Teach Yourself Henna Tattoo

Making Mehndi Art with Easy-to-Follow Instructions, Patterns, and Projects

Brenda Abdoyan

1. Mehndi (Body painting) 2. Temporary tattoos

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Book Details
 152 p
 File Size 
 18,041 KB
 File Type
 PDF format
 2012 by Brenda Abdoyan and Design Originals,
 www.d-originals.com, 800-457-9112,
 1970 Broad Street, East Petersburg,
 PA 17520. Photography by Brenda Abdoyan, Bajidoo, Inc.

About the Author
Brenda Abdoyan, a San Francisco-based child of the 1960s who considers
everything to be art, is principal artist and designer at Bajidoo, Inc., a jewelry
and design studio. Inspired by things from everyday life, she begins her creations
with realism and then sprinkles them with the spice of life. Recently, she won
top honors for the Designer Press Kit Award at a Craft and Hobby Association show.
She holds a degree in business administration and project management from the
University of Phoenix. After more than 20 years as a senior business analyst in
corporate America, she left it all to pursue her passion. Henna art was the road
that took her home. Her first YouTube video on henna tattoo design led to her
work being included in the March 2009 cable channel series My Art by Ovation
Television. From there, she has expanded her henna canvas to include leather,
wood, and bangles. Follow her at www.bajidoo.com.

A prudent question is one-half of wisdom. — Francis Bacon

My henna saga began with a trip to the Middle East in 2000. Unlike the henna
tattoo artist you may find on the beach in summer or in your favorite theme
parks, henna artists in the Middle East apply tattoos behind the blacked-out
windows of a beauty salon. The windows are blacked out to preserve the
modesty of the ladies inside; the henna application is a complete experience.
A friend (the sister of the man who would later become my husband) and I
entered the salon and were led up a dark, steep, narrow stairway. When we
reentered the light at the top of stairs, we were in another world. Aromas
assaulted us—cardamom spice in Arabic coffee (the essential oils used in henna
paste) and burning incense.

The room, which comprised the entire upper floor, had no stations where a
guest would sit in a specific chair for her henna application. Instead, the space
was nearly empty in the center with banks of ornately decorated pillows along
the sides. We simply sat on a mass of these overly soft pillows and the work began.

Since both my hands and feet were being done, four young girls worked
through the designs, one on each hand and each foot. These four girls talked and
giggled amongst themselves, only occasionally putting together a few words in
English to ask me questions about my prior experience with henna tattoos (at
that time, I had none). Something about those moments ignited a spark in me
that continues to burn.

While the use of henna for tattoos is difficult to trace, evidence shows that it
stretches back more than 5,000 years to the days of ancient Egypt when a henna
dye was used to stain the fingers and toes of the pharaohs prior to their
mummification. Henna tattooing has a long history among many Eastern
cultures. The designs tend to fall into four styles based on the region. The
Middle Eastern style in the Arab world features floral designs that do not follow
a distinctive pattern. In North Africa, henna tattoos are geometrical and follow
the shape of the wearer’s hands and feet. In India and Pakistan, the designs cover
more of the body, extending up arms and legs to give the impression of gloves or
more of the body, extending up arms and legs to give the impression of gloves or
stockings. Henna tattoos in Indonesia and southern Asia are often blocks of color
on the tips of the fingers and toes.

Many of the historical styles of henna tattoos remain popular today, but their
use has grown to include Celtic designs, Chinese characters, and American
Indian symbols. Because of the temporary nature of henna tattoos, many people
have begun experimenting with designs that express their individual styles and beliefs.

Culturally,  the most common modern reference to henna tattooing is its use in
the most common modern reference to henna tattooing is its use in
traditional Hindu wedding ceremonies. Intricate designs, known as Mehndi, are
applied to the bride’s hands and feet to symbolize her commitment to her
husband-to-be. Since the henna paste must remain on the skin for a couple of
days, it restricts the movements and tasks of the bride. Its application gives her
time to reflect on her upcoming marriage.

Henna is like many things: What you get out of it is directly proportional to
what you put into it. While I started learning about henna in 2000, I only began
to work with henna paste at the beginning of 2008. Yes, you read that right. The
first henna tattoo I made was on my right foot. I sat on my patio and drew on my foot.

I did a terrible job. I made the paste wrong; it was too thin. I had no
coordination to create the images I had seen in books and online. I was
completely frustrated. Even worse, after all my trouble, my ugly little tattoo
image never even got dark! In no time at all I figured out that knowing the
history and traditions of henna was fulfilling on one level, but tattoos wouldn’t
just spring forth from my hands because I had studied so diligently. To find
fulfillment, I had to do more work in an entirely new direction.

This book is my way of helping you skip some or all of my frustration. I’ve
included an extensive section on making henna paste and applying it (page 12).
You will find information on the basic lines you’ll need to master before
creating beautiful tattoos. Don’t skip this section! The better control you have in
making the basic lines—which are the foundation of all henna tattoos—the
better your finished tattoos will look.
be able to adapt these designs. I’ve also included the templates I use to develop
new designs. Just follow the shape of the hand or foot to create your own unique
henna tattoos.

Finally, the stain left behind from the application of henna paste is not just
ideal for skin, but it also works well on other mediums, including wood and
leather. Henna designs applied to the latter may fade a bit, but they won’t wear
off like the henna tattoos applied to your skin! Check out some of my ideas for
henna on objects on page 98.
If you try henna tattooing and have difficulty, snap a picture and email it to
me at info@bajidoo.com. I will respond as quickly as I am able with some suggestions.

A random event on a short holiday was the spark that quickly caused a
firestorm of creativity deep in my heart. From the first instant that henna entered
my life, it was kismet. I hope this book provides a similar spark of passion in
you. So let’s get started making the paste and creating beautiful henna tattoos.
Brenda Abdoyan, Bajidoo, Inc.

Table of Contents

Making Henna Paste
Applying Henna Paste

Your First Tattoo
Finger Tattoo
Lace Glove

Additional Elements



The first step in mastering the art of henna tattoos
is to make sure you have the right materials on
hand. The items you’ll need to create your own
henna tattoos are not costly, but you’ll want to
have everything readily available before you get
started. After that, it’s practice, practice, practice!
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