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How to make Henna Tattoo

Updated on January 27, 2015
ancient egypt:
Luxor Museum, Madinet Al Oqsor, Luxor, Egypt

get directions


Henna is 6,000 years old product, which came from Ancient Egypt. It has been used for many centuries in India, Middle East, and Africa.

Women in Middle East apply henna to their hands and nails to demonstrate feminism and distinguish their hands from the hands of men.

In 1574 BCE of Ancient Egypt, it has been reported that the mummy of Henttimehu hair had been dyed bright red with henna.

1800’s have also seen Europe craze about henna and use it to highlight their hair as a fashion accessory. Lucille Ball of the popular show, “I Love Lucy” also used to henna rinse her hair. Henna gained popularity in Eastern cultures among young people in 1960s.


The word “henna” is an Arabic name. It is a green flowering plant that produces a red orange dye molecule. This molecule has an affinity for bonding with protein, and it dyes skin, hair, fingernails, leather, silk, and wool.

Henna leaves are plucked from the plant; crushed with a mildly acidic liquid and dried to make a powder. This powder henna is shifted for any particulates and a paste is made in order to apply to the skin. The paste migrates into the outermost layer of the skin and forms a bond with protein and makes the skin red brown.

Henna powder
Henna powder | Source
Henna being applied with a cone
Henna being applied with a cone | Source

How to make a Henna tattoo

  1. Make a henna paste

  2. Make a Cone to put the henna paste

  3. Make a Stencil on the Body part of your choice

  4. Outline the Stencil with henna in the cone

1. How to Prepare Henna Paste

The Tools and Materials needed to make the Henna Paste:

  • Henna Powder (one ounce decorates six people's hands)
  • A few ounces of black tea leaves
  • Two lemons or limes
  • A tea strainer
  • A spoon
  • A bowl to make the henna paste

Method to make a henna paste

Step 1: Sift henna powder using a tea strainer.

Step 2: Squeeze lemon or lime, through a strainer, into the henna to make a paste. Stir the paste well.

A general rule is that when more lemon or lime added, the mixture gets more acidic and the paste when applied gives a dark stain.

Step 3: Boil a teaspoon of Tealeaves with 1 Cup of water, until the water level becomes a few ounces. Strain the tealeaves from the tea water. Add tea water to henna and stir it with the spoon to make it a semi solid paste. Cover the paste overnight for the color to develop.

Methods to apply the henna paste

The different ways to apply henna paste:

  • Toothpick used, to dip into the henna paste and carefully place the design on bit by bit.
  • Squeeze bottles with caps and easy squeeze action allows them to dispense the henna paste on any body part.
  • Cones made at home which would be inexpensive, less messy and they are disposable.

How to make cones to put henna paste in it

Materials needed:

  • Small freezer bags, one bag will make 2 cones
  • Scissors
  • Scotch tape
  • Twist ties/Rubber band

Method to make a cone

Step 1: Cut one freezer bag into 6” squares.

Step 2: Make a funnel shape out of a square by wrapping the square around itself in such a way that completely overlaps leaving no open spaces for the paste to squeeze out.

Step 3: Tape along the side edges of the cone where the plastic overlaps. Be careful not to move the plastic while taping the cone. Tape the funnel from the bottom to the top.

Step 4: Fill the cone with the henna paste using a small spoon that can go into the cone easily. Place the spoonful of henna paste into the cone and press your finger lightly against it (from the outside) to remove the paste from the spoon and then remove the spoon from the cone. Repeat until the cone is about half full. Filling too much can cause the cone to burst due to excessive squeezing.

Step 5: Close the cone by twisting the bag in the direction of the overlapping fold. Secure it with a twist tie or a rubber band. Cut a small hole at the tip of the cone, and the cone is ready to use. This cone is similar to the cone used for decorating a cake.

A word of Caution

Henna stains very quickly and it is very difficult to erase mistakes, thus the best way is to first draw the design on paper.

Once the design is on paper, there are two options: one can design freehand using a water-based marker and trace over it with henna OR one can one can make stencils by tracing the design and transferring the pattern on the skin.

How to make a Stencil

Materials needed:

  • Transfer paper
  • Speed Stick Gel deodorant
  • Pen

Method to make Stencil

Start with the selection of the image. Make a copy of the image.

Take a transfer paper and tape the image to the transfer paper so it does not slip around as you are tracing the image.

Using a pen to trace the image.

Press firmly to ensure the transfer of the image through all the layers of paper.

When the tracing is completed, cut around the stenciled area.

Method to create a design on any body part

Clean the skin with soap and warm water. Apply the gel to moisten the skin. Transfer the stencil on the skin.

Gently place the transfer paper on the skin in the desired location.

Rub the paper across the skin transferring the image from the paper on to the body.

Peel the paper off to reveal the image on the skin.

Apply henna using a cone on the outline of the design traced.

Decorating with Henna

Below are the basic steps for decorating a body part with henna.

1. Select the body part where henna wants to be applied.

2. Scrub skin with soap and warm water, then rub the area with alcohol to remove any lotion and the body' natural oils.

3. Apply the design by drawing with a water-based pen OR apply the stencil on the selected body part.

4. Apply the henna by gently squeezing the cone.

5. Let the henna dry

6. Make a solution of sugar and lemon. Dab a piece of cotton in the above solution and apply lightly on the designs so it further darkens to a reddish brown hue that can last for weeks.

7. After a couple of hours, wash off that body part with plain water. Your body part will have that beautiful brown tattoo for several weeks.

Henna can be applied on ankle, wrist, arm, waist, hand, legs, feet.

Which tattoo would you prefer?

See results


With a little bit of imagination creating your own henna pattern is very simple.

It does not require artistic skills.

Most henna patterns are very simple shapes such as circles, triangles, and lines. Combine these shapes to create an intricate pattern and a beautiful henna design.

Enjoy your Henna Tattoo, which is a temporary tattoo and lasts approximately ~2 weeks.


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    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      4 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      I've always wondered how a tattoo might be made. Great information and quite interesting. When I was a teen, I sometimes used henna on my hair. Made a nice touch. Voted up ++++ and sharing.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Very interesting, I learned an abundance of interesting information about henna tattoos. I've never had one, probably never will, but I appreciate learning about them!

    • poetryman6969 profile image


      4 years ago

      Not a tattoo guy myself but it is interesting to see how it's done. Never would have suspected that tea was part of the mix.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      That was interesting...

      You have simplified the entire process !

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      An interesting research here on Henna tattoo and y hairdye used by many people as well.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you for this interesting hub on henna tattoos, I would love to try this. I always think they look so beautiful.

      Voted up

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      6 years ago from Nepal

      Ruchira, I have few henna plants in my garden. But did not know the history behind this plant. Here we even have a henna applying festival, beside henna ritual during marriage.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      6 years ago from Germany and Philippines

      Very informative hub. I love to do henna but I´m afraid that it will not go off when I don´t like it anymore. Thanks for sharing. Voted up, useful and SHARED.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      You can't get much more comprehensive instructions than what you have given here. I love henna designs that I have seen on others, but have never tried it myself.

      Excellent article for anyone who wanted to find out how to create henna designs from creating the paste to actually applying the design. Voted up and interesting.

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 

      6 years ago from Chennai, India

      An informative & detailed hub with engaging pictures & helpful videos! I am fond of mehendi and would like to try it at home. Once again, a well-explained hub! Well-done!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful, Awesome & Interesting. Voted up, pinned & shared

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Ruchira, this is a very indepth information on all aspects of mehndi application. Voted up and useful.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      Rachira, I love henna tattoos as they are a beautiful look but healthier for the body. Your design ideas are so beautiful. I didn't realize it was so simple to make the basic solution for them. Great share.

    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 

      6 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      Ruchira, my Wife Neeru likes your hub. Thank you so much.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      6 years ago from Dubai

      Love henna on my hands and feet. The way they draw the patterns are awesome. Great information here.

    • Missin Behavin profile image


      6 years ago from Canada

      Great info i'd love to try this

    • ryokowaren profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      Great article. I will definitely bookmark it and try it out. Voted up!

    • torrilynn profile image


      6 years ago

      Really nice hub fascinating how you can actually make your own henna tattoos. Thanks. Voted up.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      This was fascinating, I have often seen henna tattoos on womens hands and think they are so pretty, very well explained, I think I would try the stencil as I am not very good at keeping my hand steady! Voted and shared, nell

    • rumanasaiyed profile image


      6 years ago from Sharjah, UAE

      I enjoy making Henna Tattoos, We do it on every Eid. You have explained all the steps very clearly.

      Voted up Interesting

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Great info. Ruchira. No tattoos for me. I wonder if the henna seeps into the skin pores? I know a lot of kids are doing this..

    • shampa sadhya profile image

      Shampa Sadhya 

      6 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA

      Voted up and useful.

      It is a nicely explained article. Good work! Ruchira

      Sharing and pinning!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Very interesting hub. Thanks for sharing. :-)

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      6 years ago

      Very cool - I have always thought these were so beautiful. Pinned!

    • idigwebsites profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      I would love getting a henna tattoo (but permanent is a no-no for me). Great information and instruction. Voted up and useful. :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good job explaining this, Ruchira, but I have to respectfully decline the offer to get a tattoo. :)


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