How to Make a Tahitian Costume


Tahitian costumes relate to Polynesian dances, which are part of the Tahitian culture. One of the most familiar Tahitian costumes is that of the Hawaiian girls. A Tahitian costume is fun to wear and relatively easy to make for Halloween or a costume party. These costumes are associated mostly with women, but men wear a similar version; the primary difference is that men go topless.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Raffia
  • Flower or plastic leis
  • Measure for the width of the grass skirt waist band. Wrap the tape measure around your waist to determine your waist size. Keep the tape measure a little loose rather than wrap it tightly around your waist.

  • Add four feet to the measurement from Step 1. This extra length allows for a braiding technique used to make the waistband and ties for the grass skirt.

  • Cut the raffia. You should need approximately 30 strips of raffia. Cut each of the strips into the length you calculated in Step 2.

  • Create the waistband of the skirt. Braid three strips of the raffia together. Tie off each end of the braid with a knot to keep the braid together. Leave some tails at the end of each braid because this will become the tie you use to wear the skirt. Repeat until you have 10 braids. Tie the braids together using small strips of raffia to create the waistband of the skirt.

  • Measure for the length of the skirt. Have someone help you measure from your waist to your lower shin or where you want the bottom of the skirt to fall. Multiply the length by two because you will be folding the raffia strips in half over the top of the waistband to create the skirt area of the Tahitian costume.

  • Attach each strip of doubled over raffia to the waistband. Fold the strip of raffia in half and tie a knot at the top end. Push the tails of the raffia through the braid waistband so that the knot catches on the waistband but the tails hang down to create the skirt. Repeat until you have strips of raffia hanging around the entire waistband.

  • Tie the waistband of the skirt around your waist.

  • Put on a bikini top for the top of your costume. You can choose a solid color or a flowery pattern.

  • Measure the circumference of your head starting at your forehead and going around the back of your head and meeting back at your forehead. Measure it loosely because you are going to use this measurement to create a headpiece that slides over the top of your head. Cut a faux flower lei or plastic lei from a party supply store to the length of the measurement.

  • Wrap the lei around your head and tie if off so that it creates a circle lei as a headdress.

  • Repeat Step 9 measuring around your arm, ankles and wrists so you can create lei decorations for these areas of your body as well.

  • Wear flip flop sandals to complete your costume.

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  • Photo Credit hawaiian necklace image by IKO from
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