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How to Make a Shelter From Palm Leaves

Anya Meave

Palm leaves can come in handy to create a makeshift shelter at home for the kids to play under or in case you are stranded on an island in the middle of the ocean. You can make a shelter using any type of large palm leaves, branches and rope or vine. Creating such a shelter can protect you from rain or wind and provide a secure place to keep you warm at night or during the day.

Palm leaves come in various shapes and sizes.
  1. Collect your materials to create your shelter. Search for two Y-shaped branches that are 6 ft. tall or larger and 2 to 4 inches in diameter, to provide support. In the case that Y-shaped branches cannot be found, select four 6-inch branches, which can be tied together. Collect other long branches, 2 inches in diameter, to create the roof and a rope or long pieces of vine to tie branches together. Gather both old and new palm leaves for your shelter as well as a large rock to hammer the branches into the ground.

  2. Tie your supporting branches together, if you were unable to obtain Y-shaped branches, with rope or vine. Tie two sets of branches together at the top, by creating a small X shape and wrapping the rope or vine around, over and under the center of the X, to tightly secure them together. The end result should make an upside-down V.

  3. Dig two holes in the ground, 1 foot deep and 6 inches apart or farther, depending on your height, to place the supporting branches into the ground. If using four branches, dig four 1-foot holes. Place the bottom branch ends into the holes and cover them with soil or sand. Pack the soil or sand down with your hand to secure them. If the branches remain a little loose, hammer them down further with the rock.

  4. Lay a long branch horizontally, in between the forks of the supporting branches, as a ridge pole. Upon completion, place other long branches vertically, from the top of the ridge pole to the bottom of the ground, 2 feet apart from each other, on both the left and right sides.

  5. Secure the vertical branches with rope or vine at the top where they meet with the ridge pole. Interlace more branches, horizontally, using the under and over method, through the vertical branches. Secure the ends of the horizontal branches as well, with rope or vine, to create a sturdy roof frame.

  6. Place the leaves over the roof frames with the stem base facing up, toward the ridge pole and the pointed tip, facing the ground. Begin laying the older, dead leaves at the base of the frame first, to provide insulation, and secure them by tying the spine of the leaves to the branches, with the rope or vine. Upon completion, lay the greener leaves over the older leaves and secure them to the branches as well.