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Handprint Henna

Today, henna is often used as a form of expression and can be found across the globe.​ As body art, henna may be worn in place of jewelry and some people even use it as hair dye. ​Henna decoration is often used for weddings and special occasions.

Henna is a small flowering shrub that grows in northern Africa, northern Australia, and southern Asia. ​Its leaves are dried and ground into a fine reddish-brown powder that is used for dying clothes, hair, and skin.​

When mixed with water or another liquid, it turns into a paste that can be applied to the skin. The art of applying henna to hands and feet is called Mehndi.​

Henna tattoos are different in different regions. In India fine lines and floral patterns are common, while Arabic henna designs are larger in scale, and African patterns are bolder and more geometric.​

After the henna plant has been turned into paste, it is drawn in patterns on the skin and allowed to set. The henna should be allowed to set 6-12 hours for darker lines. ​

As it dries, the color seeps into the skin. In India, practiced artists apply the paste by squeezing it through their fingers, but it can also be applied with a foil or paper cornet, a plastic applicator bottle, a toothpick, or a knitting needle. ​

​For this virtual library program, I am going to go over a little bit of the history of henna, how is it used and applied and then we are going to look as some designs to get some inspiration in creating our own henna art.

But NO ONE wants to apply something semi-permanent, so instead we are going to create handprint henna. On a piece of paper, we will trace our hands and then using q-tips and paint, we will create our own patterns.

I originally had someone who was going to demonstrate applying henna, but the timing didn’t workout.

But, I think this will still be a great way to learn about henna, while incorporating a fun craft element into the program.

How’d it go:

This was a small group but we had a nice discussion and everyone was able to take turns showing their handprint henna art. This is definitely something I would do again virtually or in-person.

That’s all for now!


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