UNESCO has declared 18 November as the International Day of Islamic Art, which means it’s perfect for these Islamic Art Projects for kids!
Have you ever looked at a Persian rug and wondered at the intricate craftsmanship that went into it? That may have also given you an inkling into why those rugs are so expensive!
Persian rugs are just part of the huge, wide world of Islamic art. It’s quite hard to associate Islamic art to any one part of the planet, and you’ll find that it covers regions in the Gulf, Turkey, parts of Europe, Africa as well as India. Think Turkish pottery, engravings on the Taj Mahal, Moroccan mosaics, and of course, Persian rugs!
Since Islamic art is so scattered, the UNESCO decided to observe 18 November as the International Day of Islamic Art, so there could be more awareness about this unique kind of art. It’s also meant to spread information about the contributions of Islamic art to human civilization and to support bonding among different cultures.
With this special day coming up this month along with World Arabic Language Day on 18th December, we think it’s the perfect time to dip our fingers in this beautiful world of Islamic art, and that’s why we’ve got some gorgeous looking Islamic art projects for kids!
15 Beautiful Islamic Art Projects for Kids
A lot of Islamic art features geometrical elements like squares and circles coming together in symmetrical patterns. These patterns are often brightly colored and soothing at the same time. Nurture Store gives us a simple geometrical art lesson to help beginners understand the building blocks of Islamic art.
One area of excellence of Islamic art is in glass making. Egypt and Syria were the main hot spots for making gorgeous glass, especially lustre-glass, which was known for it’s unique sheen. Stained glass soon followed, and The Pink Mosque in Iran is a gorgeous example. Artful Artsy Amy brings alive this art form with a beautiful project.
Mosaic tiles are an important part of Islamic art and architecture, in many parts of West Asia. They were often used to decorate the insides of buildings, like the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Babble Dabble Do has an easy paper tiles project that can be easily printed and put together.
One of the most common symbols seen in Islamic art is the 8 pointed star, made of two squares, placed at 45 degrees to each other. Delicious and DIY has a lovely wall art craft that uses the eighth point star. This is gorgeous enough to gift someone!
The Islamic civilization included many scientists, astronomers and mathematicians, which is probably why there seems to be so much integration between Math and Islamic art, as seen in tessellations, which inspired M. C. Escher. Ramadan Joy has a garland project that is very easy to put together and looks gorgeous.
Four basic shapes are used in most Islamic art, and they can be repeated and rearranged in any form to get an infinite number of designs. Royal Design Studio mixes several patterns to create some custom wall art that’ll immediately lift any drab space.
18th December is World Arabic Language Day, the day when Arabic was adopted as the sixth official language of the United Nations. Arabic calligraphy may seem very complex, but Art Class Curator has a project that will help you get a small idea of this intricate craft.
Islamic art also extends to India, where the Mughals have had considerable influence on the arts and culture scene. However, although they brought in art forms from places like Persia, it eventually merged with other aspects of Indian art to create something unique. For instance, the insides of the Taj mahal do not use tiles – instead, they use inlays in floral patterns. A Crafty Arab makes a sun catcher that imitates this intricate floral art of the Taj.
Repetition is a prominent feature of Islamic art, whether it’s geometrical designs or patterns depicting flowers or plants. This kind of repetitive pattern is called arabesque, and is meant to symbolize the infinite nature of God. Eraser printing is a great way to recreate repetitive patterns, as shown in this project by Art for Small Hands.
One of the main implementations of calligraphy was in coins and on official documents, and every ruler had his unique calligraphy seal, called the tughra. The most famous is probably the tughra of the Ottoman sultan Suleiman. Art Class Curator shows how kids can use their names to create radial calligraphy art, that looks quite impressive once complete.
Islamic art has evolved a lot, as large numbers of people traveled from one region to another, carrying their culture with them and influencing and getting influenced by their destination. Wee Folk Art has a project that combines a Turkish pottery style with Moroccan patterns to create something unique.
If any of these art projects seem too overwhelming and you’d like something super simple but which will give you an insight into Islamic art, try this coloring page by Super Coloring. It’s full of geometric patterns, and coloring these will prove to be a therapeutic experience.
Zellige is an art form that involves making mosaic tiles by attaching individual pieces on a plaster base. This is a lot like a collage, and is mainly found in Morocco. Crayola helps us recreate this art by using molding clay, and kids will enjoy coming up with their own patterns in different colors.
A Crafty Arab has another project that features the 8-pointed star as well as some bright colors, which were often seen in Iznik ceramics, a main feature of the Ottoman empire.
You’ve probably heard of Turkish pottery, but another art form that’s popular in the country is Ebru. This is basically marbling of paper, but it’s more than just colorful swirls. Old Ebru works are incredibly detailed and use beautiful colors. PBS gives us a taste of this art in a simple marbling paper project.
I’m sure you’ve learnt a lot about Islamic art by going through these projects! Of course, this is just the tip of the ice berg, but it helps kids get an introduction into another world, and countries they may not know much about. More than anything, they’ll be intrigued to see how art is something fluid; how it transforms when it travels from one place to another, and how everything around the world is linked someway through art. Now that’s a beautiful lesson to learn!