How to make a Diwali Diya Lamp

Updated February 21, 2017

The 5-day festival of Diwali commemorates several events in the Hindu religion. After 14 years in exile, Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya, Lord Vishnu rescued Lakshmi (the Goddess of prosperity) from King Bali and Lord Krishna defeated the evil demon, Naraksura. To celebrate, the people illuminated the village and their homes with diya lamps. Today, this tradition of lighting a diya lamp for Diwali continues. Brighten your blessings by learning how to make a Diwali diya lamp.

Prepare to make your Diwali diya lamp by rolling a piece of clay several times to remove any air bubbles. It's easiest to work with a clay that doesn't require baking and that will harden by air drying, such as Makin's No Bake Polymer clay (see Resources below).

Mold the clay into the desired shape for your Diwali diya lamp. Traditionally, diya lamps are made small enough to be held in the palm of the hand. However, you can make your diya lamp into any shape--round, square, oval or even curved.

Finish shaping your Diwali diya lamp by using your thumb to make a depression in the center large enough to hold a votive candle. When this is done, allow the clay to dry for 24 hours to harden completely.

Paint your dried diya lamp. You may paint the lamp in one solid colour, or express your creativity by painting a pattern or design in multiple, bright colours. Some favorite colours used to decorate for Diwali include red, purple, yellow and blue. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly before proceeding.

Decorate your Diwali diya lamp with colourful, shiny sequins. Use a small dab of clear, fast drying glue to affix them onto the lamp.

Insert a votive candle into the center of your finished Diwali diya lamp and contemplate the many blessings in your life. Using your Diwali diya lamp in this manner may encourage the Goddess of fortune and prosperity to smile upon you!


A diya lamp that is purchased is made from earthenware and usually contains oil with a wick that has been dipped in ghee. DIY versions make a Diwali diya lamp using a votive candle, an acceptable and popular alternative to the traditional oil diya lamp. Diya lamps (also called Diwa or Diva lamps) are burned in the home, office, school and outdoors at any time of day. They are also sometimes lit and floated down a river or in another body of water in honor of deceased ancestors.

Things You'll Need

  • Sequins
  • Clear glue
  • Clay
  • Paint(s) in your colour(s) of choice
  • Votive candle
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