Introduction: How to Apply Henna (Mehndi) on Your Hands!

About: I am an obsessive Artist and Baker. I love to make things on my own and of my own ideas but also like to try making others stuff too! I can't relax if I see something which I don't know how to make! And i don'…

Henna is basically a dye that gives a cooling effect when applied on the skin and gives red color to it. It is mostly used on hair as a natural dye but is commonly used to decorate hands.
When it dries completely, the skin or hair is washed with water to reveal the dyed color.
Asian brides are not complete until they have applied Henna on their hands and feet.

In this instructable, I will show you how to apply Henna on hands and make different designs with it.

What will you need:
Henna(mehndi) cone (pencil cone is better)
A printed copy of Henna design
A transparent Glass sheet (you may use clear plastic sheet instead)
Tissue paper
Glitter cone (optional)
A4 sheet or plain piece of paper

Things to Remember
Nowadays the henna cone contains some chemicals, so if you are allergic or your skin is sensitive, then check a little amount of henna on your palm before making the whole design. If it gives you itcy or burning feeling, do not use it. Sometimes, it happens when the henna is expired so make sure to use the fresh one.

Also, if you have done waxing on an area where you are going to apply henna, do not do it just after waxing. Wait a day or two, as skin pores will be opened and henna contains some chemical. This situation may cause damage or irritation on your skin.

Henna gives different color on different skins. On palms, the color is darkest, near to black sometimes. On the other side of hand, the color is much lighter and then on arm it gets lighter. The color comes best after one or two days. You will notice the difference of the color everyday, first it goes darker, then after few days, it goes lighter and finally its gone!

Step 1: The Basics of Applying Henna

Before you can master the art of applying Henna on hands, you must practise on glass sheet

Place henna design on a table or some hard surface. Lay a sheet of clear glass on it to cover it completely.

The main thing to apply Henna from cone is to hold the cone correctly. Hold it in your right hand (if you are Right-handed), taking photo as a guide. Your hand must be comfortable while holding it and try to squeeze to see how comfortably you can do it. Squeeze little at a time, do not apply too much force as the henna mixture is in liquid form and at the beginning, it comes out of the cone without squeezing. Learn as you do!

Take out the pin from the cone when you are using it and keep it in someplace safe. And do not forget to put it back in the cone when you have done working.

When you are ready to start, take the pin out of cone and squeeze a little henna on a piece of tissue paper. It will be black in the beginning and hard too, keep squeezing it until the mixture comes out of light color and is soft.

As you start applying, the tip keeps on get messy, so keep cleaning it with tissue paper. The cleaner the tip, the neater will be your work.

Now you have learnt how to squeeze, clean and hold the cone. Start applying the henna on the glass sheet following the design from the paper. As a beginner, your hand will keep shivering, the lines will be wavy and it will be messy. Do not worry it happens.

Place the design in front of you as the fingers will be near to you and the wrist away. The reason for this positioning is that whenever you apply henna on someone’s hand, you will never start from fingers as they will be near to you. You have to start from the farthest place and come to nearest. Otherwise the whole hand will get messy!

If you have made some mistake while applying it, do not worry. Just wipe off with tissue paper. But when you are working on skin, then it will definitely leave its color.

Now what you need for perfection is….practise! It is the regular practise that will improve your handling and applying skills. Keep practising on glass sheet as you can see, you can wash it easily. Let it dry for the next use or wipe it with tissue paper if henna is not completely dried.

Step 2: How to Make Small Henna Designs

Straight lines – first practice making straight lines parallel to each other. This way you will get hold on the cone and the pressure exert on it.

Dot – it is the basic design. Practice making dots smaller and cleaner.

Comma - first make a dot without lifting the cone away but giving the curve and then lift it away.

Stamen – first make a dot then keep the pressure downwards and lift cone to make a pointed end.

Making heart – it can be used as a petal too. Make one Stamen first. Then make a dot beside it, joining the two ends as you finish it.

Step 3: Making Petals

Petal 1 – Make a stamen. Again go to the starting point and make an S-shaped line. To highlight the petal, bold the outer part of the petal by again applying henna. Petal is completed now make some filaments with thin lines.

Petal 2 – Make a thick stamen. Make another just like it beside it and join at the end, not pointed but blunt.

Petal 3 – Make a curvy 7 first. Make another joining from the starting point just like a heart but do not close it. Highlight the petal by making outerline thick. Make filaments in the center with thin lines. 

Petal 4 – First make a comma, then again from starting point make a stamen just like an invert U.  Highlight its curve.

Step 4: Larger Abstract Designs

Making a big circle – Start from the central point as a dot then keep applying henna spirally until you have made it big enough as per required.

More - You can make different designs by making curvy lines then joining them together, examples in the photos. You can let them empty, fill with different strokes or fill them up completely.

Step 5: Practice Without Tracing

When you can see that designs you make with henna are no longer messy, and you have got control over the cone squeezing it and your hands are no longer shivering while making it, then you are ready for the next step.

Take an A4 sheet or a plain piece of paper. Place your left hand on it if you are right-handed and vice versa. With pencil draw an outline of your hand on paper.

After tracing, rotate the tracing so that fingers are towards you, place glass sheet on it as you did for printed design.

Put the printed design beside hand-tracing so they are parallel and near enough.

As a beginner it will be difficult for you to decide that from where you should start applying henna. So at this stage, start from the base of index finger. See the design from printed paper and trace it on the glass sheet just by looking it as you are making a sketch.

Now start making design from wrist to the thumb.

 In this way, your design will get divided and you will know exactly what your design is and how you can make it on hand.

Now make the design which will come in the center of hand till the index finger.

After the palm is completed, come towards remaining fingers, starting from the middle one to the pinky.

Now practise this technique until you can judge the proportions of design on hand. Make another tracing of your hand but this time right one and practice on it too, so you can perfect both the hands.

When you see you are good at this, then…. its time for trying out on a real hand! Time to call your friends!

Step 6: Apply Henna on Hand

Place a cushion under your friend’s hand. Now you can do this step while sitting on a sofa, ground or bed. Be easy, be comfortable and do not listen to nearby people’s teasing and do not get too much excited or you will end up doing everything wrong.

Till now, you must have learnt how to make a design just by seeing it, so start from the place farthest from you - the wrist and proceed towards the thumb.

Then center of the hand to the index finger.

Then from the middle finger to the pinky and finish the design!

Wait for henna to dry. It dries very quickly as you apply it but as it is a form of dye so you have to wait till it dyes completely on the hand – about 10 hours (maximum)- the best way to do this is to apply henna before going to bed and wash it off when you wake up in the morning. Wash it with tap water and see the result.

Step 7: A Video for Inspiration and Some Glitter for Decoration!

Here is a video on How to apply Henna on Hand. It will really inspire you!

You can also decorate henna with glitter. Glitter cones are available in different colors. When you are going somewhere, apply glitter one hour earlier and let it dry completely as it takes longer time to dry. Then keep your hands away from the water as it is water-soluble so not to ruin your work! 
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