I made some garlands to offer Gaura Nitai who live in their deity form at my house. I am not expert at making garlands, and I am seeking instruction. But I thought you might be interested to see how I make them so you might be inspired to try yourself, if you had wanted to do it. It’s not very hard as you will see. I am making the garlands for small deities so they are sweet little garlands and, I think, easier to make than the large and sometimes complex garlands you see in the temple.
I bought some small flowers, you can see them in the picture these are Hyacinths. They have a nice scent that should please Gaura Nitai, and the flowers are small enough to look perfect when they wear them. I bought pink ones and purple ones. A few weeks ago I made some garlands with white ones.
In the picture you can also see the thread I use. This is crotchet thread. I use this as it is more durable than cotton. It’s also easier to manage and tie knots in. You can also see the needle I am going to use. I like a larger needle, easier to manage and a lot easier to thread then a small sewing needle. This one is a sail-makers needle. I don’t know if that it what it is really for but the pack had that written on it. It is about 4 times bigger than a regular sewing needle.
You can also see the needle threader that I use. Sometimes it is so hard to see the little eye of the needle. This threader works really well. It came in the pack with the needles I bought.
I get a tray which I have on my lap to do the work. This way the flowers don’t roll around everywhere and I don’t lose my needle.
The first thing I do is remove the flowers from the stems and sort them into colours. I take care to cut of the little pieces of stem that poke out of the bottom of the flowers so they all look as neat as possible.
As you can see here the next thing I do is place the flowers in the shape of the garland I want to make. This way I can see how best they might look, and I can make sure I have the right number of flowers. This also helps me when I am sewing the garland together. I can pick the flowers up in the right order and facing the right way.
With small flowers like this you have to take great care that you don’t damage them. Here I am pushing the needle through the flower and out of the bottom. This will ensure that the flower is facing up. When I get to the other side I need to push the needle through the bottom and out of the petals. This way both of the sides of the garland will have flowers facing upwards.
Here I have made some headway on the first side of my small garland. You can see the thread going through the flowers and that I have them all the right way up the way I set them out. I decided to have one colour them the other all the way along so it would make a nice effect. What do you think?
At the bottom of the garland, in the middle, my design has two flowers of the same colour hanging down. One garland I will make pink flowers hanging down and the other will have purple flowers hanging down.
I make them hang by threading them sideways like this. I insert the needle in the top third. Too high and the flowers will break and too low means they wont hang down nicely.
Then I start on the second side. Here you can see that to keep the flowers facing up I am inserting the needle in through the bottom of the flower. You have to be careful to get the needle as close to the centre as possible as this is the strongest part of the flower. This way it is less likely to tear and come off the thread.
Here is one of the finished garlands. What do you think? The deities are about 12 inches high so 6 small flowers on each side is enough length.
Here are Lord Caitanya and Nityananda wearing the garlands I made for them. I think they look great. Nitai Gaura Haibol.
I am only just learning how to make garlands. I would really appreciate any advice. Is there some other pattern I could use? Are there other ways to make garlands for small deities like these?
Have you tried making your own garlands? Let me know how you went. Hope to hear from you.