(Coconut fiber is the cloth-like netting of fiber that holds the leaves to the tree trunks.)
Depending on where the trees grow, the fiber can be quite tough. The fiber on trees from dry areas are much stronger and thicker than the ones that linger on trees in the wet rain forest.
My grandkids and their friends got fascinated with the hat-making thing and we encouraged them to play, providing the raw materials and tools for them to make their own hats. They got into it and we spent many weekends goofing around, munching snacks and making hats. The boys (who were getting into girls big-time) kept coming 'round with their dates.
All of the young people found that they could very easily fashion a hat-like thing in a very short time. They are a creative bunch, so they could put together fantastical head-gear in about fifteen minutes and go wandering off to swim in the mountain stream pool after scarfing up all the cookies. Their dates had a funny memento of a memorable good time.
The hats Netta and I made were well-structured and lined with silk or satin. They had hatbands and were decorated with beads, raffia, feathers and other doo-dads and had a certain rustic charm. The ones the young people made were usually tacked together haphazardly and probably fell apart quickly.
Netta and I displayed and sold the hats at the Maui Crafts Guild for a time and it was fun to watch the customers play with the things. Mostly, though, the hats were a chance to teach the kids that for-real Making does require more than just a vivid imagination.