Friday, November 2, 2007

Method of making Thanjavur paintings

Make you own Tanjore paintings

Materials Required.

01. Plywood above 6 mm thickness.
02. White cotton cloth.
03. Chalk power.
04. Fevicol.
05. Flat Brush (above 3" width).
06. Sand Paper (emery sheet).
07. Arabic Gum.
08. Coloured Jaipur Stones.
09. Gold foil (paster on papar)
10. Poster Colors.
11. Rounded Brushes (000, 0, 2, 4, 6,8)
12. Black Pilot Pen.
13. Multi colours transparent ink (photo color).
14. Cutter, Ruler, Yellow carbon paper, pencil.
15. Reference art to trace


This is divided into
I Canvas preparation
II Trace the design
III. Sculptural Stage
IV Decorating Stage
V. Improvise Stage

VI. Painting

I Canvas preparation

1. Take a clean cotton cloth.(Cloth size should be wider than the plywood
at least 1 inch in all the sides. If your plywood size is 14 x 18 inches
then your cloth should be wider than 16 x 20 inches)

2.Take the Plywood and soften the edges with sand paper.

3. Now let us prepare the first paste for pasting the cloth on the Plywood.
Ratio – Water:Fevicol - 4:1

4.Filter the paste by coffee filter & Immerse cotton cloth in it for few minutes.

5. Now Lift wet cotton cloth from the first paste, rinse the cloth gently. Hold it for a while so that extra paste to get drained.

6. Now spread, wet cloth on top of the plywood and wipe the cloth gently from centre to edge horizontally & fold extra cloth to the other side.

7. Pull the folded extra cloth for wrinkle free surface in the front side and paste backside cloth strongly with fevicol only.Keep the wet canvas to dry on the newspaper for couple of hours.

8. Lets prepare the second paste for layering the canvas for this Make a paste of ratio Chalk powder: Water: Fevicol - 2: 1: 1

9.Take a clean wide flat brush (preferred size is 2-3 inch brush) Apply the second paste on the canvas horizontally and leave it for 10-15 minutes to dry. Then go for applying vertically. Repeat the same until completion of the layering paste. Leave it to dry in shade for one day.

10. Now take a piece of emery paper, and fold that as a longer stripe. Gently rub the canvas circularly. This is done for smooth even surface.Clean it with a dry flat brush.

Now the canvas is ready for Tajore painting. If you want a glassy look you can add some portion of Arabic gum with the layering gum (step 3) itself.

(Tracing of design)
II Trace the design

1. Choose a design

2. Now trace the design using yellow carbon paper on the canvas. Do not trace the image in detail. For example while tracing the ornaments just trace the outlines only. Not in details of the shapes. The trace is for only the judgment of the area of the decorative areas and shapes of the figure. Care should be taken at this stage to provide a margin recess on all the four sides of the board to accommodate the frame, once the painting is completed

III. Sculptural Stage

1) By using round/flat brush, apply a smooth layer of embossing gum in the
decorative areas. The ratio of embossing layer is

Ratio – Arabic Gum: Chalk powder : fevicol - 1:2:1
Leave the Canvas with Emboss effort to get for more than a day.

2) If you want more embossment for certain area repeat the above process.

3) Now mark the correct places using a pencil/pen to paste the stones & pearls.
After the exact confirmation of the location for Stones & pearls, Mix Few dropsof fecivol with some water. Stick the stones starting with bigger stones first.
Leave it to get fix for a day.

(putting gold foil)

IV Decorating Stage

1) To get a smooth effect on the glittering area of the
tanjore art. You need to apply one more layer of embossing
gum over the stones/pearls.

2) Wait for one hour. Now pick a bowl of water & cotton. Dip a piece of cotton in the water, and squeeze it to remove extra water.

3) Now with the wet cotton, gently rub circular manner on the embossed area.

4) Keep in mind that you need to maintain the neatness on the painting area too.

V. Improvise Stage of the Tanjore Art

1) Mark the design with the help of Ball-point pen over embossed area.

2) In a cone fill a mixture which contains
Arabic Gum : Chalk powder : fevicol in ratio of - 2:2:1/2

3)Carefully do cone work in filling area (like side corner / pillar) with good traditional design. Also give boundaries to the stones and pearls with the help of the cone. And let it dry.

4) Now cut a gold foil sheet from the Gold foil booklet. Place the gold foil sheet over the design and mark an edge impression with your thumb for approximate shape.

10) Cut the require shape of gold foil by leaving 3 to 4 mm extra on all the sizes of the require shape.

11) Apply glue (fevicol with water mixture) to the back side of the gold foil & place over design area.

12) Remove gold foil pasted over stones in tanjavur painting. For this Groove the shape with Safety-pin gently. Just apply wet brush in the centre of stone.
Use safety-pin to remove the soften wet gold foil. You can use johnson buds instead of brush. Shape of the stone can be adjust using safety-pin itself

(complete picture)
VI. Painting:

Now paint the figures and background carefully with poster colours . The painting is normally done using white colour for the key figure and slightly shading it with blue or the normal body colour. The depiction is normally static and the painting does not reflect any action or movement. The usage of the background colours is mostly striking - it is a dark hue of red, blue or green. The paintings are characterized by pillars and curtains in the side, and some smaller compartmentalization at the bottom or top to accommodate small figures.

The Frames
Tanjore paintings were framed in two types of structures;

the wooden type made of plain wood

and the Chettinad type, which have an extra Ornate design .

Hope this information has helped you . Do have a look on links to find tanjore painting designs on your right. Do post your comments and ideas on the tag board on the right. If you are interested in other forms of painting then click the link below

Rangoli Designs
Warli Painting
Warli Painting
Glass painting

So just start and decorate your house with these inspiring and glittering Tanjore art pieces.


kameswari said...

it is very descriptive and very useful .I like to learn the neat and easiest way of exposing the stones

vkiyer74 said...

I am impressed the way details have been provided. not many wish to share their knowledge of tanjore art.

I too share my knowledge of this fine art thru my website
Anyone wanting more details on the subject and also the material availability can contact me at my e mail id:


Niakum said...

Hey I wanted to know where i can buy Tanjore paintings in Mumbai. I wanted to buy one for myself and am wondering where i can get one

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gowri said...

I learned tanjore paintings from vkiyer..the exact way he teaches me has been reflected in your descriptions.i am refreshed now thankyou.
mrs Gowri kalyanaraman

Thoughtfactory said...

Thanks all of you for your encourangement... Vkiyer Sir I came accross your site sometime back and really appreciate the way you come forward to help everyone I was so impresssed that I hav already added your link in my blog

Sundaresan said...

I am doing and started selling tanjore paintings in a small way in mumbai anybody can contact at 9869760302

rohinik26 said...

your blog is awesome .. i have been wanting to learn Tanjore painting for a while.. ( i live in Houston, TX) and dont have any teachers here.. your website is well written to motivate me to try Tanjore painting.. appreciate your effort and willingness to share such a secretively kept art.. Cheers... Rohini

Uma J said...

Very useful and exhaustive.


Ritu said...

I love you for this, as i hv spent so much money to learn this, but here i got the perfect way, thanks to you again.

geetha said...

Your information is really worth... it has cleared many of my doubts regarding Tanjore painting..Thank you so much.

Akshita said...

very nice explanation, like to try following ur guidens,when i tried i will post it to ur id

sushmita said...

nt to learn tanjore painting in kolkata.does any one have any info on this ?

you can email me at

divya said...

Thank u sooooooooooo much for the clear description of this tanjore painting well its my long time dream to learn this which has come true now and i try this n again share my experience on this once again thank u............

divya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
radha said...

you have a clear way of explaining. i went to wikipedia first, and got very little detail. their info on this art is very brief and they have asked for inputs, pls do add to their info. i don't seem to get much on the history or the various motifs used in this form, can you give me some info on this.

rase said...

My friend would like to teach this beautiful art in Melbourne. The Workshop starts on 1st Week January 2011. Interested persons can contact him on

siri said...

You have a very nice description about tanjore painting.I am very interested in learning tanjopre paintings but not sure where could i get all the things in USA.

varshini said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
varshini said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
varshini said...

I also ordered few paintings... amazing are they ! !!

varshini said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pragya agarwal said...

excellent would love to learn more so can create piece for own

balu said...

I am happy there are people like u to share this art. I am also a Tanjore Painting Artist living in Patna. I recently conducted exhibition here in Patna. response was good. I am also now taking orders and working on it. And as per the request of the public i am going to conduct a workshop for Tanjore Painting in the month of May 2011.
A small tip which i would like to share is through my experience i use mehandi cone to fill the mukk and do the embossing and also for thin line designs.

Anyone who wants to place orders or learn tanjore painting or to buy tanjore painting kit pl. do call 08102401665 or 08969743164.My email id is

viji said...

Thank u so much! This site is very usefull for all new learner of tanjore painting. I`m from Bangalore.If anyone wants to buy tanjore painting pls contact 9742098189.

viji said...

Thank u so much! This site is very usefull for all new learner of tanjore painting. I`m from Bangalore.If anyone wants to buy tanjore painting pls contact 9742098189.

Anonymous said...

Appreciate your attempt to explain the process, however, as a traditional Tanjore Painting artist with more than 25 years of experience in this art myself, I can say that this is not the exact way a Tanjore Painting is made!

This is why I am putting up a detailed, correct procedural tutorial to make Tanjore Paintings in my blog, and website, and, do visit if you want to know the right method to make Tanjore Paintings.

Thank you!

Ana said...

Very helpful blog! I tried to make my own tanjore painting from the steps given here, also I attended classes from and learnt how to make a tanjore painting from board making to painting all by myself!

Your blog gave me the inspiration to take up learning tanjore painting, thank you so much!

kalpanakothuri said...

u have provided a very detailed info about tanjore painting.thanks 4 d same.I also make tanjre paintings .if any one wants to buy call me on 9704884488

Laxmi said...

Hi, I live in the Bay Area , California and take orders for Tanjore paintings. please contact me if you are interested. 408 2042041. Thanks, Laxmi Srikanth. said...

Hii.. Amazing article you have here.. We do sell Original Tanjore Paintings, Free Delivery Across India..! So would like to buy from us? visit our online store at


aakriti singhal said...

hiiiii......nicely explained..!
actually i wanna know dat is der any substitute for arabic gum ??
plss reply me to my id
n if ders no substitute for it than from where can i get it s am from a small city here its not avaiable

Divine Tanjores said...

Hey, you can get tanjore paintings in Mumbai. Pl contact me on 9820152087. I have all sizes n I can customi

Kalabharati Veenaandart said...

Exellent information shared..
Thanks to the one posted this information... Art is divine, sharing the art technique is a blessing!
Also i like to thank the site and motto of Iyersir and his contribution... may be we could get his name in Guinness World Records...
As a tiny offering to this kala you are welcome to check
my website

Sudha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SANDHYA said...

is there anybody who sell Tanjore painting materials to USA. I have been trying Google search but I don't find one. Please help me on this. I too learnt Tanjore Painting from VK Iyer seven years back Now I want to continue but don't find any seller to USA
Thanks in advance

SANDHYA said...

if you know anyone selling tanjore painting material to USA please contact me @

Anand Srinivasan said...

The arabic gum that I have is 20 years old. Can I still use it effectively?

Bindu said...


Could I know where you get all teh material from? If there are any places that can ship to the US, could you please let me know.
Thanks in advance. Beautiful blog btw.

Rashmi Singh said...

Ananya Arts offering wide range of attractive Tanjore painting. Find the collection of Tanjore painting, Miniature Paintings, and classical Tanjore Paintings India. For more details call us 9873261820 or visit our website

Bhargavi said...

Hi! Please visit for beautiful range of authentic Tanjore paintings and also Tanjore art works. We source authentic Indian handicrafts directly from the finest artisans and door deliver it to you.
We also specialise in product customisation and corporate gifting solutions.

Varna Creations said...

Thanks for this awesome post , it is really very helpful.

Srinivasan Ethirajalu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Srinivasan Ethirajalu said...

hank you for reposting my articles thru orkut post very long back .....


Srinivasan Ethirajalu


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ABPPS said...

Ranjit Tanjore Art is supplier of tanjore paintings in all over in India. Also we provide tanjore painting classes in Delhi, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Noida and Ghaziabad. If you want to buy or learn tanjore painting, you can get more information here -

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Mahesh Kumar said...


This is a very good post on tanjore paintings. Thanks a lot for sharing.

sudha balakrishnan said...

Please can any one give me info about the shops where r can I buy red and green stones , gold foil in bangalore

Suma.BSM said...

Thanks for sharing such a nice information. Paint dealers in Bangalore

Charu Sree Harsha said...

Hi ..could you please tell the use of multicolored photo colors...n how to use them...
Are those to be used for painting on the gold foil...
Wanted to paint saree details on gold foil And was wondering which colors to use

Charu Sree Harsha said...

Hi ..could you please tell the use of multicolored photo colors...n how to use them...
Are those to be used for painting on the gold foil...
Wanted to paint saree details on gold foil And was wondering which colors to use

jyothi tulasi said...

Tanjore paintings are my favorites. You have made a tanjore painting lesson so easy here. I've seen here at

Janaki Subramanian said...

very well explained.. we take regular classes in tanjore painting in chennai.They are taught by a professional tanjore artist. anybody interested can contact us at

Unknown said...

Very nice post... I really love your blog posts... specially those onThanjavur paintings, Tanjore paintings for sale online

E'NV'Y said...

Ma'am, do you conduct classes in blore?

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