Friday, June 8, 2012

A Word About Henna Tattoos

I've been fascinated by henna tattoos for a while now. I'm not sure when my interest started or where. Last summer, my sisters and I bought our first henna kit and did a few tattoos. This year, a friend asked if I would do henna tattoos for her daughter's birthday party. It sounded like too much fun to pass up (and it was a blast!).

If you are interested in henna tattoos, here are a couple pointers.

1. Invest in a decent kit. 

I've used Earth Henna's Kit (available on Amazon) twice now and loved it both times. It comes with everything you need and the henna lasts 10-15 days, depending on how long you leave the henna on and how much you wash the area. I tried another brand that was much cheaper and I didn't like it at all. The Earth Henna kit has a squeeze bottle applicator with a syringe tip, while the cheaper kit had a bag and nozzle setup that I found nearly impossible to manage.

2. Practice! Practice! Practice!

One of the girls at the party brought a book on the art of henna which recommended you keep a notebook with you to sketch things that might inspire your designs. I practice my henna designs (or Celtic knots) every Sunday. I'm a doodler and can pay attention better if I have something to scribble on. You can check my notes, every blank is filled in, but the top usually looks something like this:

From time to time, I look up new designs on the internet and draw whatever catches my eye. I'd love to give credit to the websites where I got these designs, but I've lost the links. These are hand-drawn (the blue ones with a fountain pen, the black with a fine point pen). I suppose a permanent marker would be a better facsimile for the henna tattoo applicator's width, but I was trying to jot as many ideas as possible on one page.

The kit also suggests you use toothpaste in the applicator to familiarize yourself with it. Our favorite ceramics place uses the same type of applicators so we get lots of practice with them there.

3. Think about design and placement. 

A lot of the above designs are meant for hand placement, but can adapted elsewhere. I've seen some beautiful henna tattoos on pregnant women's bellies. Also, the tattoo will remain for up to two weeks. If your workplace has policies against visible tattoos, you may need to rethink the gorgeous hand design.

Doing a henna tattoo is also a great way to try out the placement of a permanent tattoo. If you apply the design with henna, you'll have a couple weeks to see how easy it is to live with/show off/cover up.

4. Have fun with it!

Traditional style tattoos are gorgeous, but no one said you have to stick to them. At the party, we were drawing unicorns, cats, infinity love symbols, etc. Here are some of the designs we painted:

I hope this helps!

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