Introduction: KOLAM PAINTING!!

Hello! In this instructable I'll be showing you how to paint using the kolam technique which is actually a Indian rangoli form.

Indians love colors and its natural to show the love for colors in many ways. Indian rangoli is an unique art work which is practiced throughout India.

Kolam is a form of rangoli that is drawn by using rice flour, chalk, chalk powder or rock powder, naturally or synthetically colored powders, in the Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and some parts of Goa, Maharashtra.

A Kolam is a geometrical line drawing composed of curved loops, drawn around a grid pattern of dots. It is a symbol of auspiciousness. Kolam is regarded as a sort of painted prayer in South India.It is Hindu belief that the geometrical patterns & designs applied with rice flour at the entrance to a home, invites Goddess Lakshmi (the Goddess of prosperity and wealth) into the household, and drives away the evil spirits.

Though not as flamboyant as its other Indian contemporary, Rangoli, which is extremely colourful, a South Indian Kolam is all about symmetry, precision, and complexity.Due to their complexity, trying to figure out how, exactly, these designs were drawn can be a challenge that some viewers find enjoyable.

So let us get started.


1. Drawing sheet ( I'll be using A3, you may use any other)

(You need not paint on a paper only, feel free to use canvas or fabric or any surface that you wish)

2. Poster colors

(in case you use a canvas,you will need acrylic colors and in case you wanna paint on any fabric you will require fabric colors)

3. Pencil (A normal HB pencil would do)

4. Ruler

5.Brush (Size 00, 0, 1, 2 should suffice)

6. Eraser

Step 1: Getting Familiar With Kolam

There are many variants of Kolam Art

1. A pattern in which strokes are connected between the dots. Sometimes it represents kinds of objects, flowers, or animals etc.

2.A pattern in which a stroke runs once around each dot, and goes to the beginning point, as a mostly geometrical figure.

3. A pattern using only part of the dot grid. If that is the case, the same pattern or a different pattern fills/uses up the remaining dot grids. Most of the times, these patterns together end up becoming a complex pattern.

4. A pattern in which a stroke runs around each dot not completely, but open.

5. A pattern which is drawn in a freestyle and mostly colorized.

6.A pattern in which dots are set in a radial arrangement, called Lotus.

In this instructable, we shall paint using the first variant of this beautiful Indian folk-art

Step 2: Practicing a Bit (Optional)

This step is just to give you an idea of how this kolam technique works so that you are not just limited to what I'll be showing you, but can create something of your own too!

1) So for the first pattern,

The dot grid needs to have 9 rows with 1 dot in the 1st row, 3 in 2nd , 5 in 3rd, 7 in 4th, 9 in 5th, 7 in 6th, 5 in 7th, 3 in 8th and 1 in 9th (refer to the figure for easier understanding)

I'll be marking dots at a distance of 1 cm (depends on the paper size actually).

Then follow the steps exactly as shown in the figure.

2) For the second pattern,

The dot grid needs to have 7 rows with 4 dots in 1st row, 5 in 2nd, 6 in 3rd, 7 in 4th, 6 in 5th, 5 in 6th and 4 in 7th.

Again I'll be marking dots at a distance of 1 cm (and again it depends on the paper size)

Now follow the steps as shown in the figure

(Note that the major difference between this pattern and the previous one lies in the dot grid.In the grid for the first pattern the dots lie in 1 straight column. This is not true for the grid for the second pattern)

These two are samples of what you can do with kolam technique,

Now lets head on to our main Artwork!

Step 3: Making the Dot Grid

Now we shall start with our actual painting

for this we shall make a dot grid

(I have drawn a line grid in order to assist me in marking the dots however if you feel that you can manage without the lines you are free to do so)

This dot grid consists of 11 rows

there are

6 dots in 1st row

7 in 2nd,

8 in 3rd,

9 in 4th,

10 in 5th,

11 in 6th,

10 in 7th,

9 in 8th,

8 in 9th,

7 in 10th

and 6 in 11th

after you are done marking the dots , erase the guidelines (if drawn)

And your grid is ready!

Step 4: Joining the Dots!

Now all you have to do is join the dots according to the pictures above

and you shall have your basic design ready.

Step 5: Enhancing the Sketch!

Time to beautify our sketch further!

Add some embellishments to the central hexagon.

And decorate the kalasha. (the metal pot or Kalasha represents a container of fertility - the earth and the womb, which nurtures and nourishes life. The mango leaves associated with Kama, the god of love, symbolize the pleasure aspect of fertility. The coconut, a cash crop, represents prosperity and power.)

P.S.- you can either add details to your sketch by referring to the pictures provided above or by letting your creativity flow and adding details on your own.

Step 6: Adding Some Colors!

Now Grab some and paint it with colors of your choice!

Make sure that you use colors that go well with each other and balance the entire design.

I have used analogous color scheme for each element of the design that is,

- Blue and green for the central hexagon.

- Red, Orange ,Yellow for the kalasha.

- Blue and Violet for the flowers.

when the entire design is considered, i have contrasted the Red of the kalasha with the Green of the central hexagon.

Use of color schemes (and avoiding the use of ALLLL the colors ) makes the design look attractive and beautiful.

Step 7: Border It (Optional)

Border your entire design in black with the help of a thin brush ( I used a 00)

P.S.- i felt that the design gets a better look with a black border, however for you this step is optional.


Admire your work!

Thanks for taking out time to follow up through this instructable!

Paint Challenge

Participated in the
Paint Challenge

Be the First to Share


    • Plastic Contest

      Plastic Contest
    • The 1000th Contest

      The 1000th Contest
    • Battery Powered Contest

      Battery Powered Contest

    2 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Your work is beautiful and the tutorial is easy to follow and understand. Thank you for sharing part of your culture through art with the Kolam Technique. This a style I do want to do.


    1 year ago

    Thank you, I've learned something new! Definitely want to try it out :)