Mehndi Hands


Temporary henna tattoos or Mehndi has been a part of celebrations in India for centuries. Learn about this decorative body art and create your own design.


1. Mehndi, the art of henna painting on the body, has been practiced in parts of India, Africa and the Middle East for centuries. Dried henna plant leaves are made into a paste that produces a temporary dye that lasts up to three weeks. This dye is used to make designs to decorate the skin – usually on hands and feet.

2. Mehndi has traditionally been used to adorn wearers for wedding ceremonies and other cultural celebrations. Designs can be intricate and include elements like flowers, swirls, dots and teardrops. How do Mehndi designs vary from culture to culture?

3. Create a hand to decorate with Mehndi designs by tracing your hand with the fingers spread apart on a piece of construction paper. Use scissors to cut out the hand shape.

4. Study pictures of Mehndi designs. Use a colored pencil to lightly sketch a design on the hand. Make your design intricate and incorporate traditional shapes and patterns.

5. Use a marker to trace over the design. Add interest to your project by using thick and thin marker lines. Make thick lines by drawing with the side of the marker and thin lines by drawing with the tip. Create different effects by drawing squiggly, jagged, wavy or bumpy lines with the side of the marker.

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Scissors—ATTENTION: The cutting edges of scissors are sharp and care should be taken whenever cutting or handling. Blunt-tip scissors should be used only by children 4 years and older. Pointed-tip scissors should be used only by children 6 years and older.


  • Research what holidays in India include the use of Mehndi as part of the celebration. Create a drawing to depict one of the holidays.
  • The use of henna dye as a body adornment goes back to the ancient Egyptian culture. Learn how the Egyptians used henna.
  • Invite a Mehndi artist to come into the class and demonstrate the process.

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Classic Colored Pencils
  • Markers
  • Classic Markers
  • Pointed Tip Scissors
  • Construction Paper



  • Grades 1 to 3
  • Grades 4 to 6


  • Social Studies
  • Visual Arts


  • 30 to 60 minutes


  • Students research traditional and modern uses for Mehndi, the art of henna body painting.

  • Students observe different designs used in Mehndi and discuss the shapes and patterns.

  • Students create an individual Mehndi design hand drawing using a variety of marker techniques.


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