I love these henna designs because they are so lace like in their patterning. These images come from a book on Traditional henna designs by The Peppin Press, which unfortunately doesn’t have an author so I can’t acknowledge them. The book is full of beautiful designs for hands and feet and also separate smaller design elements that can be combined to make more complex patterns. Apparently the traditional way of applying henna is by taking some of the paste between the thumb and index finger and moving them over each other to form a thread of henna which is applied to the skin. A more common technique is using a stick dipped in henna or ‘piping’ the paste through a small cone like icing a cake. Once the design has been applied it has to be left for about 5 hours to dry. Then, when the black paste has turned to a dark red colour the skin is rubbed with mustard oil and the paste is scraped off leaving the red pattern on the skin. Some of these designs are amazingly intricate, I’m impressed by the skill of the painters.