The Tribune - Spectrum


Sunday, November 3, 2002

Home Space

Let there be light
Chetna Banerjee

SURE, the market is choc-a-bloc with Divali knick-knacks. But all those vibrant streamers, terracotta artefacts and designer candles are something that practically every other person is buying to enliven their interiors. If you don’t want your home to look like just any other bedecked bride but appear a class above the rest, try out any of these quick ideas to make your abode shimmer in all its glory.

  • Light up your life with zany painted bulbs. Buy plain bulbs and glass paints. Draw any interesting pattern on them—geometric, star-spangled or ethnic—and paint in fluorescent hues. Paint from the top. You can use a black outline to emphasise design. Add layers of paint for deeper tones. Turn the lights on. Viola! your home will be filled with vivid hues.

  • Carry your creativity a step further. Complement painted bulbs with colourful home-made tin lanterns. Though terracotta lanterns and light diffusers abound in the market, metal lanterns will give your decor a distinct look. And they can be ready in a couple of hours, so get going!

All you need are a couple of empty metal dabbas lying around the house—be they coke cans, desi ghee or refined oil tins, a hammer, nails of different sizes, oil paint, thin wire for making a loop and candle or diya. Paint a coat of bright colour on the tin’s outside. Fill the can with water and freeze for a couple of hours to avoid the sides from getting disfigured or collapsing when you hammer them. When the water in the can is frozen solid, place the can on its side on top of a towel and use the nail tips to hammer in holes of various sizes. Remove the ice from inside. Make two holes near the top, on opposite sides, for stringing a wire to hang it. Place a diya or candle at the bottom. You can also place it on the floor or table over a lit candle or lamp.

  • If you find individual candles boring, experiment with a candle tray. All you need is a mould (an ice tray or fancy cake moulds would be a good choice), some paraffin wax and a string to form a wick. Heat the wax, add the colour of your choice (saffron or red would be an appropriate festive colour), and pour into the mould. Fix the wick with appropriate symmetric gaps. Leave to dry, and you have yourself a unique candle tray!

  • If you have a green thumb, diyas can be placed between plants to give a mystical look. Mirrors can be placed on the opposite side of diyas to create an illusion of more lighting.

  • Jute is very much the in-fabric these days, so you can strew around brightly dyed jute dupattas in various corners to lend an ethnic touch. You can also use flowing silk bandhini fabric or lengths of tusser to create focal points around your house to embody the spirit of this season.

  • If you have old saris that you want to get rid of, you can put their colourful borders to good use. Old saris with zari borders can be quickly cut up and their edges hemmed to serve as sofa backs to embellish your living room. Tack on the zari borders from different saris to the coffee table runners. You could also use them as curtain tiebacks.

  • Instead of creating a rangoli on the floor you can embellish a wall or frame a window. Paint a rangoli on a cardboard and adorn a window frame near the entrance with it.

  • Flowers can also be used to make an amazing display on the floor. Marigolds, asters and mogra can be combined into a border that runs both outside and inside the house. Use green leaves to edge this design. You can add dry coconuts at intervals. Wrap the brown coir with coloured wool or saffron, green and red threads and place in corners or on the sides of a door.

  • Use flower power to its fullest. Take two strips of cardboard and puncture them with holes at equal intervals. Tie one end of a marigold gajra to a cardboard strip and the other to the second strip. Repeat with as many gajras it takes to cover the cardboard. Staple the two strips so that it becomes circular in shape and tie the strips to a wire with a bulb suspended from it. You now have yourself a unique flower lantern!

  • Put water on flames. Add a modern look to the décor by filling glass bowls or your grandma’s antique peetal paraats with water and placing floating candles in them. Sprinkle rosebuds in the bowls for a fragrant feel.

With this melange of ideas, coupled with your own innovations, you can be all set make your homescape glow and glitter like a prized jewel on the festival of lights!

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