Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dyeing with Henna


I love henna and I am always looking for opportunities to incorporate the rich, warm orange brown of the henna color into my work. I found a wonderful use for it in the carved white bone components that I have been accumulating for a while. These carved bone components make for fabulous jewelry designs but one of the disadvantages of using them is that they tend to yellow over a period of time due to exposure to air and contact with the skin. I had tried to polish them in various ways but could not bring back the original whiteness. This was when I decided to dye them with henna, and what I realized was that the new coloring expanded the jewelry designing possibilities. Henna's deep orange color allowed me to add more coordinating and contrasting colors in the necklaces and earrings which made everything glow.


The photo below provides the before and after views. As you can notice the coloring brings out the details of the carving much more sharply. I use simple but effective techniques to get the deep rich color of the henna on to the components. The instructions are below:


Henna powder (you can buy it from any Indian store or online)
essential oil ((black pepper oil, frankincense oil or eucalyptus oil) or plain vinegar
Bone beads

Blend henna and water to a cream like consistency.
Add a few drop of essential oil  or  plain vinegar.
Place the bead components into the henna mixture and cover them completely with the paste.
Cover and let it sit in a warm place for a few hours.
(I usually let it sit outside on a sunny spot.) 

Once you are satisfied with the dye color, take it out and wash it with cold water (no soap, please). Dry and buff it with a soft cloth. The buffing will bring out the shine.

The amount of oil and the length of time for marinating the beads will depend upon the depth of color you want. With a little oil and warmth, henna will dye to a rich hue. If you want something paler, reduce or eliminate either or both. Below is a lighter version of the dye.

Thanks for visiting.


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