Ganesh Chaturthi marks the beginning of a long festive season, and to me it means dressing up, visiting friends, eating modaks and feasting on all the Ganpati decoration. Everyone decorates their Ganpati. Every one of them is different. And all are beautiful!
This year I decided to turn from eager spectator to active participant. We don’t get Ganpati at home… and I REALLY wanted to try my hand at decorating at least once. So I asked a friend if I could do her decoration for her… and she agreed!
I started planning and thinking of ideas and 3 things were immediately important to me. It had to be:
(1) Not too expensive. It doesn’t make sense to spend a whole lot of money on a whole lot of stuff just to discard it a few days later.
(2) Easy to do. I am no professional crafts person, though I can manage simple stuff well enough. Also, I didn’t have days to spend preparing, so it had to be easy and fast.
(3) Gorgeous! All that effort had to be worth at least a few smiles when my friend and her family saw the end result.
So after a lot of Googling and net surfing, and thinking of the easiest, fastest and prettiest way possible, I finally did this…
As you will see, the only things I bought were the string of gold flowers used as a border, the decorations and the candles. The rest is all stuff we picked up from our homes. Here is how I went about it.
DIY Ganpati Decoration:
First I collected all the pretty glassware I could find in our homes in all possible shapes and sizes.
I bought a whole lot of decorations that you normally use for gift wrapping.
Decorating the Glassware:
I started decorating the glasses with whatever I had.
To make it easier, I did one set of glasses in one type of decoration.
With the flowers, I first strung them with a needle and thread and tied the flower around the glass. I then stuck some lace on the thread so that it doesn’t show.
The candlelight alone would not be enough to light up the stage, so I took some large glass jars to add lights into.
I stuck the lights with cello tape along the sides of the jar so that it stays up and doesn’t all fall to the bottom of the jar.
Finally all the glassware was done.
Decorating the Stage:
Next I started working on the ‘stage’. My friend usually uses a window to make a stage for Ganpati every year.
I pulled the blinds down, and luckily they were a creamy colour. This went perfectly with our theme of cream, silver and gold.
I wanted a heavier backdrop in the center, just behind the Ganpati, so I used a white dupatta and layered it with gold net left over from a previous Ganpati decoration. I used another cream dupatta to make a swag on top, and lots of safety pins to pin it all up.
Then I pinned up the string of gold flowers all along the edges, to give the stage a more finished look.
Next, I placed all the decorated glassware on the stage, to figure out what goes where. It would have been too flat if I laid it all directly on the window cill. So I used empty plastic food boxes and kitchen utensils turned upside down to place the glassware at different levels. The stool in the center marks the place for Ganpati.
I clicked a photograph of this arrangement to make sure I remember it. Then I picked up all the stuff except for the upside down boxes. I put a white sheet over all of it and layered that with some silver net, also left over from previous. This helped to hide all the boxes and gave a carpeted look to our stage. After carpeting it, I put all the glasses back in place as per the photograph.
Plants always make everything look better! Here too, just one in each corner brought new life to the stage! I put a multi-plug right at the back in the center so that all the wires reached it comfortably yet it conveniently hid behind the idol.
Setting it All Up:
We filled up the glasses with water and floated candles in each one of them.
We put some pink and white flowers in the taller glasses. This added a little bit of colour to our setting. I had some trouble with the flowers. Every time I poured water into the glass, they would float up! Finally what worked was Play-Doh. I made a little ball of Play-Doh, weighed it down by rolling some glass pebbles into the clay and placed it at the bottom of the glasses. I then stuck the flowers into the clay and they stayed down! Since I had put lace at the bases of the tall glasses, it conveniently hid the Play-Doh.
And we were all set to welcome Him!
The window… and the stage…
Here is the whole process in a little video.
This was my first Ganpati decoration, and I thoroughly enjoyed doing it. Thank you Kumars, for sharing your Ganpati with me!
The regular pros, I’m sure, have a lot of tips and tricks of their own… share some with us!
I’m sure everyone is now environmentally aware and is planning to get an eco-friendly Ganpati idol. Head over here for details on different types of eco-friendly idols and where you can get yours.
Until next year… Ganpati Bappa Morya!
PS: The next year we got brighter and more colourful and more traditional with our decoration… check out our decoration with sarees and bangles here.