Rangoli are designs that are created on the floor, either indoors or outdoors, usually using natural materials like dyed sand, dyed rice, coloured powders or flower petals. The designs can be simple or intricate, and are often based around geometric shapes and patterns. Rangoli are often seen at Diwali as decoration and to encourage the goddess Lakshmi to enter homes. They are a fun activity to do with children because there are so many different ways that you can design and make them.
This year we've made Rangoli using dyed salt in a cardboard template placed on sticky clear contact paper. I used a Cricut Mini to make our templates but you can easily cut them by hand
Salt and food colouring
Template shapes - mine were cut using a Cricut Mini
Clear contact paper (sticky backed plastic)
Tape to hold in position on the table
(Laminator if required)
This activity does require some preparation, and it's a lot easier to do if it's all set up beforehand!
First you need to dye the salt. I used cheap supermarket salt and liquid food colouring. Pour the salt into a bowl and mix in a generous amount (at least a teaspoon) of food colouring. Stir well, then leave somewhere warm to dry out. I prepared my dyed salt a few days in advance.
Then you need to prepare the Rangoli template. I used a Cricut Mini to cut out my shapes. A limitation of the Cricut Mini is that you can only cut shapes that you have in your library - I'm too mean to purchase additional cartridges, but I find that the basic shapes included in the Craft Room are very good. I used a selection of designs including circles, ovals and leaf shapes, and tweaked them a bit to get the shapes that I wanted.
If you are cutting the shapes out by hand I'd recommend using a craft knife and cutting mat. There are lots of designs online that you can use for inspiration, it's best to look for a simple one like this basic Rangoli pattern. Cut the design from thin cardboard in a contrasting colour.
Lay your clear contact paper out on the table sticky side up and secure the corners with tape. Lay your design out and make sure that it is stuck down firmly to the sticky paper.
Then you can let the children loose! Use fingers to sprinkle the salt and press down onto the paper. It doesn't matter if you put down too much salt as you can carefully shake off the excess salt over a bin. Seal the design with a second sheet of clear contact paper stuck down over the top.
The finished Rangoli were fine as a temporary craft, but I wasn't sure if they would last well if I hung them up. So I ran them through the laminator to make them a little sturdier and to be sure that no salt would escape.
The dyed salt can also be used to make a temporary Rangoli design outdoors or on the floor with older children. Simply draw out a design on the floor using chalk and fill in with the coloured salt.
I've made several different types of Rangoli with the children. We have made Rangoli using dyed rice, and I've also designed Rangoli using Hama beads. We've made large Rangoli Hama bead patterns and small Rangoli Hama bead designs.
You can also find all sorts of different Diwali crafts and activities on my popular Diwali Pinterest board.