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Water Lamp

Ethnic Indian Home

This post is about how you can make a lamp out of a glass bowl and a few things that you may have lying around the house.

Diwali Decor Ideas

Things you will need to make water Lamp:-

  • A Transparent Glass bowl
  • Pebbles (colored or natural)
  • Water
  • Cotton wicks
  • Plastic sheet (can be cut from a restaurant take out container – transparent)
  • Oil that is used in lamps

DIY Water Lamp

Here is how you make it:-

  • Take the plastic sheet and cut it into rectangle shape of 1cm in length and 2cm in width.
  • Make a small hole ( so as to fit the wick) in the middle of the rectangle sheet with the help of a pin.
  • Insert the wick in the sheet. Size of the wick shouldn’t be too long, approximately 2 to 3 cm is what you will need.
  • Take a glass bowl, gently place the pebbles of your choice and pour the water to fill half of the bowl.Glass bowl filled with pebbles
  • Let the air bubbles settle for a while.
  • Pour the lamp oil on top of the water. I have use gingelly (Sesame) oil because of its clear gold color and it looks good with the colored pebbles. You can use mustard oil or even vegetable oil. Make sure you pour the oil slowly into the water to ensure that you dont have too many air bubbles. If you still end up with bubbles, Burst them with the help of a stick or a toothpick.DIY Water Lamp
  • Gently place the wicks which is attached to the plastic sheet. Now this is the tricky part. Sometimes the wick does not stay upright and just leans into the oil. This means the weight of the wick is not balanced correctly. It may take a while for you to ensure the wick stays upright. This is also the reason why I have suggested the small wick length.
  • Carefully Light the wicks and enjoy the warm glow. DIY Water Lamp

When I experimented this first, I used a smaller bowl with a single wick and 3 spoons of oil. The lamp burnt for about two full hours and that is what prompted me to make a better version of it.

Also, this lamp needs to be made just before you light it, if you are making it in a transparent glass bowl. If you leave it for too long the chill from the water starts to solidify the oil and it turns translucent which does not look good at all. However it will continue to function as lamp, no changes in its performance there.

I hope you are liking our series on sustainable Diwali decor, where we are trying to bring you ideas which you can execute with things that are found in your home. Do let us know in the comments below.

DIY: Clay Lotus Candle Holder

DIY lotus candle holder

This post is about how you can make your own Lotus Candle holder using air dry clay. This the also the first post by Padma who is a part of Team Preethi Prabhu. 

Ma’am (Preethi Prabhu) is the inspiration for all my DIY’s. An idea that runs through my mind, I share it with her and almost immediately she says go-ahead, every time.  We try lots of DIY’s out of which a few turn out really nice, and touch our heart. This is one such DIY that touched all of our heart and made us happy. Whenever I look at it I feel proud that I made it.

DIY Lotus candle holder

So let me tell you how I did it.

Things you will need:

  • Air dry clay ( we had a 1kg packet, we used half a packet to make 2)
  • Paper Cutter
  • Rolling pin ( We did not have one in the studio so we used a water bottle)
  • cardboard (To cut a leaf template)
  • Jam bottle cap or any round shape (as big as you want your candle holder base)

To make a Card board petal shape template:

Take the cardboard, draw a petal/leaf shape by drawing cone in any edge of the circle. (size of your choice preferably not very big, i have used 1.5cm) Once you are satisfied with the shape, cut it out.

DIY Lotus candle holder

Step-wise tutorial to make clay lotus:-

  • Take air dry clay and knead it (dont add water if it is too dry, you end product will crack too easily) for a while to get a good consistency. Roll it using a rolling pin into a sheet, not too thin.
  • Mark with the round jam bottle cap cut a big round shape using the paper cutter for the lotus base. Place it on a plastic sheet, and it will stay on the plastic sheet till it is fully dry.
  • Roll some more clay, and then keep the cardboard petal shape on it for reference. Using the paper cutter again cut along the shape to make lotus petals.
  • The number of petals you make depends on how big is your candle base is and the number of layers you want.
  • Smooth the edges of the petals with your fingers dipped in water to remove the roughness.
  • You can count the number of petals you will need by roughly arranging them around the base.
  • Cut out as many petals as you need start fixing it to the base by pressing the petal into the base until you get a smooth surface. (Where the base meets the petal, score the base with your cutter to ensure it sticks better)
  • Work continuously till you complete all your petal layers.
  • Depending on the humidity in the air, dry your creation for a day or two. You can paint it with the color of your choice after it is completely dried. We liked the unfinished look, so we let it be.

Watch the slider for the step by step images

Note: This lotus looks absolutely gorgeous, but can be a little delicate. So handle it with care.

Ethnic Indian Home decor

P.s. This DIY will need to be done in one sitting as the clay starts to dry.


The Science Behind Diwali

Diwali Decoded: The Science behind it

This post is on some of my findings about the non spiritual & non mythological reason behind the celebration of Diwali. While I am not claiming that it is one hundred percent accurate, it surely felt logical to me. Read on coz I am talking pure science here. 

I am a strong believer that our Ancient Indian scriptures and practices have scientific knowledge hidden as much as they are religious. While the whole world is looking at us for their well being, its only natural that we should seek answers in our own ancient practices. When I hear Westerners going gaga on Yoga, turmeric tea and spices used in Indian food being anti cancerous, I am like, “Dude! we have everything here and how are we still third world”.

Also, with this whole globalization and internet boom, the world is becoming a smaller place than what it used to be. While I am thrilled to get to know newer cultures and learn from them, somewhere I feel that we are ditching our old customs or re-inventing them for the sake of convenience. This is what got me motivated to dig deeper into the reason behind Diwali tradition and practices.

We all know that Diwali is the festival of lights and Light in itself is worshiped as a lord. Also, it is the homecoming of Lord Rama after his victory over Raavana and hence he is welcomed with the grandeur of the shining lights. Now lets look at the science behind it.

The Science of Diwali

Diwali generally falls somewhere in October or November and it is much grander in North India that it is in the South. October/November is also the time when the season is changing, and its a weird kind of weather. Its raining, its humid and its cold at nights. Its also the time of the year, when you can get sick easily.

Diwali Decor ideas

So what about it?

Well, the mixed weather of the season supports the growth and spread of bacteria and germs. An ignited oil lamp, the chemicals emitted from the flame kills germs from the atmosphere around it. And the effect is multiplied when you light hundreds of them. Do you see where I am getting at? (also, when there is a death in the house, there is a lamp kept burning for several days. It all makes sense now.)  The light of a diya also meddles with the magnetic field around, the electro-magnetic waves produced linger on your skin. They activate your blood cells, increases your immunity and makes you feel good.  That is why during Diwali homes are cleaned and hundreds of lamps are lit to ensure the atmosphere around is all safe.

The science behind Diwali

So what, we have modern gadgets now, we are safe!

No we are not. In-fact, I am not sure how it in smaller towns, but the air quality in cities is beyond pathetic. Added to that working in air-conditioned spaces all day long spreads germs faster than ever.

So, this Diwali go bask in to glow of some warm lights and know that you are doing yourself good.


DIY Kalamkari Carpet Planter Basket

DIY Make your own Kalamkari basket out of an old dhurrie

We see gorgeous dhurrie planters in images of homes around the world but they are hard to come by here in India. This 10 minute DIY is simple to make, but has tons of style. If you dint have to measure and cut, it would be a 2 minute DIY and you will be surprised at how ridiculously easy it is to make.

DIY Kalamkari Dhurrie basket

Here is what you will need.

  1. A kalamkari carpet small or any stiff carpet(i used a 2ftx4ft, this size can make 3 baskets)
  2. Good pair of scissors. (Rotary cutter if you have)
  3. A marker or marking chalk.
  4. Hot glue gun (If you are making it with a kid, please supervise the use of hot glue gun)

Here is how I made it,

  1. I cut all the tassels from the end of the carpet.
  2. I marked 1 inch from the shorter end ( 2ft side) of the carpet width, and then divided the remaining 23 inches into 4 equal parts, that was 5.75 inches each. so 1″+5.75″+5.75″+5.75″+5.75″ = 24″ (2ft)
  3.  I marked lines of 4.75″ inches long from the edge of all 4 markings.
  4. The height of the basket should be approximately same as the flap 5.75″, I did 6 inches here, allowance to fold another 3 inches, so 4.75+6+3=13.75 (no need to be this accurate) , I marked 14 inches from the edge on both sides and cut them out. So 14×24 inches made one basket for me.
  5. I cut all the lines along the 5 inch line that I had marked.
  6. I stuck the 1 inch flap to the inside of the other end of the carpet with hot glue gun all the way. Now I had a cylinder with some cut flaps at the bottom.
  7. Just like you would fold the flaps of a carton box, I folded the opposite ends and hot glued it together.
  8. Turn it over and here is your base. Now fold the top part a few times like a rice sack and you are DONE.

Here is the link to the instagram video.

DIY Kalamkari Dhurrie Basket


I even made a slightly bigger one with a more stiff mat and I think it looks fabulous.

Make your own Kalamkari Basket

This picture should help you figure out the math for any size of dhurrie.

DIY kalamkari Dhurrie

Make sure the mat you are using is stiff enough to hold on its own. If you make it too tall, chances are it will sag down. Hot glue holds pretty good, we put a big pot in it and lifted it and it was intact. If you want to give it extra strength, you can nail some steel tacks from the bottom.

Now go and pull out all those dhurries that are in storage for some reason or other, and put them to good use.

Festival Impressions & and a Blogging Block

Stone Urli with a musician Ganesh and some floating marigolds

When life is happening on a fast track, the online journal somehow takes a back seat. Its been dull here on my blog for a while now, thanks to the busy work schedule. While I am excited about my current projects offline, I always seem to miss the  good old days of blogging. Its like a void! Time after time, I have kept repeating here that I am going to blog more often from now on and failed at it every-time, so much so it feels like a bad joke now.

The truth is, there is so much going on in my head and I simply lack the motivation to sit down and write. There is some very exciting stuff that I am working on, some lovely people I meet and the new things I do and learn. All that would make wonderful useful content that you will love to read, but where is my focus and motivation?? As I am writing this post, I have got up and walked around for no good reason at-least five times!!!

If you can relate to what I am saying, please leave me a message or send me an email. If you have gotten out of a similar situation, I would want to know what you did. What can I do to get rid of this weird lethargy?? Do some yoga?? meditation?? Stand on my head for a new perspective? Drink some virgin due dropping from a fruit in the amazon jungles on a new moon day? What?? I need some solution PLEASE!!

Moving on, work has been busy with me setting some unrealistic targets and actually managing to achieve them! Due to which this years festivals have been a blah! (By the way, festivals are a big deal for me. so reason no 634 to be frustrated with self!) I can go on and on!

Anyway! Here are some snapshots of what I did manage to achieve during the Ganesh Chaturthi and Diwali.

Ganesh Chaturthi

I displayed my Ganesh idol collection in every corner. Someday I need to keep them all together and take a count.

The Ganesh Collection

Some pictures from Diwali

Chair leg candle stands for brass diyas

The usual pillar lamp

The Diwali goodies

After all the festivals and decorating, I thing Ive got an over dose of brass. So I plan to put them all inside for a few months and do more rustic wood, cane and ceramics in my decor.

P.S. Will post pictures of new decor if I manage to get over this block.