Sunday, July 28

What to do with Mishti Doi earthen pots?

Once upon a time in Indian Railways, a minister introduced earthen cups for chai, which I thought was a superb idea to replace toxic plastic cups and expensive paper cups. The scheme got into a mess and eventually vanished. I am not sure if any trains still have them.

But every time a friend talks of having collected those kulhars or matkas for later use, I feel elated.

My friend Deepa Balakrishnan sent me these pictures recently. They are matkas, but not of the railway kind. They are containers of mishti doi, the all-famous Bengali sweet sold in Indian cities.

Deepa, with her three-year-old son Kabir, preserved these little pots after using up the Mishti Doi and painted them for decor and gifting. 

Mishti doi

These are two little such painted earthern pots stacked one over the other. Deepa and her son three year old Kabir worked at this cute little project.

They used about five colours of Fevicryl acrylics. Some tips that Deepa gives, when you engage your kid for such a project is -

  • cover the child with an apron as it could get messy
  • spread out a few sheets of newspaper on the floor to avoid staining 
  • the pots are breakable, so it is better to work on the floor so that there is minimal chance of dropping the pot by accident (from the table for instance)
  • it is better to work on two pots at one time, because, once you paint a colour, you need to wait for the paint to dry, at least 30 minutes (the child could get restless)
  • use a combination of thick and thin brushes 
So the materials you need would boil down to -

  •  earthern pots
  • paint brushes of different sizes
  • acrylic colours
  • newspapers
  • apron for the child
  • tissue paper, just in case paints spill
While such a project could be the perfect thing to engage your toddler with on a summer afternoon,  you could use it to nudge the child into being patient with colours.

``Before these pot projects, Kabir would just scratch colours over his colouring assignments at the play-school. I would hold his hand to help him paint these pots. These days, he makes sure the colour is within those printed drawings,'' says Deepa.

She says that since he is used to the painting of pots now, he is not as distracted as he was when they began. Like any other excited toddler, Kabir keeps their guests entertained about how he painted each pot.

Between the mother and child and their grandmom, they've painted several pots. Some of them were gifted by Kabir to friends and relatives too.

Earthen pot mishti doi

Mishti doi pot repurpose

The design above is a common rangoli design used in front of South-Indian homes. It is pictured above their shelf. She also tried warli designs.

painted yogurt pots

painted indian yogurt sweet pots

paint mishti doi pot

So the next time you binge on Mishti doi, you know what to do with the pots instead of trashing them!

As for the costs involved, she spent Rs 18 each for a bottle on the acrylics or fabric colours. The paints are enough to last many more pots, says Deepa. 

You could try out designs with as little as two colours. Just be patient enough with the drying process. Enjoy your next project:)

Pictures courtesy: Deepa Balakrishnan
For permission to use pictures, write to:

Monday, July 22

How to make Paper Quill Flower Pot

Hi everyone,

Lest you thought I vanished from Imprints..., news is that ill-health kept me at bay. For weeks. God's grace, that I am finally able to sit at the computer and pen these words.

My young friend Pooja sent me these laboriously taken pictures of her cute little paper-quill flower vase project a few weeks back.

It is only now that I have been able to post this though. Enjoy following this elaborate paper-quill picto-tutorial.

paper quill projects

Is this not a lovely little skill-piece? Wait...there is more to it!

paper quill roses

High-schooler Pooja has been generous to share her project, step-by-step.

First, about the materials.

paper quill tools

  • a pair of scissors
  • Glue - in this project, she has used fabric glue
  • quilling paper in yellow, orange and green colours (yellow and orange paper strips need to be of the same width)
  • paper quilling tool, and
  • toothpicks

paper quill tool

A flower pot using paper quilling has two components - the container that evolves as you roll your paper, and carefully made paper roses.

She began by making the container. Her pictures are self-explanatory.

paper quill strip

paper quilling

paper quill glue

Roll the orange strip of paper. Once you reach the end of the paper, add some more by glue the edge.

paper quill rolling

paper quill rolling

Paper quill

paper quill base

paper quill colours

 Notice here, that she uses the orange for the base of the quill-vase. And then fixes a yellow quill-strip, to proceed further.

paper quill base

paper quilled disc

Paper quill diskette

paper quill biscuit

That's her vase base taking shape. Once done with rolling, she uses glue at the edge to stick it up. Now, using her thumb, she gently pushes the central part of this disk so it protrudes on one side. She makes sure to keep some base intact though, while she nudges the rest of the roll.

paper quill cup

paper quill cone

The quilled biscuit-like piece has now turned into an elegant conical container.

paper quilled container drum

paper quilled flower pot or vase

Pooja gives us important tips here. To keep the base of this cone flat, you need to press the end of the cone against a flat surface, for that base to set up. 

She additionally used glue to firm it up. It means, rubbing the glue on the newly formed container helps the piece to not lose its shape.

paper quill glue

Please bear with the fuzzy picture here - it is the vase with glue in it. This vase only needs a bunch of flowers. And so the next part of the project is, roses.

Pooja sent me this link of a quickie look at how these roses can be made using simple fold technique.

Pooja has sent pictures for them too. Check the pictures, but make sure you watch the video too.

how to make paper quill rose

paper quill rose making
paper quilled roses

how to make paper rose

foldable paper rose

 rose with paper folding technique

paper rose in red

paper rose blue
The roses look as real as they could get, don't they?

Once the roses are ready, about a bunch of them that could give a good look when together, it's time to give them stems. And it's where toothpicks come in handy.


paper rose stem

Do this with all the available roses.
Paper roses with stems

paper roses
Now, with some remaining quill-paper, make a coil similar to the disc you saw in the earlier pictures, but not as firm. This would have to be a smaller base than that of the vase. It is to make fixing the rose stems easier. Pooja says the coil loosens up a little while you fix it.

Next step: apply glue on this coil, and arrange the roses. Use your judgement and place them the way you would arrange flowers in a vase - for the bunch effect.
paper quill flower pot base glue

paper flower pot

paper flower pot

All that the vase now needs, is some green element for a more natural feel. So pick up some green strips of quill-paper and cut one end of each strip into cones, or rather, give a rough triangle shape to the pieces so they resemble blades of grass.

Glue these strips into the vase, between the roses.

paper quilled flower bunch
And you are done! You could bend these `blades of grass' a little too.

how to make paper-quill flower pot
paper quill flower pot

With such a cute vase around, you won't have to spend precious bucks on heavily transported roses all the time! You could give this as a birthday gift too! Or place it on a dear one's table as a surprise.

Pooja suggests that you make your own varnish using - equal parts of glue (of the Fevicol variety) and water. Use a paint brush to apply a coat of this over the flower pot, so that it glosses and firms up too.

My only wish is that such a project got done by anyone willing, with newspapers and old magazines. Needs patience and effort, but will be worth it.

Meanwhile, a big thank you to Pooja for sharing this wonderful home project with Imprints Handmade. Hope you like this project too, and are willing to try it out with kids and elders alike.

Please note: all pictures have been clicked by Pooja Komarath.

For permission to use the pictures, write to: