In Kanchipuram, Arani is an important culture for weaving and its silks. Due to the easy availability of silk thread, silk garland making is widely seen in these areas.
Malai is a garland made from multi-stranded silk yarns leftover from weaving silk saris. It is embellished with zari, gold threads, and tassels. After de-starching the silk yarn, the strands are combed with a fine wooden comb into long and neat strands. A bunch of strands is gathered in hand and a thick nylon or viscose cord is inserted in the center. By creating a loop with zari, ball-shaped bulges are created by pushing it along the central cord. Ends are generally finished with beads and other ornamentation in gold color. Big garlands are made by combining various small garlands. In Salem district, yarns are made out by reusing cut or pierced cocoons. These waste silk cocoons are trimmed, strung and stitched and then are carried forward in the process of making garlands. The craft is practiced by women with disabilities in Salem district of Tamil Nadu.
Ordinary malai, long malai, wedding malai, thombai for temple chariots, bowthra malai for Tirupati temple, silk cocoon malai are garlands made from silk yarns. Wooden hair comb, cords, knives and scissors are basic tools used for making silk garlands.