Henna hand designs art lesson

rani henna 6This Henna Hand Designs Art Lesson shows you how to create a unique and unusual self-portrait of your hands! It’s a great art project for kids, because it allows them to learn about:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Other cultures
  2. The role of pattern in abstract art
  3. How to create abstract patterns
  4. How to express themselves in a symbolic way
  5. It’s also a fun art project for adults for the exact same reasons!

First I’ll give you a bit of background info about henna, and then launch into the art project.

 

What is henna?

Henna is a plant that has been used as a dye since the Bronze Ages, primarily in the Eastern Mediterranean region encompassing Northern Africa, Italy, Spain, and the Middle East. It was also widely used in India, where it is still a popular form of temporary body art to this day.

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How is henna used?

To create a dye for the skin, the henna plant is grounded into a paste with a few other ingredients, which is then applied to the body using a cone-shaped funnel. The henna must stay undisturbed on the skin for several hours to properly stain the skin, and then it is washed off. Henna designs can last for days or months.

In India, henna designs on skin are called mehndi.
Henna being applied to a tourist in Rishikesh, India. Photo Credit: McKay Savage
Henna being applied to a tourist in Rishikesh, India. Photo Credit: McKay Savage

 

Why do people decorate their skin with henna?

In many cultures, women have henna decorations applied to their hands and feet for festivals and celebrations. Before a wedding, a bride will have elaborate henna designs drawn onto her hands, arms and sometimes feet. In some regions, the groom will be decorated as well.
Henna on the hands of a bride. Photo Credit: Marian
Henna on the hands of a bride. Photo Credit: Marian

Henna decorations have also become popular in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia, where it takes the form of a “temporary tattoo”.

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