The craft of zari-zardosi is done using a variety of custom made needles characteristic of the craft like the Aari needle. Gold and silver threads and looped in the lengths of the fabric and embellished with beads, stones, sequins and pipes.

Raw Materials

Zardosi threads, Sequins, Kalabattu (Braided gold thread used for borders. The thinner varieties are used for the drawstrings of purses), Tikora (Gold thread spirally twisted for complicated designs), Kora (Dull zari thread), Chikna (Shiny zari thread), Sitara (A small star shaped metal piece used for floral designs), Beads, Silk threads, Cotton threads, Glass pipes, Semi (Precious stones or imitations), Powder base and kerosene (These are mixed together to form a paste used for printing the design onto the fabric before the embroidery begins), Fabric (Cottons, velvet, silk, satin, chiffon).




Tools & Technology

Wooden frame or Karchop: The fabric to be embroidered is stretched over this wooden frame to create a workable tension. It is tied to the frame with simple oblique stitches. The frame has two longitudinal lengths of wood called the 'Kalla' and the other two which hold them together are called the 'Shamshera'. The fabric is wound onto the loom horizontally and the embroiderer can work on it sitting down.
Wooden hammer and circular base: used to beat the zari to make it shinier.
Needles: Different types of needles are used according to the fineness required. For example the Aari needles which are the Muthi Aari with a wooden handle and Teeli ki Sui without the handle. 
Scissors: Different types and sizes of scissors are used to cut the fabric, the silk cotton cord, the threads and the zardozi embroidery threads.





Making the threads: Metal ingots are melted and beaten to get larger lengths of the metal. These are drawn into wires when they are pulled through perforated sheets. To make Kalabattu, these wires are flattened and twisted with silk or cotton thread. These would be of uniform thickness, flexibility and ductility.

Transferring the design-Sodhan: Once the cloth is correctly stretched onto the wooden frame, the designs done on butter paper are perforated with a needle. The butter paper is positioned carefully over the fabric and a paste of Kharia (white powder) and kerosene is rubbed over the paper. This seeps through the perforations and marks the designs. The paste is rubbed on using a rag and the butter paper is used repeatedly as stencils according to design. These can be rubbed off using kerosene once the embroidery is done.

1. Zari:
This is done with the Aari needle. The needle is kept perpendicular to the cloth at all times. The yarn is held along the other surface of the cloth using the thumb and fore - finger. The yarn is rotated in the anti-clockwise direction so that it can be caught by the hook of the Aari. The Aari is then rotated towards the worker and pulled out forming a loop. The next loop is drawn from inside the previous one. Sequins, beads and the sitaras are also stitched using the Aari. The beads are lined onto the needle till a string is created and pushed into the fabric when needed. The sequins and sitaras are taken one by one. After this the area is pounded using a hammer to make give it better sheen.

2. Zardosi: This embroidery is done entirely using needles and the yarn used is mostly cotton. Spangles, heavy gold and silver threads are all applied to achieve zardosi. These days, craftsmen have also started to innovatively stitch in bone, shells, rhinestones and even mirrors. This type of embroidery also creates a three dimensional effect with its padding, purls and layers of spangles.