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How to recreate a book cover (a HANDy tutorial)

Hi there everyone! I recently read the really interesting book 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger. You can read my review here, but I really liked the cover and interior designs which are based on mehendi, or henna. So this post is a tutorial on how to recreate a book cover on your hands. I enlisted the help of my friend Elisabeth, who is a phenomenal artist and my friend Julia, who is a very patient model, to help was this. All I did was take photos.

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Step One: Get some henna/mehendi. I have no idea where to find this in the West. Maybe try an ethnic Indian shop or specialty craft store? You can get henna as powder but for decorating-hand purposes, it’s much nicer in a cone.

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Step two: Get the main part of the design. In this case, the fish. Elisabeth drew the fish first so she had an outline to work with and then filled in the details

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Step Three. Fill in the details. We only did one hand, so we didn’t have the symmetry thing going for the ‘phscedelic fish’ as Julia named them, and Elisabeth wants me to say that “If she had done the faces, they would look like potatoes”. We kind of improvised with the design, is what I’m saying. It still looks awesome in my opinion. If you want to do the simplified version, You can stop here, otherwise you can keep going.DSC02741Step Four: This is the easy part where detail is vital. Elisabeth just drew the circles with dots over and over, filling in Julia’s hand.DSC02769Step Five: You now have (half) a book cover painted on your hand! While you wait for it to dry, go and take pictures.

It's surprisingly good camoflage
It’s surprisingly good camoflage

Step Six. This is the hard part. You have to wait for the henna to dry. For the full design it took almost two hours. Once it’s dry enough you should be able to pick it off with your nails, but it the meantime you can’t use your hands.

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Step Seven: Enjoy your beautiful book-coveresque henna

so beautiful!
so beautiful!

Thanks to Julia and Elisabeth for doing all the work helping out. Have you ever had henna done? Are you going to now? And have you read 5 to 1? Tell me in the comments!

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16 thoughts on “How to recreate a book cover (a HANDy tutorial)

  1. OOH, OOH, I love this. I’ve tried learning to do these designs (soo pretty though *melts*) for Eid and other occasions, but I always end up having others do it for me. SURPRISINGLY GOOD CAMOUFLAUGE. Well, you know what to do when you wanna hide against a tree next time 😉 henna yourself completely, no biggie 😄

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    1. Henna is fabulous. On Indian Independence day and also whenever it seems fun, we do it (but usually not this elaborately) I love the designs too. We sort of changed it from the original cover, but it’s still awesome.
      -Shanti ❤

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  2. THIS IS SO AMAZING. My sister had henna on her hands and feet for her wedding!! It looks incredible and ohhh, very good camouflage too! Is it weird that it made me think of Peeta and his camouflage-cake-baking skills?! lol I AM SORRY. But this is the best post ever. 😄

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  3. OMG I LOVEEEEEE IT! We were actually doing henna at school for multicultural week and it was just so much fun! Thanks for sharing this with us 😀

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  4. THAT IS SO PRETTY. People get henna tattoos all the time over here, but I have no idea where they get it done or anything. I’m sure people can buy it at a natural store or something, but I haven’t seen it done before personally. STILL IT IS SO PRETTY.

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  5. Oh. MY. I have to do this for a party sometime. (No really it just looks TOO GORGEOUS.) Unfortunately I have zero artistic talent. You guys should make this stuff on Etsy and sell it in a way so that I can slap it on my skin and wait a couple hours then peel it off. … basically water tattoos, but henna-style. DO IT.

    And the shot of your hand against the bark reminded me so much of Peeta in the Hunger Games 😄

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    1. It is gorgeous I wixh that my talent could rival it! I’m not sure how that would work, but I think my friend might have a hena wordpress, and if she does, I’ll send you the link. You’re not the only one! It is very well camoflaged (and slightly blurry which helped)

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  6. OH MY GOODNESS SO PRETTY AAAAAAAH!!!! That must take so much patience, I struggle with wating for nail varnish to dry!

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