Dance with a tray

These handicraft instruction for a tray which is decorated with candles and other and balanced on the head was developed in teamwork, coming up because of a question in the forum of the orientalweb.

Iskanda doing a fantasy dance with a tray


You need:

1 tray, round, not too heavy.
Be sure that it does not make any sound when you hold it in your hand like a fan and shake it, otherwise it is not stiff enough.

1 piece of cloth 80 x 80 cm (31.5 x 31.5 inches).
We took "baby spitting cloth", it can be wound and sewn easily.

1 decorative ribbon to hide the cloth, apart from this you can always adapt the color of the ring to your costume.

4 thick short candles of the same size, one higher thick candle for the centre, 4 night lights (in between).

Wax pads (3 for each short candle, one for the night lights, for fixing the deco material (pearl strings), one per slope).

Velcro (hook and loop tape), 3 pcs of 5 cm (2.0 inches) each (only the rough face).

Hot glue

Bead strings (for Christmas tree) for the loops, perhaps glass stones, flowers etc.


Fix 3 straps of velcro (hook side) by hot glue right in the centre of the tray, then turn it over and place it centred on a can which is high and large enough. Thus you will note immediately when the decoration is not distributed evenly, and you can better arrange the loops hanging down.

Then place the short candles on the tray, taking care that they always have the same angle to each other, otherwise the tray gets unbalanced and you'll get a stiff neck! The four small candles are placed in a square, with the big one exactly in the centre.

Then fix the short candles on the clean and fat-free tray with at least 3 wax pads each.
Now you can fix the bead strings or similar deco in 8 small loops on wax pads along the rim of the tray. Depending on the thickness of the bead string, you may need twice as much wax. To hide the glue, you can stick some artificial leaves and/or glass stones. The glass stones have the additional advantage that they nicely reflect all light sources.

As you have to know even without a mirror where the front and the back is, we suggest to:
- have longer loops in the back,
- a flower of a different color in the front or
- a glass stone or bindi on the big candle in the front.

The most elegant version is a silver tray with white candles.
We have tried many different colors, but green, red or blue candles are not as radiant as the white ones. The effect on the audience is best with white. :-)))

The ring:

Take the cloth 80 x 80 cm (31.5 x 31.5 inches), fold a triangle and twist it around so that you get a ring. Fix it with a safety pin and place it on your head. The diameter has to be smaller than that of your head, but big enough to allow the velcro to touch your head, you have to try out a bit.
When you have found the right size for your head, you sew the ends and wrap colored ribbon around the ring.
I have wrapped my ring with white silk and decorated it with small loops from the same material as that of the tray. It does not matter what material you use. Some in our group took cotton, others simple ribbons for gift parcels. Due to the weight and the fact that the velcro is "glued" to the hair covered with a lot of hair spray, the tray will only move if you bend your neck or move too abruptly.
Also on the ring you need to mark the front, as it will adapt to your head shape with the time, but until then you have to wear it always in the same way.
We had an experience like that, the tray would not remain in place and tend to slide until we noticed that the ring was the cause....

I hope, I have not left out anything and you can follow my instruction.
best regards


I prefer a brass tray as basis. I fix the candles on wax pads (in candle stores), in the middle I place an incense bowl fixed with special glue (hobby supply shops).
Depending on how you want to balance the tray (head cloth looks quite old-fashioned), take care that it does not slip (easily on smooth hair). A little trick (this time I use that word - although some of you know I don't like it in dance context, as dance is something honest and "trick" has a slightly different touch...) take a very thin rubber ring (best a beige or transparent one) and glue it under the tray. The rubber is invisible, and the tray is "slip-proof".

Now have fun!
Regards from Frankfurt


My tray is appr. 67 cm (26.4 inches) in diameter, with seven big and two small candles which I sometimes clamp between my toes. I fix the candles with wax pads, which is very safe, but allows for easy removal, as is necessary with the thin candles.
The flowers are fixed with the glue gun. I always have adhesive tape with me, in case something gets loose during transport.
Otherwise I don't use many tricks on my head: cotton cloth, and if it should be a quite authentic folk dance, stuff all hair (not easy for me) and make a knot in your neck. I wrap a small Berber cloth all around as decoration.
Close the second piece of cloth to a ring, as Nadya explains; however, I suggest to form it according to your own head shape; mine is somewhat thicker in the back.

Best regards and have a nice day



It depends on what you want to perform: a phantasy tray dance or an authentic folk dance?
For a folk dance, you should have some knowledge about material, colors and accessories.
Otherwise you can follow your own phantasy - and name your dance accordingly.

My version is more folk style.
I brought a tray from Cairo, a decorated brass plate of 50 cm (20 inches) diameter which is normally placed on a foldable wood rack in the living room.
Therefore, I do not fix the decoration permanently on my tray, but rearrange everything new if I need it.

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The thick short candles are always good, I recommend more than 4 (for better balance), fixed with wax pads, double side adhesive tape, hot wax or whatever.
You can use (plastic) flowers, simply place the blossoms between the candles and fix the stem in the centre with adhesive tape.
Nobody will see during the dance what material you have used on the tray for fixing.

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There are several means to prevent the tray from sliding: faith ;-)), velcro (Sahira), with a thin rubber string glued under the tray (Reyhan) drops of textile glue, which should dry well, or with hair spray shortly before the performance.
Now you need a big square cloth for the head, folded to a triangle. It is tied behind the neck below the hair and (if it is long enough) lead back and knotted above the forehead.
You better hide the ends if you don't want to look funny!

Very important: the ring making your head a halfway suitable basis for the tray.
Take a long piece of cloth, wind it to a circle in the size of a plate, perhaps with a knot, and wrap it with the remaining cloth all around. Again and again....
You can decorate this ring with a suitable piece of cloth and sew the ends.
The sequin tape is to prevent the ring from sliding off the head cloth or off the hair - even more risky.

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