Saturday, December 1, 2007

Henna Tips & Pics

Sandy and I signed up for a henna class through Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation. It is SO FUN!!!!! Here's what we did in our first class, with a test henna that faded after a day.

April 14, 2008
I just started doing swirls on my palm. It kind of looks like a tree. Then I started doing swirls on my wrist. I did not have a plan!

I even did along the side of my finger.

The henna dries in about 15-20 minutes. It kind of flakes off, or you can rub it off. Here I just squished my hand up and released, and in the next picture you can see where pieces came off.

All the little pieces fell off!

I went home and tried to do my foot. A person needs to be either thinner than me or more flexible. It was hard to do the side. Plus, again, I didn't have a plan. I just started squiggling.

Here's what we did in our second class, with a henna that will darken over the next few days, then begin to fade. It will last 2 weeks.

April 21, 2008
Sandy's left hand. She selected this design from a book. I did the art.

Sandy's right hand. Again, this was from a book and I did the art.

My left hand. I did this myself, from a picture I got off the internet. Mine turned out a little bigger in scale than the original, but it's still pretty close, I think. Not bad for just starting out! The original is here:

This is what it looks like when the henna comes off. It will darken throughout the next two days, then fade over the next two weeks.

This is one I got off the internet. It was the inspiration for the one below, which the instructor did for me on my right hand. I really wanted a cuff.

My hand! She only did the cuff on the front, so next time I do one, I'm going to do it all the way around.

And after the henna comes off.

I am buying some tubes of henna from her so I can continue to play with it. It's a lot of fun! I don't know why I can decorate with a tube of henna but I can't write someone's name on the top of a cake. It's one of nature's mysteries.

April 25, 2008
Here is my calf. I was playing around at Roger's house while Roger decorated Chelle in the other room. I won't say where. :)

Here are Chelle's feet that I did, based off a design we got off the internet. I think I did all right, but I do need to work on my flowers.

Next week in our last class we do feet! I hope someone else will do mine. :)

Our last henna class, Monday April 28th

The instructore, Bhavna Shah, decorates my feet.

This is Sandy's foot that I decorated.

My feet one week after the teacher did them.

My feet are holding up much better than my hands did! And yes, I realize the chipping polish on two toes is bad. I have a gift card for a pedicure and now that we're entering sandal season I'll make an appointment. Geez.

May 6, 2008
No more henna class! The instructor did give us some good tips, though. Several people had trouble with the henna fading too fast. She told us you could wait until it has dried but not flaked off and hold your hand above a pot of boiling water with a cloth in it. The steam will heat your hand and moisten the henna so it will start absorbing again.

Or, you can mix lemon juice and sugar together and when your henna has dried but not started flaking off, you can carefully dab on the mixture using a cotton ball. This will make your hands VERY STICKY! If you wait until pieces have started flaking off, some won't be darkened by using the lemon sugar. If you try using it before the henna has completely dried, it can run and smear. Also, since you're supposed to keep it away from water for 24 hours, you can't wash off the stickiness. I covered my hand with a plastic bag after the lemon sugar mix was dry and left that on while I slept, then washed it all off this morning.

She also said warm skin absorbs the henna better than cool skin. I don't know about dry versus oily, but I would suspect dry skin would not absorb color as well. And places with constant friction, like between your fingers or the side of your hand where it rests against the desk, will fade much faster than other places. So pick your spot carefully!

Here is my left hand, which I did last night. It's my best work yet!

This is how it looked this morning. You can tell it's a lot darker than the handwork I did a couple of weeks ago without the lemon sugar added on later. It's very orangey but will darken to brown over the next couple of days and then start to fade away.

A couple of the flower spots on my fingers got smudged a bit because I put the lemon sugar on before they were dry enough. I used a Q-tip and some hydrogen peroxide to try to clean it up a bit, but it didn't work all that well. I'm also going to try isopropyl alcohol and see if that does any better. She told us to use peroxide in class.

I have another idea for the next time I decorate. I'm going to let it dry and when it's dry I'm going to dunk my hand in my paraffin spa and cover it in hot wax, let that dry a moment, dunk it again, then wrap the hand in plastic and a heating mitt for about 15 minutes and see what happens. The hot wax might make the henna melt all over the place, or the heat from it might help set the color better. Total experiment. I'll let you know what happens. :)


Edith tries henna! We were having GNO at Mandy's house and I promised them I would do a henna design. Edith got bored while I was working on her foot and she made her very first henna design on her leg. Pretty darned good!!!

This is the design I did on Edith's foot.

She said it made her foot look dainty. :)

This is the design Mandy wanted on her hand. She picked two smallish designs and we did one on the wrist and one on the back of the hand. They matched pretty well!

And I did this very simple little scroll across the back of my hand.

Then Edith tried a design on my foot. I had been planning to do this one myself, but the circle made me leery. Hard to draw a perfect circle on the top of your foot! So here you see the original drawing and Edith's rendition.

I'm still going to try to do it myself sometime. Can't be afraid of drawing circles forever!


I wanted to try the Druidic Threefold Sister Goddess symbol (Fotla/Eiru/Banba), which symbolizes Maiden, Mother, Crone. It's a simple image, but it's a lot harder to draw than it looks!!!!!

The way it looks:

The way it's supposed to look:

I drew one on Mom and two on me and none were very good. For one thing, I screwed up the direction of each spiral. But I will be trying this one out again.

Later that night I decided to try an ankle bracelet. I knew this would be challenging because I am not very flexible and I do have a bit of a belly in the way. So I started with the back and worked my way around. I think it turned out pretty good!!!!!

See how pretty I can make my foot look when I pose it? :)


I did this to Sandy's hand in the last 20 minutes of lunch today. She picked the design. She needed a perk-me-up!

I think this might be my last henna picture here. I think I'm going to look into creating a slideshow or something to display the designs, because the post is getting kind of longgggggggg. :) We'll see!

Remember a while back I said I was going to test henna with the hot wax you dip your hands and feet in to soften your skin? Well, I finally did it. It really does make a dramatic difference in color absorption! Here are my right and left feet, respectively. (By the way, I was not happy with either design and it led me to wonder if I am more creative during certain phases of the moon than others, so to speak.)

I dipped the left foot (swirls) in hot wax and let it sit for about 20 minutes in its little baggie, then took off the wax and did my design. On the right foot (dragonfly and flower), I did the design first and then dipped it in the wax and wrapped it in its little baggie and let it sit about 20 minutes.

The one I henna'd first and waxed last took the color MUCH darker than the other foot, which took it about as usual. I was amazed at the difference.

I had wanted to do my hand, too, but by this point my drawing hand was cramping up so I did a quick design on my palm to try the wax thing there.

Henna drawing, drying:

I dipped my hand in the wax, waited a moment, dipped it a second time, then put my hand in the plastic baggie and terry mitt. I waited about 20 minutes and then took the mitt and plastic off, but you know I just had to play, so I cut around the design and peeled off everything else and left the wax on my hand for about an hour, as seen below:

My notes: Don't bother using the dipping wax BEFORE you henna. It doesn't make a difference in the color absorption and it makes your skin really slick from the wax, so the henna tends to want to slide off instead of sticking to your skin. Makes it very tricky to draw.

Drawing with henna and then dipping is pretty fun. :) You get the lovely henna picture PLUS really soft skin. :)

The negative is it takes about an hour for the wax to melt, though if you turn on your wax melter, get everything set up, then start making your design, it can work out about right, depending on how long it takes you to draw.

I would also not recommend trying to do more than one henna drawing at a time, because your hand will get sore. Part of the problem was the henna I am currently using has some seeds that get stuck in the hole, and I tend to make the hole really small because I like a fine line, so I would squeeze and squeeze the tube and no henna would come out and then I'd have to clear the opening. Also, for me at least, it seems to take extra care to do my feet because they're so far away and I can't get at them from a good angle, so I end up holding the henna tube funny. By the time I got to my third drawing last night, my hand was tired!

I also read some tips on sealing your design. To help the color take better, you can seal the design with liquid skin (like what they use at the hospital to seal a cut), liquid latex, or spray hair gel. You can also use, as I mentioned previously, the lemon and sugar mixture, but this article recommended boiling them together and letting them cool, then applying. I don't know how much of a difference that would make, but the amount I used on myself would have been difficult to bring to a boil because it was so little.

For an overnight absorption, this article then recommended letting the seal dry, sticking toilet paper between your fingers (or toes) and then wrapping around your hand (or foot) and then putting it in plastic. The article showed like saran wrap, but I used a baggie and it worked just fine. They recommend the toilet paper because it helps absorb the sweat so your henna won't smudge or run. I did have a problem with that when I tried doing it overnight, but I assumed it was because I applied the lemon/sugar before the henna was completely dry. Hard to say.

I don't know if my foot design I just did will last longer than the one I did on my hand a few weeks ago when I used the lemon/sugar seal, but the color is just as dark so I think the hot wax may work just as nicely and be less sticky and messy to deal with than the lemon/sugar/toilet paper/plastic.

I would say that when you peel the cooled wax away, be careful. Last night the one on my foot left behind some of the henna, which was again moist because of the moisture from the hot wax, so that color was still taking in the spots where the henna remained. But by the time I took the wax off my palm, which was about an hour later, it pulled almost all the henna off with it.

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