How to Draw Onam Pookalam Designs

How to Draw Onam Pookalam Designs

Onam, the vibrant harvest festival of Kerala, India, is a visual feast for the senses.  One of the most captivating aspects of Onam is the creation of intricate floral carpets called Pookalams. These breathtaking works of art adorn entrances, courtyards, and public spaces, symbolizing prosperity, abundance, and a welcome to King Mahabali.

Onam Pookalam Designs

Let us deep dive into the world of Onam Pookalam designs, equipping you with the knowledge and techniques to create your own stunning floral masterpiece.

Measurement of Onam Pookalam

The size of your Pookalam can vary depending on the available space and your personal preference.

Onam Pookalam Designs

Here’s a breakdown of common Pookalam sizes:

  • Small Pookalam (1-2 feet diameter): Ideal for apartments or limited spaces.
  • Medium Pookalam (3-5 feet diameter): A good size for entrances or courtyards.
  • Large Pookalam (6+ feet diameter): Perfect for creating a grand centerpiece in a spacious area.

Tip: When selecting a size, consider the type of design you’d like to create. More intricate patterns might require a larger canvas.

How Much Flower is Needed for Pookalam?

The flower quantity for your Pookalam depends on several factors:

Onam Pookalam Designs

  • Size of the Pookalam: Larger Pookalams naturally require more flowers.
  • Density of the Design: Densely packed patterns need more flowers compared to sparse ones.
  • Flower Size: Smaller flowers like jasmine require a higher quantity to achieve the desired coverage.

Here’s a general guideline:

  • Small Pookalam: 2-3 kgs of flowers
  • Medium Pookalam: 4-6 kgs of flowers
  • Large Pookalam: 7+ kgs of flowers

Tip: It’s always better to have extra flowers on hand. Leftover blooms can be used to create smaller Pookalams or fill in any gaps.

How to Draw Onam Pookalam Designs

Now comes the exciting part – creating your Pookalam design! Here’s a step-by-step approach:

Gather Your Supplies:

  • Drawing materials: Pencil, compass (optional), ruler (optional)
  • Base material: Newspaper sheets, old cloth (optional)
  • Flowers: Choose a vibrant mix of colors and textures. Commonly used flowers include:
  • Chembarathy (Ixora coccinea)
  • Kashu (Cassia alata)
  • Konnay (Canna indica)
  • Arayal (Ixora arborea)
  • Thumba (Gomphrena celosioides)
  • Jasmine (Jasminum officinale)
  • Other Materials: Small tweezers (optional) for delicate flowers, tray/container for flowers


Choose Your Design

  1. Traditional Pookalam Designs: These often feature geometric patterns like concentric circles, squares, and floral motifs. You can find numerous reference images online or in Onam-themed magazines.
  2. Freehand Designs: Unleash your creativity and draw freehand floral patterns inspired by nature.

Prepare the Base

Spread newspaper sheets or an old cloth on the designated area to protect the floor.

Draw the Outline

Lightly sketch your chosen design on the base material using a pencil. You can use a compass to draw perfect circles or a ruler for straight lines.

Flower Selection and Preparation

Sort your flowers by color and size. Gently pinch off the petals or separate florets from the stem.

Filling the Pookalam

Start with the outer layer and work your way inwards. Use a combination of whole flowers, petals, and florets to achieve a textured and vibrant design. Arrange flowers tightly for dense patterns or loosen them up for a more delicate look. Tweezers can be helpful for placing delicate flowers or filling in tiny gaps.

Finishing Touches

Once the design is complete, gently press down on the flowers to ensure they stay in place.

You can add a central diya (oil lamp) or small clay pots filled with wicks soaked in oil for a traditional touch.


  1. Use a variety of flower colors and textures to create visual interest.
  2. Experiment with different petal shapes and sizes for a dynamic effect.
  3. Don’t be afraid to improvise and add your creative flourishes.

Inspiration for Onam Pookalam Designs

Here are some resources to spark your creativity and help you find the perfect Onam Pookalam design:

Onam Pookalam Designs

  1. Online Resources: Websites and social media platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube are treasure troves of Onam Pookalam inspiration. Search for keywords like “Onam Pookalam designs,” “Athapookalam designs” (first day of Onam Pookalam), or browse through hashtags like #onampookalam and #keralapookalam. You’ll find a vast collection of images showcasing designs of all sizes, complexities, and color palettes.
  2. Traditional Pookalam Books: Several books dedicated to Pookalam designs are available online or in Indian bookstores. These books often feature detailed instructions, diagrams, and photographs of various Pookalam patterns, both traditional and contemporary.
  3. Local Kerala Communities: If you live in an area with a significant Malayali population, consider reaching out to local community centers or cultural organizations. They might conduct workshops or demonstrations on creating Pookalams, providing valuable firsthand learning experiences.

Explore Advanced Pookalam Techniques

For those who want to take their Pookalam artistry to the next level, here are some advanced techniques to explore:

  • Shading and Texturing: Utilize flowers with different colors and textures to create a sense of depth and dimension within your Pookalam. For instance, use darker-hued flowers for outlines and lighter ones for the inner portions.
  • Incorporate Natural Materials: Elevate your Pookalam by including elements like colored sand, rice grains, leaves, or even small pebbles. These materials can be used to create borders, and accents or even depict specific motifs like birds or flowers.
  • 3D Pookalam Designs: Challenge yourself by creating a three-dimensional Pookalam. This can be achieved by using stacked flower petals or incorporating small raised platforms made from sustainable materials like cardboard covered with cloth.

Onam Pookalam Designs

Final Thoughts

Creating a Pookalam is a beautiful way to celebrate the spirit of Onam. It’s a creative outlet, a form of cultural expression, and a symbol of welcoming prosperity and good fortune. With a little planning, patience, and a dash of creativity, you can create a stunning Onam Pookalam that will be the center of attention during the festive season.

So, gather your flowers, unleash your artistic spirit, and get ready to create a vibrant masterpiece that embodies the essence of Onam! Keep exploring!

We hope this article will be helpful to you. Stay tuned for upcoming articles.

READ MORE: A Quick Guide to Create String Art Using String Art Generator

If you like our article, please subscribe to BsyBee Design for the latest updates on design. If we forget anything, share your creative ideas in the comments section.

Follow us on Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here