Warli Painting: How to Do It at Home

Warli painting is a tribal art form of Maharashtra, India. The word ‘warli’ is derived from ‘warla’ meaning a piece of land. Warli paintings are simple and beautiful expressions of the daily life and social events of warli tribe. These paintings were originally used to decorate walls of village houses.

The themes of warli paintings are often human figures created in rhythmic patterns. They are mostly depicted doing their daily chores like showing, harvesting, drawing water from well and also dancing in social functions.

These paintings basically contains simple geometric patterns like circle (representing sun and moon), triangle (representing trees and mountains), squares (representing land). These shapes are joined together to form complete patterns.

The color theme is generally white painted on brick red mud walls. But you can experiment with other colors for background– like, henna, indigo, ochre, black, earthy mud.

The typical warli paintings are done on mud, charcoal or cow dung treated surfaces. Rice paste is used for the white color. But when doing it at home you can substitute the materials as per convenience and availability.

Materials required for warli painting at home:

1- Handmade paper or cloth

2- White Fabric color for cloth or poster color for paper

3- Tracing paper

4- Carbon sheet

Method of painting:

Step 1- Choose a design from internet or books.

Step 2- Enlarge it into required size.

Step 3- Trace the design unto tracing paper.

Step 4- Transfer the design unto the cloth or paper with the help of carbon sheet.

Step 5- Now paint on it with white color.

If using cloth, paint with fabric color and let it dry for 24 hours. Then iron it from the back side of the cloth. Warli painting can be experimented on many types of surfaces, like bed sheet, sarees, wall hanging, lamp shades, cushion covers, clay pots for decorative purposes.

You can also paint small corner of your house with geru (red mud) mixed with linseed oil for long lasting effect and do warli art on it. Decorate with some clay pots to give it more traditional look.