Air Dry Clay Ladybug {Tutorial} Plus Where? {Review}

I was recently sent the book Ayn? (Where? in Arabic) by Aya Khairy and Rania El Turk, from Maktabatee.


This little board book follows the story of a boy that discovers a ladybug on a head of lettuce his mom has brought home from the grocery story.  He delicately lifts it to carry but it flies away. But where is it?  Kids can lift the flaps of the next few pages to look for the ladybug, who seems to be closer than you think.


I took this book to a recent storytelling session and it was a huge hit. The kids loved taking turns lifting the flap and looking for the ladybug. I loved that the book was wordless so I could improvise Arabic words into the story, such as خس (khus) for lettuce, هرة (hirrah) for cat or  دعسوقة (daesuqat) or sometimes أم علي (umm ali) for ladybug.


For my next storytelling session, I thought it might be fun to hide a few ladybugs around the library and have the kids look for them.


These only took a few minutes to make but you’ll need two days for the clay to dry.  You can use regular clay and fire them in a kiln, or use air dry clay like we did.



Air dry clay
Wire / wire cutters / needle nose pliers
Bone folder
E6000 / magnet

We started by carefully opening the clay so we can cut off a slice.

As soon as we were done, we put away the clay in an air tight container, to make sure it stays moist.

To get the clay ready, we spent a few minutes conditioning it. This means we rubbed it between our fingers and hands to get it soft.

After about five minutes, we divided it up into three balls and spent some time making them round.

We picked the smoothest side to each ball and flatten the other side of it so the best side showed.  Then my daughter placed it in her hand and used the bone folder to make an incision about a third of the way across. This will become the head.

Once the head is done, she placed the bone folder in the mid point and made another incision across. This creates the wings.

Once the body is done, it was time to start working on the face. My daughter took apart a ballpoint pen to use the main part for the eyes.

She then used the ink well to make the mouth.

You can choose to add antennas, or leave out the next step.  If you do decide to make them, you’ll need wire cutters and needle nose pliers to cut and shape them.

Once made, place them over the eyes in the ladybug.

We waited 24 hours for our clay to dry, then my daughter painted the body.

Once the wings had dried, she painted the face black.

She added pupils for the eyes and gave one of the three ladybugs lipstick.

The final step is to use the back of the ballpoint pen for the black spots.

You can leave your ladybug as is, or you can add a magnet with E6000. Earlier, we also added a hole in two of the ladybugs so we can add a wire to the bottom of them. We placed a tiny bit of E6000 to hold the wire.

Now our ladybugs are ready to hide. One in the corner of our magnet board in the front of the library kid’s area and the other two in the planters. Waiting to be found.

Be sure to check out the book Where from Maktabatee or ask for it a your local bookstore, library or Amazon.

Stop by these other book reviews that also include a fun craft tutorial.

Sheep Origami Bookmark

Persian Paisley Painting


Please visit A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to learn more about the Arab world.

Arabic Initial Lunchbox {Tutorial}

I have to warn you, this Martha Stewart marbling medium tutorial can yield addicting results.


I had received the product in my role as a Plaid Ambassador. My daughter used it to personalize her lunchbox with the Arabic letter Ta. But within minutes, she had added a fourth color (pink) and also done her composition book. Meanwhile, her sister joined in to marble her camera box lid.


The best part? We have so much product left over, so we can’t wait to try it on other things on our next crafting adventure.



Blue tape
Plastic spoon
Bamboo stick or toothpick
Paint cups (we recycled yogurt containers)
Lunchbox (ours was made from papier-mâché)
Acrylic paint
Marbling medium

We used the blue tape to outline ‘Ta‘ which is the third letter of the Arabic alphabet.  I wrote it out with a pen and then my daughter used the Xacto to cut it out. I also helped her outline the edges of the lunchbox so that the paint doesn’t slip over.

To get the paint ready, we poured a little at the bottom of our containers and added twice as much of the marbling medium.  We used the spoons to make the mixture into a creamy consistency.

Using the plastic spoons, we poured the paint generously over the lunchbox.

Now the fun begins, we started by holding the lunchbox this way and that to make the paint start rolling. This was so crazy to watch!

To help make even more design, my daughter used the bamboo stick to create waves.  She also used the stick to help “push” the paint into the corners.

We set the lunchbox in the sunshine for a few hours. We had a hot day where we live, so I’d suggest you wait a full day before you go to the next step.  Once the paint fully dried, my daughter used the xacto to re-cut the letter out of the paint.

She also used the Xacto to cut the tape outline around the edge of the lunchbox.

Her lunchbox is done and ready for school. She loves that the letter Ta looks like a smiley face too!


If you enjoyed making this craft, be sure to check out

Arabic Initial String Art {Tutorial}

Arabic Initial Wrapping Paper {Tutorial}


Visit A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see other tutorials that teach about the Arab world.



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.