Most of our users are clogged with water lilies or hyacinths. These fast growing plants are hazardous to sea travels They also cause skin allergies. However, the Technology and Livelihood Research Center (TLRC) found that water lilies could be a good substitute for leather in shoes and bag making.

water lily fibers made into slippers

There is at present leather and other raw materials shortage for shoes and bag making. Only 75% of the industry needs are supplied, therefore water lilies could supplement the needed materials.

Water lilies have long stems which could be made into soft but strong fibers which can be used in making different products, especially shoes, bags and slippers.

TLRC gave the following tips for using the water lily stems:

>> Stems from young plants break easily when dried so choose the stems from matured plants with dark green color must be chosen. Stems with even size on both ends, about 16 inches long and the same width must also be selected.

>> Separate the good stems from decaying ones. Tie the stems in about 100 pcs per bundle. These are now ready for dyeing.

>> The present dyeing practices is sun drying. Spread the bundles in a wide area and make sure that all parts of the bundle are exposed to the sun. Drying, generally takes 7 days. Put insect repellant on the sixth day. The bundles are well dried on the seventh day. Remove the stems from bundles; sort according to color, length and width. Afterwards, tie these again and store.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer March 10, 1989, p 16
From Teknotulong