It's festival on a plate

ETHEREAL

It's festival on a plate

Radha Prathi shows you how to make beautiful designs on your aarthi plate for a festive occasion.

Festivals, weddings and traditional rituals are great occasional excuses to highlight your creativity and lap up the appreciation that gush forth from your guests. While rangoli and flowers are the traditional decorational elements to go on the aarthi plates, there are still many other ways to ornate the plates. The most important thing to remember is that these plates need to be readied a few days in advance and kept aside for use later.

Here are some ways to make your aarthi plates a highlight for the next festival:
n If you plan to use a plate with engraved or embossed work on it, clean the plate thoroughly and get it polished it if it lacks luster. Apply a coat of coconut oil on the inner area of the plate and use a sieve used to filter tea leaves and spread bright red vermilion (kumkum) onto it evenly. You can also use different Rangoli colours of your choice, ofcourse. Use a new ear bud and trace the outline of the existing design with an even hand. You will find the ear bud wiping out a thin line of vermilion to reveal the design on the plate.

* If you have sparkle colours, you can clean up the polished plate and apply sparkle colours as a thin line along the existing design. Then, allow it to dry completely before use.

* You could make sugar syrup by dissolving two teaspoons of sugar in half a glass of water. Then, dip a new ear bud in the syrup and trace the outline of the existing design on the engraved plate with an even hand. Then gently pour sugar on the plate such that it covers the surface, without disturbing the plate. A couple of minutes later, pour out the sugar gently. You will find sugar crystals stuck along the design, making the plate appear as if it were bejewelled.

* If you want to use flowers, use rose petals and tulsi leaves or dhavanam leaves as they can lend fragrance with beauty. Wet the plate that you plan to use with water and place the petals and leaves in a pattern of your choice.

* If you wipe the plate with a drop of rose essence or attar before wetting the plate the Aarthi will turn out to be more aromatic.

* Take plain rice and add a drop of enamel paint in a colour of your choice and mix it with the rice such that the rice colours uniformly. (If you use fabric paint or food colour instead of enamel paint make sure you add a drop of cooking oil to the rice to give it the requisite sheen.)Then use a sketch pen to draw a design or Rangoli of your choice on the plate and fill each portion with different colours.

* Colourful bindis or radium stickers, of different shapes and sizes, which glow by night could be stuck in floral and geometrical patterns along the borders or restricted to the centre.

* If you are good at free hand drawing you could use permanent markers to draw intricate designs of your choice on the plate. When erasing the same, apply oil on the plate and allow it to soak for a while before washing it off.

* If the Aarthi plate is large, you could buy small sized glass bangles in different colours and pile them up tastefully and divide the pile into two and place them on opposite ends of the plate and then gently let the pile fall so that the bangles fall over one another forming small ellipses. You could adjust the space between the bangles so that they cover the entire area.

Tip: If you implement these ideas on a silver or brass plate, the effect will be ethereal when you place a pair of lighted lamps on them.

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