Comoros Layered Papercut {Tutorial}

We talked about the country of Comoros this week.

We have been crafting our way through all 22 Arab countries that belong to the Arab League and we are finally on our 22nd country: Comoros!

The Comoros (Arabic: جزر القمر‎‎, Juzur al-Qumur), is a sovereign archipelago island nation in the Indian Ocean located at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel off the eastern coast of Africa between Mozambique and Madagascar.

The Union of the Comoros has three official languages – Comorian, Arabic and French. They joined the Arab League on in 1993.

The national flag of the Union of the Comoros (Arabic: الاتّحاد القمريّ‎‎, al-Ittiḥād al-Qamarī) was designed in 2001 and officially adopted on January 7, 2002.

The flag design consists of a white crescent with four white five-pointed stars inside of a green triangle. The flag has four stripes, representing four islands of the nation: yellow is for Mohéli, white is for Mayotte, red is for Anjouan, and blue is for Grande Comore. The four stars on the flag also symbolize the four islands of the Comoros. The star and crescent symbol stands for Islam, which is the nation’s major religion.

My teenage daughter made a paper cut of the islands, using the colors of the flag.


Shadow frame
Card stock
Foam stickers
Embossing tool
Carbon paper
Black and red Sharpie

I printed out the islands from a photo I found online, making sure to flip it backwards. My daughter placed the yellow card stock down first, with the carbon on top and then the islands.  The lines between the islands were to keep them together during cutting.. They also represented different political connections between the largest cities.

The next step is to cut the outlines out with the xacto. Don’t worry about the markings, they will not be seen.

The next step is to flip the cutout over. Now the islands are clean and ready for the outline and dotted lines with the black Sharpie and the addition of the capital’s star with the red Sharpie.

I helped my daughter create this design on the blue paper that looks like waves.  I didn’t really use a pattern, just practiced first on the yellow discarded paper. Make sure the waves cover the background of the entire frame.

Once the waves were done, my daughter added the green card stock and placed both in the  frame.

Before adding the islands, my daughter placed foam squares on the back of them.

I helped her center the islands over the waves. The foam squares really make them seem to “float” above the waves once everything was finished.

To check out more tutorials that teach about the Arab world, check out some of Comoros’s closest Arab League neighbors:

Somalia Flag Pennant {Tutorial}

Sudan Flag Lantern {Tutorial}

Please stop by A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see more easy DIY crafts.

Khatam Collage Paper Art {Tutorial}

A collage artwork is formed where  an assemblage of different things are bound together, making a new whole.  The word comes from French word coller, “to glue.”


We used a square punch and left over paper to make a khatam collage wall art with fall colors to welcome the new season. A khatam (Arabic: خاتم) is the Arabic word for 8 point star.


I buy a lot of paper to create my handmade cards. Sometimes I buy a set because of a few pieces of paper I like, but have a lot of left over paper I can’t use.  For example, I fell in love with this glitter paper set, but it included fairies on one page that I don’t need.

Rather then throw away the paper, my daughter spent an afternoon punching out glitter squares to make art.



Decorative card stock
Square card stock (2)
Square punch
Double sided tape

My daughter punched out all the orange and yellow glittered paper from the fairy page. She then decided to add from another more purple page to layer a contrast color.

To create the khatam shape, my daughter took two square pieces of paper and glued them to each other, offsetting the edges to make 8 points.

Once the star was made, the punched out squares were added with the double sided tape.

After all the squares were taped down, she flipped over the star and cut off all the pieces of paper that were hanging over.

She kept flipping it over to make sure the edges were clean, trimming off anything hanging over.

Now our artwork was done. I helped her cut out a piece of blue mat board and then we taped it on but you can just add it inside any frame.

If you enjoyed making this khatam art, please visit Khatam bead coin dish and Khatam gift tag. Or stop by A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see more tutorials from the Arab world.  Don’t forget to Pin this to come back to it later:


Recycled Cup Darbuka {Tutorial}

While traveling this summer in Morocco, we heard a darbuka at the wedding we attended, and saw hundreds while walking through the Fes el Bali.


A darbuka is a drum with a goblet shaped body that is used in various parts of MENA (Middle East and North Africa). The origin comes from the Arabic word “darab” (“to strike”).

They are made from clay or sometimes metal and are played either under the arm or resting on the player’s leg.


We have a miniature clay darbuka at home from other MENA travels and decided to use it as inspiration for a hand made play drum out of cups we had left over from a party.


We had recently been sent this leather studio acrylic paint from Plaid Crafts (as my role as Plaid Ambassador) and couldn’t wait to use it to give our hand made darbuka a weathered look. It’s actually an acrylic paint that you can use on leather or vinyl, which is something I’d never seen before, so we can’t wait to try it on a future project with those platforms.


Today, let’s see how it looks on a darbuka!



Paper cups
Sharpie (fine and ultra fine)
Leather Studio Acrylic Paint
Masking tape
Paper towel

We placed our cups bottom to bottom and taped them together to create a goblet look. (To make this with teens, you can first have them cut off the bottoms with an xacto, then super glue the bottom edges togehter. This gives the drum a deeper sound, but please be careful with those tools and children.)

To make our rounded edge top, we added tape around one end, going lengthwise to cover it completely.

Next we started taping around the cups, starting from the top to cover up all the uneven tape edges left over. Try to stay as even as possible to make the next step easier.

After we had covered both cups, we used the smaller Sharpie to draw lines, following the lines created by the tape.

Using our clay darbuka as inspiration (you can find images online or use ours) my daughter filled designs all over her new musical instrument.

To give it a more weathered look, we gave it a paint wash. First painting it then wiped it off quickly with the paper towel. Now it’s ready for some finger drumming!

To learn more about Arabic musical instruments and their names, check out:

Do you live in Washington state and would like me to come to your elementary school to show kids how to make darbukas, while teaching them about MENA?  Contact me here.


If you enjoyed making this drum, try making an Eid rattle drum. Or stop by A Crafty Arab on Pinterest for more tutorials that teach about the Arab world.