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The Art of Mehndi

Creating Your Own Henna Patterns & Designs


The Art of Mehndi

Sample Pattern

Before you actually apply the henna, you will want to have an idea in mind as to the pattern or design. There are several ways to do this. You can buy pre-made stencils and use a brush to apply the henna.

This is probably the easiest way, but it also doesn't look as nice and is nowhere near as detailed as a hand-applied design. Last time we discussed making your own henna cones, which leads to applying the paste by hand. Here, we will explore ways to create henna patterns and where you can find free patterns for download. Creating your own henna pattern is really very simple as long as you have an imagination. It doesn't require a lot of artistic skills, just creativity. Most traditional henna patterns are based on very simple shapes - circles, triangles and lines are the most basic. These shapes can be combined to create a very intricate pattern and a very beautiful henna design.

In Western civilization, where henna is used purely as an artform and not a ritual, there are no guidelines. There are no meanings behind the shapes or patterns and there are no "rules" as to what you can or cannot do. Just have fun! I usually like to choose one shape to be the "dominant" in a theme and expand on it from there. To the right is an example of a quick sketch I did using a heart as the basic theme. As you can see, it is a very simple pattern, but also very detailed. This design can be done on the outside or the palm of the hand, or it could even be used in part anywhere else on the body. The idea is to get it clear in your mind how you want it to look, and the best way to do this is to get it on paper first. Henna stains very quickly, and it's very difficult to "erase" mistakes.

Once you get your design on paper, you have two options. You can do the design freehand and use your drawing as a guide for comparison, or you can trace the design using a sheet of carbon paper and transfer the pattern to the skin. This can cause difficulty, though, because unless you created the pattern specifically for the person you are going to henna, the pattern may not "fit" properly, causing you undue frustration.

Again, keep in mind that this is just a guide and you can always deviate from the original, if necessary, to tailor it to your customer. It's the freedom that goes along with henna art that makes it so enjoyable and so diverse from one artist to the next. Find your own style and you'll be creating your own patterns like a pro in no time!

If you're just not comfortable drawing your own designs, you're not ready or just need a little inspiration, you can download these free sample patterns to get you started. Have fun!

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