With Diwali around the corner, it’s time to decorate the house with flowers, ‘diyas’ and ‘rangolis’. The excitement of Diwali has set in and so it’s time to start work on handmade clay ‘diyas’ and ‘agarbatti’ (incense stick) holders.
Time required: 2-3 hours
- Clay – Air-dry clay that is easily available at Migros Do it Garden / Coop Bau und Hobby or any other craft shop. The air-dry clay is available in white or terracotta colours. Instead of air-dry clay, polymer clay can also be used.
- Acrylic colours
- Small knife or cutting tool
- Rolling pin
- Cutters – cookie cutters or playdough shape forms, old plastic bottle covers.
- Gloss varnish
- Glitter, ‘kundans’ or mirrors for decoration
Steps to make a lotus-shaped clay ‘agarbatti’/’diya’ holder
1. Roll out a piece of clay to the thickness of around 1-2 mm using a rolling pin.
2. A lotus-shaped holder would need 11 circles to form the petals. Place a circle cookie- or playdough-cutter, or the lid of a plastic bottle (as shown here) cover and press out the 10 circles to make the petals and one that will form the base.
3. Pick out 10 circles and slightly elongate each circle. Gently press together and touch the corners of one end to form petal shapes as shown above. At this stage, you can also carve lines or patterns on the petals using a knife.
4. To assemble the lotus flower, take one of petal and press the broad round part to base circle so that it sticks to the circle. Place 4 more petals in the same way on the base to form the base layer.
5. To make the next layer, place a petal between the two petals of the base layer. Repeat this with 4 more petals to form the second layer. The second layer will have 5 petals that sit on a base layer of 5 petals now. You can add a third layer as well.
6. To make an ‘agarbatti’ holder, take a small piece of clay and make a ball out of it. Make a hole in the centre of this ball. The hole should be big enough to hold an ‘agarbatti’ stick. Place this ball at the centre of the petals to complete the ‘agarbatti’ holder. If the ball-shaped part doesn’t stick well to the centre of the top layer of petals, use a little water to make it stick. Optionally, you could also use glue. You could also increase the size of the hole and place a ‘dhoop’ (incense without a bamboo holder) instead of an ‘agarbatti’.
7. Once the incense holder is complete, set it aside to dry for at least 24 hours or more. After 24 hours, turn it over and let it dry from another side. Before you start colouring the clay, the agarbatti holder should be completely dry.
8. To make the ‘diya’, repeat the same steps, and omit to place the ball over the top layer. Instead, you could add another layer of petals if needed.
9. That’s it! Your diyas and agarbatti holders are ready to be painted and decorated. Using acrylic colours, paint the ‘diyas’ and incense holders in shades of your choice. Once the colour dries, coat your creations with a layer of gloss varnish for the extra shine and also to ensure that the colour lasts longer. You can also glue in glitter, ‘kundans’ or rhinestones.
There are multiple ways a clay incense holder or ‘diya’ can be made. Use your imagination and create your own variations – simple, elegant or intricate and beautiful.
Have fun and be creative!!
About the contributor: Sriprabha has been living in Switzerland for almost 10 years and hails from an IT background. Since the last few years, Sriprabha has decided to be a stay-at-home mother to spend more time with her son and pursue her hobbies that include working in a small garden and experimenting with different DIY artefacts for family and friends.
Disclaimer: Opinions and methods expressed are solely of the writer. Namaste Switzerland does not undertake any obligation or liability which may arise from the content.