Making Plastic Mehndi Cones

Making your own plastic henna storage/application cone

The following is a method I developed for making plastic cones as used for mehndi application which is both easier (for me) than the typical "rolling" method as well as providing a side benefit of providing convienent storage of mixed henna paste prior to use.

This idea struck me while viewing a web page by Catherine Cartwright Jones where she was reporting wonderful experiences with using so-called "carrot bags". Upon seeing the picture of one of these bags, I suddenly remembered a technique I saw back in my college days while watching a cocaine dealer package his wares. He needed a simple, effective, and cheap way of packaging which was air and watertight, secure, and provided easy viewing of product. These same properties are most useful with respect to henna paste...it is completely sealed in, there's no risk of the bag oozing all over you during application, and you can see the henna paste to help determine if it's still good. [Note: "completely sealed in" is relative. The molecule that does the staining is smaller than the space between molecules of the plastic, so it's not technically sealed in. Thus, this is for short-term storage only; come up with something different for longer term storage of paste.]

Materials (makes 4 cones):

Instructions:

  1. Cut the zip-lock seal off of the top of the bag and discard.

  2. Use ruler and permanent marker to draw out four triangles on the bag, using three lines originating at the midpoint of the top of the bag extending to the lower left corner, the lower center, and the lower right corner.

  3. Cut along the lines drawn in step 2. The straighter the cut, the better. This creates four double-sided plastic triangles.

  4. Now we need to seal the sides back together where we just cut them. To do this, place the cone between the pages of a book so that the edge to be sealed sticks out approximately 1/16" (or .2cm). Run a lighter flame down the edge while holding book tightly shut; the plastic edges will melt together.

    placement
    sealing the edge closeup of sealing the edge
    click any image for the full-size version

  5. For sections #2 and #3, you'll need to trim off the "top" of the cone, as it is still sealed (because it used to be the bottom of the freezer bag). I like to trim all the sections, to make the "tops" flat when the cone is held vertically.

    the bag is transformed

  6. Repeat items 1-5 until you have as many as you need. You can use them as-is with open tops or follow the instructions below to use them for (temporary) storage of henna paste. If you'd like to add a precision metal tip to the bag (ensuring a .5mm or .7mm line), check out my instructions for that.

Using the cones to store ready-to-use paste:

  1. Mix a batch of henna paste per your usual methods; bring it to the consistency you typically use for cone or squeeze-bottle application.

  2. Transfer paste into the new cones, leaving an inch or two of empty space at the top of the cone. It is important to not get any paste near or on the edge of the top...if you do, it will not seal properly. I use paperclips to affix the cone, opened, inside a plastic soft drink bottle that has the top cut off. Then I put my paste into another ziplock bag, snip off a corner of the bag and squeeze it into the cones carefully. This makes it easier to prevent any paste getting onto the top of the cone.

  3. Finally, seal the top of the cone. Obviously, the book method won't work here as the paste would ooze out when the book was closed. So, lay the cone on your table with about 1/16" sticking over the edge. Place the metal ruler's edge along the top to hold the sides together, press down, and run the lighter flame along the edge, melting the sides together.

  4. Voila! If you're going to use in the next couple of days, allow them to sit out for a few hours, then toss into your refrigerator. If you're not going to use it for a week or two, just toss 'em into the fridge. Yes, I've had henna paste stay active in excess of a week using this method.

  5. To use, simply snip off a tiny bit off of the tip. Keep snipping TINY bits off until you get the hole size you desire. Other than that, use it just like any other cone.

Note: If your cones burst at the seams, ensure that you're melting approximately 1/16" of plastic. If there's too little, there's not enough plastic in the joint. If there's too much, there's a risk of pinholes developing in the joint [to fix that, run your fingertip down the joint while the plastic is still melted]. You'll know when you're making the perfect joint when it matches the factory-sealed edge(s) of the freezer bag.

Also note that *any* moisture along the edge that you're melting together will prevent a good joint. That's why you have to be so careful when putting the paste in the cone...if any smears on the edge, the plastic won't seal properly and you *will* have pinholes.