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Monday, August 31, 2015

Fun with Henna

Tools of the trade: a spray bottle filled with lemon juice sealant, and my henna cone

For the first time in some weeks, I did a henna tattoo. Normally, I reserve doing this particular activity for Sunday as it's a leisurely hobby. But, the baby was being demanding and by the time she got to sleep, it was too late for me to henna myself (cuz that's parenthood!).

So, while she took her mid-morning nap the following Monday, I took some time to myself to do a freehand henna tattoo of a peacock on my thigh. I did it completely off the cuff, so if it looks kinda random, it is.

Technically, it's upside down. But, it's practice so I don't really care

After I sprayed on my sealant. I think I put on a bit too much...

And then while playing, the baby kicked the design and smeared it. Guess it wasn't as dry as I thought

I make my own henna paste. The recipe I use is not too different from that of the henna I color my hair with (see here for that post), but with the addition of lavender essential oil and sugar for enhanced stain and staying power, respectively. As for the applicator, I use cellophane chip bags cut down to my preferred size and rolled into cones. I've seen cellophane squares sold on henna vendors sites specifically for cone rolling, but I'd rather use chip bags cuz I find the cellophane squares expensive. Also, with chip bags, I can buy them with food stamps so it's a better value for me (eat the chips, and use the bags for cone rolling). I started out using bottles, but cones are more traditional and more cost effective in the long run.

The sealant spray, however, is a completely new endeavor. Traditionally, I always used paper tape to seal my henna designs (something I learned from my friend who taught me the art of hennaing). However, having to always buy paper tape from the drugstore or dollar store tends to get a bit costly after a while. So, I decided to experiment with making a sealant spray. After I found a recipe to make sealant spray in a Facebook henna group I belong to, I made the spray using lemon juice and sugar, plus a bit of water to get the consistency of the sealant to a fine mist when sprayed.

This particular hobby of mine is one I've done on and off for years as I could afford to. This is why my work looks so amateurish. But, hennaing is an exercise in skill, technique, and patience. A cursory search on Google or Pinterest will yield all sorts of amazing images of henna tattoos. One day, I aspire to join those ranks too.

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