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Books -> Mehndi Books


The Art of Mehndi
By Sumita Batra with Liz Wilde
Published in Paperback (16 April, 1999)
By Carlton Books
144 pages
ISBN: 1858686555
Guide Price: £10.49
Reviewed by Lopa Patel
Rating: flameflameflameflameflame (5 flames)
Click here to buy this book today

Rating: flameflameflameflameflame (5 flames)

Photo of a henna motif from Sumita Batra's 'The Art of Mehndi'I just love this book. It's got great pics of celebs and their henna tattoos and bindis. The 'how to' sections are clear and step-by-step and Sumita Batra even shows you how to start with simple motifs and stencils and build up to the finished mehndi pattern. Only gripe would be that the text is set in quite a small font size, so when you have a cone in one hand and the client's hand in your other hand, you have to peer quite closely to see how to do the design! But overall, its brilliant and I'm sure Batra's designs are copied the world over given their East-West themes.


From clothes to ancient holistic therapies, traditional fashions from India continue to pervade popular Western culture. Most recently our infatuation with India has extended to mehndi - henna body tattoos - which is sported by many stars including Madonna, Naomi Campbell, Neve Campbell, Mira Sorvino, Gwen Stefani and Demi Moore. No longer exclusively the preserve of Asian brides, mehndi body art has crossed cultures to become the latest must-have accessory for Western women and is seen everywhere from the catwalk to the high street.

Photo of henna tattos from Sumita Batra's 'The Art of Mehndi'.Mehndi is the art of applying henna, a plant extract, to the body in a variety of intricate patterns and designs. The henna tattoos stain the skin with an orange-ochre dye that fades gradually over a three-week period. It is most often seen adorning the hands and feet of Indian brides and is said to bring good fortune to the wearer.

Drawing on the expertise of Sumita Batra, the internationally renowned mehndi artist, 'The Art of Mehndi' is the ultimate henna style bible. With 40 original designs specially created by Sumita Batra, the book offers practical information and clear step-by-step instructions, in additional to chapters covering the history, designs and symbolism and spiritual aspects of henna body art.


Henna Body Art [Box Set] by Mark Smith
Published in Hardcover (2000)
By Haldane Mason
64 pages
ISBN: 1902463137
Guide Price: £5.59
Reviewed by Lopa Patel
Rating: flameflameflameflame (4 flames)
Click here to buy this book today

Rating: flameflameflameflame (4 flames)

There are books and there are kits, and the 'Henna Body Art' kit is superb gift for budding mehndi artists. In a handy, pocket-sized hardback book, Smith covers the history, origins and culture of Henna before progressing rapidly into modern-day henna production. Even though he has included a tube of ready-made henna paste, Smith gives recipes for making your own, and possible alternatives if that thought fills you with horror! This is also the first book with a chapter on 'Henna for Children'.

The tube of paste imbues the whole box and book with the aroma of henna, which personally I quite like. Smith begins the henna design process with the use of transfers and stencil (bless him), before progressing onto illustrations for you to copy. And these are not just any old illustrations - they are the hip, cool, urban designs of the West rather than the intricate leaf and lotus motifs of the East. There are tribal images like lizards, turtles and serpents and none of the frippery in borders that you see being hennaed for brides - it is all macho stuff in this book. Only on the last pages does Smith introduce the more delicate keri shapes, vines and paisley-esque patterns traditionally associated with Mehndi.

Apart from appealing to a largely Western audience, this kit is suitable for men and women and the tube of henna paste is perfect for lazy artists like me! You can literally start minutes after opening the kit.


The decoration of the body with henna is widely practised in India, the Middle East and North Africa for ceremonial purposes. Today it is also rapidly becoming a fashion statement for the young and trendy everywhere. Painless and temporary, this art has universal appeal. This beautifully illustrated book contains a wide range of inspiring designs for your to follow, and is a perfect introduction to the creative world of henna body art.

The kit includes a 64 page instructional book on how to apply henna and a tube of ready-mixed Henna paste and design transfers. The book:

  • describes the history and cultural origins of henna body art
  • has step-by-step instructions that teach you how to apply henna
  • contains henna and transfers for creating your own motifs.

Mehndi: Art of Henna Body Painting
By Carine Fabius
Published in Paperback (November 1998)
By Random House USA Inc
112 pages
ISBN: 0609803190
Guide Price: £6.39
Reviewed by Lopa Patel
Rating: flameflameflameflame(4 flames)
Click here to buy this book today

Rating: flameflameflameflame(4 flames)

This is the sort of book you would buy for yourself for a quick start into mehndi - henna body painting if you prefer. It's a small, brief, paperback that you won't mind getting messed-up as you try to copy the motif designs suggested. Inspired by Loretta Roome's 'The Mehndi Project', Carine Fabius has written the ideal pocket book on the subject.

Her 'Do's and Don'ts' chapter assesses the use of plastic squeeze bottles, cotton balls, cotton swabs, flat toothpicks, paper towels, straight pins, glass bowls, toilet paper, scotch tape and razors! The illustrations are well spaced out for cheats like me who can trace the designs to practise over and over again! And the 'artist's thought process' section she lists for some of most complex illustrations is a great tool for teaching wannabe mehndi artists what they could try out given similar circumstances.

The author also gives addresses for mehndi artists in the USA - not very useful for those of us based in the UK - but a good idea nonetheless.


The magical art of mehndi, or henna painting, has been practiced for centuries in India, Africa and the Middle East and it has now finally arrived in the West. Packed with inspirational photographs of traditional and contemporary mehndi, this complete resource offers everything you need to create your own beautiful henna designs, including:

  • Dozens of practice exercises and sample illustrations
  • A foolproof recipe for mixing the henna paste.
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to apply your mehndi design
  • Insider's tips from professional mehndi artists.

By - Zaynab Mirza
Publisher: Contemporary Books Inc (1 September, 1998)
72 pages
Guide Price: £14.70
ISBN: 0809228017

Reviewed by Lopa Patel
Rating: flameflameflameflame (4 flames)
Click here to buy this book today

Rating: flameflameflameflame (4 flames)

Professional make-up artist Zaynab has put her talents into producing her debut book on the subject of henna. The 'Mehndi - Body Painting kit' contains a 72 page paperback book, a cone of ready-to-mix henna powder and some transfers.

The cone was a disaster, months in storage meant that I could not achieve the consistency required for application and had to throw it away. The transfers are useful but fairly basic in contrast to the complicated designs featured in the book. To her credit, Zaynab is the first author to have a chapter entitled 'Putting it all together', which shows the user how to combine and place all the various shapes and motifs that they have been practising into the completed pattern. This feature is invaluable for novices and useful for intermediate and advanced artists looking for fresh ideas.

Chapter 6, which takes up the remainder of the book, shows numerous designs for "you to copy". Although inspired by traditional designs from India, Pakistan and the Middle East, Zaynab has given some of the patterns the 'Mirza' touch, making them suitable for the über-hip, chic celebrity who wants to experiment their look. Much like her Beauty Clinic and her make-up business, these designs make Zaynab Mirza the perfect artist to bridge between Eastern and Western Cultures.


Mehndi is now highly fashionable, and is used by stars such as Demi Moore, Liv Tyler, Madonna and No'Doubt's lead singer, Gwen Stefani. The Mehndi Body Painting Kit by Zaynab Mirza takes the beginner from the preparatory stages of mixing their own henna; right through to creating complex, traditional and modern patterns, step-by-step exercises demonstrate basic filler patterns, simple motifs and beautiful designs for your body, hands and feet.

Henna powder, catalytic crystals, skin oil, a reusable applicator cone, transfer design kit and an instructional book make this the ideal mehndi starter kit. Clear diagrams and easy-to-follow exercises show how to make your own applicator cone, apply the paste and create your own designs. The kit includes 20 traditional and modern design transfer templates for you to copy.


Zaynab Mirza is a fully qualified beauty therapist and professional make-up artist for photography, fashion and television. She runs her own beauty salon and is a consultant for radio and the press. In 2003 she launched 'Provoke', her own range of cosmetics.

Mehndi - The Timless Art of Henna Painting
by Loretta Roome
Published in Paperback (1 July, 1998)
By Saint Martin's Press
173 pages
ISBN: 0312187432
Guide Price: £8.99
Reviewed by Lopa Patel
Rating: flameflameflame (3 flames)

Click here to buy this book today

Rating: flameflameflame (3 flames)

In her introduction to the book, Loretta Roome states that this book is intended to give the reader what she herself was looking for about henna painting "Can I do it?", "How?", "Where can I have it done?", "Where does it come from and what is it all about?" were the questions to which she was seeking answers.

Image from 'Mehndi- The Timless Art of Henna Painting' by Loretta Roome.In some respects, Roome has managed to answer these. The book is authoritative on the history, art and make-up of mehndi. Where is falls down is in teaching a novice how progress from simple motifs to the completed pattern. Her chapter on 'Beginning a Design' stars at page 113 in the book and then immediately progresses to kaleidoscopic palm designs, while I was still fiddling about with a simple leaf motif.

I would not call this a "how to begin with mehndi designs" guide, but Roome has crafted a fascinating insight into the relationship between Henna painting and life.


Mehndi - the ancient art of painting the skin with henna - beautifies the body, rejuvenates the spirit, and celebrates the joys of creativity and self-expression. More than just a temporary tattoo, mehndi offers us a way to participate in a centuries-old tradition still practised in India, Africa and the Middle East.

Image from 'Mehndi - The Timeless Art of Henna Painting' by Loretta Roome.In this stunning and authoritative book, Loretta Roome traces the origins and meanings of traditional designs, demonstrates how to create them on the skin, and reveals the recipes, tools, and techniques needed to paint designs that range from simple to complex. The result of years of research and the author's experience as one of nation's foremost mehndi artists, Roome's book offers practical information, creative inspiration and suggestions for enhancing the playful, intimate, sensual, erotic and spiritual aspects of the ancient and amazing art of mehndi.


Loretta Roome is the founder of The Mehndi project, which has received international attention for its efforts to help popularise the art of henna painting around the world. She has painted celebrities, schoolchildren, grandmothers and businessmen alike. Based in New York City, she divides her time between writing, performing music and continuing her research and practice of mehndi.


Henna Painting by Sabine Kuhne
Published in Paperback
(1 March, 1999)
By Aurum Press
96 pages
ISBN: 1854106899
Guide Price: £10.00
Click here to buy this book today


For hundreds of years, intricate henna patterns have been painted on to the face, hands and feet of Indian brides as part of the wedding ceremony ( henna is thought to bring the wearer wealth and happiness. Now the fashion world has discovered the appeal of this ancient form of body art. Madonna, Demi Moore and Liv Tyler were some of the first stars to appear in public adorned with henna tattoos, and henna painting has rapidly filtered down from the catwalks to the high street. Chain stores and high-street outlets are now stocking henna-painting kits that are easy to use and suitable for all ages. Painless and temporary ( the henna colour lasts for up to three weeks ( henna painting is the perfect way of creating a new look without the drastic consequences of a permanent tattoo.

This attractive how-to guide contains twenty-five striking contemporary designs from top body artists that can easily be recreated at home. With detailed step-by-step instructions, Sabine Khne shows how to work effectively with henna powder, using stencils or painting freehand, and looks at more temporary alternatives to henna such as eyeliner pens, face paints and tattoo ink. She also explores the meanings attached to the many religious signs and symbols which recur in traditional body painting.

Beautifully illustrated throughout with duotone photographs, this is a stylish introduction to the art of henna painting.


Traditional Mehndi Designs - A Treasury of Henna Body Art
by Dorine Van Den Beukel
Published in Paperback (2000)
By Shambhala Publications Inc
ISBN 1 57062 558 1
208 pages
Click here to read our full review.


Traditional Mehndi Designs by Dorine Van den Beukel is a veritable treasure trove of henna designs featuring page, after page, after page of the most intricate and ornate patters for hands and feet. A must have book for skilled beauticians and henna artists everywhere.

The author explains over the first 30 pages the origins of henna painting: how to apply the designs and the preparation of henna cones that have can scupper many a would-be artist. The cone diagram is particularly useful as you can practice for hours to devise this perfect henna application tool.

The remaining 178 pages are blissfully uncluttered, featuring pattern after pattern in simple black & white diagrammatic format. The design is the "star of the show" on each page. The author must know that this is precisely what aspiring henna artists need - designs that they can copy, practice with and enjoy for themselves. The initial 50 pages show simple motifs like leaves, flowers, grasses, shapes and peacocks, graduating to full patterns for fingers, thence to palms etc. The book doesn't really cover henna application on the body - focussing entirely on hands and feet. Tattooing is also not mentioned, although it is not difficult to imagine some of these designs being transformed into tasteful tattoos.

The drawback of this book is that the author does not explain how to achieve each pattern. For novices this would prove a stumbling black. Does one start at the edge and work inwards or vice versa for example? For a full palm do you start in the middle or at the fingertips? None of these issues are really explained which left me with a very interesting hour browsing through designs I would love to have and can never hope to achieve.

Click here to read our full review.

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