remove all flour – 15 to 20 minutes should soften the resist enough to peal off.  Wash in a mild detergent with cool water.  Dry after all of the flour is removed.  

*Remove wrinkles using an iron or steamer. 

washing fabric after flour resist

fabric example after flour resist is removed



Your new fabric is done! Now get creative with it!

Fun was to use your decorative fabric
  • pillows cases
  • napkins
  • throws
  • scarves

I used my cracked fabric in a past art show.

cracked fabric using flour paste resist


Thanks for checking out this Flour Paste Resist Tutorial! I hope you had fun!

> > > Part Three : Cracking the Flour and Adding Paint

> > Part Two: Preparing and Applying the Flour Paste Resist

> Part One:  Fabric Preparation 


Part 3 | Cracking the Flour Resist

Now that your flour paste resist is dry, you are ready to begin cracking!  This is SO satisfying!


Start cracking the flour resist by crunching the fabric with both hands. Do this as much or as little as you like.  The more you crack the flour resist the more areas for your color to seep through.  Don’t worry if you cannot see all of the cracks. They are there, trust me!

Get creative with this step, you can make concentrated cracks on particular spots of your fabric. You can even do one mass of cracks and leave the rest of the fabric solid to dye over later. There are many possibilities!


Cracking the Flour Resist once dried



For this step you will need your chosen color of acrylic paint, water, small bucket, paint brush and gloves.  Hopefully you found some fun paints to try – I went with black!

Add 1 part paint to 1 part water in a small bucket, and stir with a wooden paint stirrer.  Once the acylic paint and water are mixed thoroughly, using your paint brush, begin to paint the on top of the flour paste resist.  You want to be generous with the paint, it needs to seep through the the cracks in the resist to get to the fabric.  

*Note: if you cracked the resist in specific areas, you’ll only need to paint those areas.


Applying Paint after Cracking the Flour Resist

Applying acrylic paint after Cracking the Flour Resist

Cracked Flour Paste Reist Results

To check if your paint is saturating, gently lift up a corner of the fabric where you added paint and look underneath.  If you didn’t squeal with excitement, you didn’t add enough paint!

After applying your color onto the resist, let the paint dry.  Use any of the 3 methods in Part Two, to dry the paint.  When the paint is fully dry it should be the same color where ever you applied it.  No dark wet spots!  If you notice some cracked areas are lacking color, re-apply paint to those spots and repeat the drying process.

dried paint after cracking the flour resist

> > > Part Four : Removing the Resist

> > Part Two: Preparing and Applying the Flour Paste Resist

> Part One:  Fabric Preparation 


Flour Paste Resist Tutorial | Part Two : Preparing and Applying the Resist

Now that your fabric has been prepared, it is time to mix the flour paste and slather it onto your clean and dried fabric! Yaaay!  *If you have not prepared your fabric you can find the steps on how to do so, in Part One of this tutorial!



In this step you’ll need your flour, water, bucket, an electric drill w/mixing a bit and a pouring pitcher.

In a medium bucket, mix flour and cold water together using a whisk or spoon, or an electric drill with a mixing bit attached.  Mix this mixture to a pancake like consistency.  If you experience lumping, continue mixing to remove as many as you can.  Do not worry about exact measurements, but if it helps, I used about 3 – 4 cups of flour for my table runner. Once your mixture has reach a smooth pancake batter like concistancy, pour into a pitcher and set it aside to prep the fabric.




In this step you will need 4 medium to large clamps to secure the fabric onto your work surface.

Cover your work surface with your plastic drop cloth, you can also secure this with clamps if you’d like.   Once your work surface is covered lay out your fabric on top of the plastic drop cloth.   Using 4 clamps, secure all corners of your fabric to the table.  Doing this makes applying the paste much easier as the fabric will want to slide around.  *Sorry I don’t have a picture for this step.



Yaaay! This is where the fun begins.  Here, you will need your pitcher of flour paste resist, a squeegee and gloves!

Grab your pitcher of flour paste, starting at one end of your fabric begin to pour a generous amount of the mixture onto your fabric.    Using your squegee, smooth out the paste on your fabric.  You don’t want to go too thin, so use a light hand when doing this step.  Continue this process down the entire length of the fabric (pour, then smooth, pour, then smooth)  until the material is fully covered with the flour paste resist. *you should not see the fabric through the paste – aim for an “opaque” coverage.



Once your fabric is covered with the flour paste, it will need to fully dry in order to crack it.  You can do one of three things for this step:

  1. Set fans around your work surface aiming them at your work. (leave on all 4 clamps)
  2. Dry the paste using a hair dryer on medium to high heat.
  3. Let the paste air dry (this is what I did).  This step takes about 12 – 24 hours, depending on the size of your material and the amount of paste poured.

As the paste dries, the fabric will curl up on the ends.  To prevent this you can leave all 4 clamps in place.  I removed 2 of the 4 clamps on my piece to allow the fabric to move freely.


> > >  Part Three : Cracking the Resist and Adding Paint

> > > > Part Four : Flour Resist and Paint Removoal

> Part One: Fabric Preparation


Flour Paste Resist Tutorial | Part One : Fabric Preparation

If you have been following along on my preparation for the Irvine Studio Arts Festival that took place on June 3rd, you’ll know that I made a cool table runner for my booth using a neat technique call Flour Paste Resist. It is very similar to Batik but instead of hot wax you are using a flour paste (like pancake batter) as your resistance.

In this blog post I am sharing the first few steps on this process. I had fun making my table runner using step by step instructions I found on-line.  I’m sharing MY process and results of this technique because, with any craft, results vary and your experience will be different from someone else’s. Plus, its fun to document experiments!


  1. Flour
  2. Plastic Drop Cloth
  3. Acrylic Paint
  4. Washing Soda or Soda Ash
  5. Squeegee or spreader
  6. Gloves
  7. Measuring-cup
  8. Dish Soap (not pictured)
  9. Fabric (not pictured)
  10. Mixer (not pictured)
  11. Table or flat work surface
  12. Table fans (optional)
  13. Wooden Paint Stirrer (not pictured)
  14. 4 Medium or Large Clamps
  15. Pouring Pitcher 



This is important, as most to all fabrics have been treated during the milling process.  You want to remove all of the grease/coating so the fabric can be respective to the dye/paint.  Skipping this step will cause disappointing results, as the dye/paint will not get deep into the fibers.  Your fabric will be “stained” instead of dyed.*  To remove these treatments,  simply:

Wash the fabric on HOT with about  1/2 to 1 cup of dawn or any other degreasing dish soap.  I used 1 cup for my 6’x3′ runner.  YES, this is going to cause a LOT of bubbles….but if you’re like me, you’ll enjoy it and take pictures of them! Do not dry after washing.  Set your fabric aside in preparation for the next step. 



This is another important step.  Soaking the fabric in Washing Soda or Soda Ash, raises the ph levels of the fabric which aids in the fabrics ability to take the dye/paint.

Mix about 1/2 cup of Washing Soda into a gallon (or more) of warm water and mix well using a paint stirrer (you can get them at your local hardware store).  Once the Washing Soda is dissolved in the warm water, submerge your fabric into the mixture.  Leave the fabric in this mixture for at least 20 to 30 minutes.  I soaked for 2 hours.



Now that your fabric has soaked in Washing Soda for at least 20 to 30 minutes (or 2 hours, as I did), it is time to ring it out.  If you are working with a large piece of fabric grab an extra pair of hands to make it easier.   With each of you holding either end of the fabric, turn in opposite directions (twisting the fabric) to remove access water.   I did this over my back lawn, and I notice a bit of yellowing grass the next day –  this went away after a few douses of the water hose.

Once the fabric is rung out, toss it in the dryer on the proper setting for your material, and dry thoroughly.  

Notice that the 100% cotton muslin that I used is rather wrinkled after drying.  I was okay with this since I was, after all, going for a “cracked” aesthetic.  Depending on what fabric you are using and the results you are going for, you may want to steam or iron your fabric after drying.  I encourage you to research the material you are working with; i.e. silk, cotton blends, wool, and how dyes/paints react to them.  This is where experimentation comes in – play around and see what happens.

> > Part Two : Preparing and Applying the Flour Pastes Resist

> > > Part Three : Cracking the Resist and Applying Paint

*references from Frost Yarn