Simple mats are fabricated from coconut fronds in many cultures. The repetitive pattern of mats is an ideal place to begin crafting these leaves. Throughout history people made coconut leaf mats for sleeping. They are used to cover floors, walls and ceilings and as ceremonial exchange items. Mat weaving uses vertical, warp, weavers and horizontal, weft strips. Make a plain woven place mat using the longest leaf blades you can harvest.
Things You'll Need
Cut 44 individual frond blades from the center rib with a knife.
Fold each leaf strip into a 90 degree angles at the halfway mark. Fold it again so the two sides line up parallel to each other and form a point at the middle. Both parallel lines must have the same side of the leaf face up.
Make each leaf blade into this folded form with a point on one end.
Lay 22 of the folded coconut leaf blade strips side by side on a flat surface. These are the 44 warp fibers for the mat weaving.
Introduce a new horizontal weft weaver over and under each warp fiber. This is the first weft row of the mat. Pull it through so the middle is at the far right side of the weaving and there is a 2-inch tail remaining at the left side.
Form a point on the right side of the weaving. Use the same method you used to make the original warp rows.
Feed the rest of this weaver back through the vertical warp. Alternate the over-under pattern so it is opposite of the first row.
Form a point on the left side, when the weaver gets back to this position. Tuck the ends into two of the woven weft rows to secure them. Use a knife blade to guide the strips into place, if your fingers can not maneuver them.
Switch the over-under pattern as you proceed to weave so each row is the opposite of the previous one. Push each row snugly against the preceding row and make points at the row ends.
Continue in this manner until you complete the weaving.
Tuck the last remaining warp fronds into the weave to form points on the last side, to finish the edge.
Trim any protruding ends with scissors.
Patti Perry is currently attending West Virginia University and expanding her knowledge base. She has worked as a freelance visual artist for 30 years, with specialties in watercolor and scherenschnitte. Originality of creation is her motivation and she continues to pursue this avenue in her writing. Perry is currently contributing articles to eHow.