How to Learn Mehndi Designs

Written by sarah rogers
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How to Learn Mehndi Designs
One mehndi design can take hours to apply. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

A tradition of both Southeast Asia and North Africa, mehndi is the application of henna paste to the skin to create aesthetically pleasing designs. Henna is a natural substance that, once mixed with other ingredient like lemon juice and tea, leaves a temporary reddish dye stain on the skin. The design fades in as little as a few days or as many as several weeks. Mehndi designs are typically intricate, elegant and look quite complex. However, mehndi designs consist of repeating patterns and shapes, which arguably require more patience and practice than skill to replicate.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Photos of mehndi designs
  • Writing paper
  • Pencil
  • Tracing paper
  • Henna paste, either ready-made cones or your own henna paste mixture
  • Fine tip paintbrush

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  1. 1

    Find some photos or images of mehndi designs you would like to learn. You can search for them on the Internet or find them in a book at your local bookstore. Choose one design to start with.

  2. 2

    Examine the overall effect of the design. Next, examine the individual elements of the mehndi pattern design and identify any geometric shapes and curves used. On a piece of paper, note the individual shapes you have recognised.

  3. 3

    Put a piece of tracing paper over the mehndi image. Carefully trace the design's building block elements one by one with a pencil until the pattern is complete. Then put aside the tracing paper. With normal paper, practice freehand drawing the separate individual shapes. Do this until you are satisfied with the results. Now freehand draw the complete design. Keep practicing until you are satisfied with the results.

  4. 4

    Dip the paintbrush into the henna paste. Put another piece of tracing paper over the mehndi image. Carefully trace the pattern like you previously did with a pencil. Then put aside the tracing paper once you are satisfied with the results. On a normal piece of writing paper, paint the complete pattern with the henna paste. Repeat this until you are satisfied with the finished look. Now it is time to practice the real thing.

  5. 5

    Apply the henna paste onto the clean skin of a person in the design that you have been learning.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure that you take the curves of the human form into consideration when you apply henna paste to the skin; you may have to repeat a motif sometimes to achieve symmetry.

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