Wednesday 19 September 2012

Diwali craft - How to make a simple salt dough diva for Divali

I decided that Harry is now old enough to start learning a little bit more about his cultural heritage, customs and traditions. He already understands a little bit about geography, different countries and languages, and so I thought that now was the perfect time to teach him what I can about Diwali. Diwali is one of the largest festivals of the year for Hindus, and is also celebrated by Jains and Sikhs. It is commonly known as the Festival of Lights. The Diwali legends vary across different areas of India, but in its essence it is about celebrating the triumph of good over evil.

In 2016, Diwali will be celebrated on Sunday October 30th. The date is set by the Hindu calendar and changes every year according to the position of the moon - it usually falls in October or November in the English calendar. 

I'm going to be doing a series of posts on my blog covering the various different Diwali crafts and activities that we'll be doing which are suitable for young children. 

Our first craft was making a salt dough diva. A diva (also called diya or diwa) is a small lamp, traditionally made from clay and containing oil and a wick. The lamps are lit to celebrate the triumph of light, and along with leaving open doors and windows, they are also lit to help the Goddess Lakshmi (the Goddess of Wealth) find her way into people's homes.

How to make salt dough diwa lamps

We made our divas from salt dough, and they are large enough to hold a tea light or votive candle.

My simple saltdough recipe: 1 part salt, 2 parts plain flour, 1 part water, mixed together to make a dough.

I used about half a cup for each measure and this made enough salt dough for two divas. I divided the dough into two and made it into a ball. Then we flattened the balls and used our fingers to mould them into a small bowl. I pinched at one side to make a spout. They can be left to air dry naturally for a couple of days, or cooked at a low heat in the oven (about 100 degrees) for an hour or so, just keep an eye on them so that they don't burn.

How to make salt dough diwa for Diwali

When fully dry, we painted them. They can be any colour that you like, as long as it is nice and bright. When the paint was dry we covered them in glue and added plenty of glitter and sequins.

If you are teaching your young children about Diwali, here are some books that they might enjoy:

The Best Diwali Ever (affiliate link) - A heart warming picture book about Diwali, siblings and how very special this celebration can be.

Diwali colouring book for kids (affiliate link) - A simple coloring book for young children, suitable for ages 2-5. Contains all sorts of things to colour including lamps, fireworks, candles, lanterns, food & rangoli patterns.

First Festivals: Diwali (affiliate link) - Featuring simple text, gorgeous illustrations and satisfying lift-the-flaps, this book explores common Diwali traditions and helps young children understand the importance of this special holiday.

Mr Men and Little Miss Happy Diwali (affiliate link) - The five-day festival of lights is celebrated by millions of people across the world and the Mr Men and Little Miss can't wait to join in. They're busy cleaning their homes, creating Rangolis, lighting lamps and enjoying all the festivities, including large feasts that Mr Greedy is particularly looking forward to. It’s going to be a busy five days of light and laughter!

I've also collected together lots of fun Diwali crafts and activities on my Diwali Pinterest board:

Follow Jennifer Jain's board Diwali Crafts and Activities on Pinterest.


  1. These are very cool. Haven't made salt dough in years, so many things you can do with it.

    1. Thank you! I'm definitely going to be making some more things with salt dough now I've found this easy recipe.

  2. What a lovely idea. Hope Harry had fun making them.

  3. Thank you, yes he loved it! Probably a bit confusing as we're a bit early yet, but I've put them away to get out again at Diwali!

  4. Your candles came out wonderfully. Need to make some.

    Thanks for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!


  5. my 2 year old is learning about diwali at nursery and we got asked to make a lamp at home with them this is the best thing ever as we did it and my eldest did it and we even did a little research for my eldest as he became interersted in diwali. wanted to say thank you!

    1. I'm so glad that it was helpful, thanks for letting me know!

  6. Can you burn a wick directly instead of putting a tea candle

    1. To be honest I don't know, I'm not sure that I'd want to risk it to be honest. I think you'd have to be very sure that any paint/varnish or decorations that you had used would be fire resistant


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