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.


Sheep Origami Bookmark {Tutorial} plus Who Hid The Eid Lamb {Review}

I recently received the Arabic children’s book Who Hid the Eid Lamb, written by Taghreed Najjar and illustrated by Manal Haddadin, from Maktabatee.  This company, owned by two moms, is founded with a simple objective: to hand-select high-quality, engaging, and relevant Arabic books and goods for children and beginners.


The story hit so close to home because the same thing happened to me as a child. You can’t image my joy at realizing I can share my experience with my daughters as I saw myself in a children’s book. Even down to the pony tail!


I also remember as a child falling in love with an Eid lamb that had been brought to my aunt’s home before Eid Al Adha.  While the story in the book is set in Palestine, and mine was in Libya, and the lamb in the book was white, while the one in my memory is black, the other similarities really hit close to home.


I remember my older cousin Ahmed had to kill the lamb for the family Eid meal and I was mad at him for days after. It’s funny how memories come rushing back from just a few images.  And the images in the book are quite stunning. We loved them all, from the detail in the Palestinian embroidery on the dresses to the tiny touches like a flower necklace on the lamb, as it frolicks in the field.

Did you notice our adorable sheep bookmark holding our place in the corner? Inspired partly by the Kaab’a bookmark we made a few days ago and the lamb from my childhood, we made it to go with our new book.



Double sided tape
Card stock in beige, black and pink

This bookmark is in two parts, the origami bookmark that fits over the page and the cover made to look like a lamb. We started by making our bookmark first by folding a square piece of beige card stock into a triangle.

We folded the top point down.

We then folded over the points on the side of the triangle towards the point in the middle.

Finally, we tucked the side points into the pocket created by our second fold.


Our bookmark looked like this when it was complete. We set it aside to work on our lamb, which will cover the middle fold.

My daughter drew out a large “cloud” design on the black card stock and cut it out. She choose the word cloud because kids would get it, she said. She made it the size of our bookmark.

Next she placed the cloud over the bookmark and traced out the design. She traced it out with pencil, but if you feel confident to just cut and turn, you can try it that way too.

Now she needed to create the tuft of wool over the eyes of the lamb. She drew out a more horizontal, smaller cloud shape.

Once that was cut out, she drew and also cut an oval for the lamb face.

Finally, the ears were drawn and cut.

Now all our pieces were ready for assembly.

We added the oval face to the round black card stock and placed the ears on the sides. The top layer was the tuft of wool over the eyes.

We added the lamb’s face to the bookmark, only adding double sided tape to the top half of the body.

We made sure our cut out points matched.

Now it was time to use our pencil and draw out eyes, a nose and a mouth. We used the face from the sheep countdown printout to figure out placement.

We cut out a small triangle from pink card stock for the nose and use the double sided tape to add it on. My daughter then went over the pencil lines with a pen. She also outlined the ears and face.

Now our book mark is done and ready to hold our place.

Please stop by the Maktabee site to check out this adorable book on Eid Al Adha. It’s also available on Amazon and at your local book seller.

After I read the story to my daughter, I took it to the story time I did for Hajj at our local library and the kids there loved it also.

Shukran, Arabic for thank you, Maktabatee for this beautiful treasure that I am happy to add to my shelf of books.

If you enjoyed making this bookmark, stop by these tutorials
Moon and Star Punch Art Bookmark {Tutorial}

Eid Mubarak Punch Out Bookmark {Tutorial}


To make more sheep crafts, visit

Eid PomPom Sheep {Tutorial}

99 Creative Sheep Projects {Resource}


Make sure you visit A Crafty Arab on Pinterst for more and subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to see when our tutorial comes out.