Iraq Suncatcher Flag {Tutorial}

It’s important for children to learn about the world they live in and today we talked about Iraq in our home and made a flag suncatcher.

Republic of Iraq (Arabic: جمهورية العـراق‎‎ ) is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest, and Syria to the west. The capital, and largest city, is Baghdad. The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish.

According to Wikipedia:
The flag of Iraq (Arabic: علم العراق‎‎) includes the three equal horizontal red, white, and black stripes of the Arab Liberation flag. This basic tricolor has been in use since 1963, with several changes to the green symbols in the central white stripe; the most recent version bears the takbir rendered in green. A new design for the flag was confirmed by Law 9 on 22 January 2008.

After we learned about Iraq, we made a suncatcher for our window. We decided to printout the takbir on white ahead of time rather then try to make it out of tissue.  So just ignore the white tissue in the supplies photo since we did not use it.


Contact paper
Tissue paper in red & black
Cutting mat
Green cardstock
Printout of takbir (2)
Hole punch

We started by laying out our cutting mat with the green cardstock and placing our ruler on the edge of our cardstock. We used the xacto to cut inside the rulers’ edge on all four sides of the paper, creating a frame.

While we had the cutting mat and xacto out, we used them to cut out takbir into a long strip that would fit across our frame.

I laid out the contact paper and my daughter used the grid on the back to cut two pieces that were slightly larger than our frame. We then worked as a team to peel the backing off the contact while laying our frame on top. The sticky part of the contact paper should be up.

My daughter laid one of the takbir in the middle of the contact paper. It’s okay if the edges go over, we’ll cut them later when both pieces are on.

We cut the red and black tissue paper in strips and then in random rectangle and triangle shapes.  Then my daughter laid the red shapes on top of the flag and the black tissue on the bottom.

Once the spaces are covered in tissue, she laid the second takbir on top and cut off the paper that over laps.

We peeled off the backing on the second piece of contact paper and laid it on top of the flag. Then my daughter cut off the excess contact paper around the green frame and punched two holes in the top two corners.

She used the scissors to cut off a piece of yarn and tied off each end on the frame.  Now her flag is ready to hang in the window, letting in sunlight and looking like stained glass. I think I would recommend using thicker cardstock on the takbir so that both sides don’t show through, but the reason we printed it twice is so you can read it inside and outside the house.

If you enjoyed learning about Iraq, one of the countries in the Arab League, visit A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to learn about the other counties. Please feel free to pin this to your board.


Persian Paisley Painting {Tutorial} Plus {Review}

Tomorrow is Multicultural Children’s Book Day, and we made this Persian paisley painting to celebrate while reviewing a diverse Muslim kid’s book.

This speical day is honored by book reviewers, teachers, authors, librarians and anyone how cares about seeing more diversity on book shelves.

I heard about the initiative last year, but it was too late to join. I was thrilled to be asked to be a co-Host this year and was sent Naji and the Mystery of the Dig by Vahid Imani to review.

This book tells the story of 8 year old Naji walking up one summer morning to the sounds outside her window. Upon investigation, she discovers that workers have arrived to dig a hole for a new restroom for the family.  Naji’s imagination gets the best of her and she starts to imagine all kinds of things coming out of the hole.  Later we find out that her suspicions are not based on facts, yet another lovely surprise is discovered in the hole.  I’m not going to reveal the ending, but it was not one that either I or my daughter saw coming and we were left with more questions then answers.

Luckily, the author has put together a fantastic website that explains more about the Persian culture and what was under the dig.  The book itself comes with a glossary, study projects, a map and discussion questions.  While learning more about the Persian culture, we discovered that the paisley design originated in Iran.

In honor of Naji’s imagination, we tried to imagine what her sister’s chador would look like with paisleys on it.  I had picked up a frame a few days ago and we converted it to a paisley print for our hall way.   This is what the frame looked like before.

You’ll need these supplies to turn it into a personal work of art.


Sharpie markers
Paisley stencil found online
Floral stencil
Blue tape
Sponge paint brush
Acrylic paint

My daughter started by cutting out the paisley print out and laying it on the canvas. She used blue tape to hold it in place and outlined the shape with a Sharpie.

She then painted the inside with gold and the outside with yellow acrylic paint.

After the paint had dried, she added the floral stencil in the middle and held it in place with the blue tape.

Using the sponge brush, she used an up and down motion to make sure the paint saturated the stencil holes.

She waited for the yellow paint to dry, then went over the stenciled flower with a Sharpie. She then added a few more colors to the overall design.

Once the central flower was done, she decided to add two more flowers using the stencil again.

Here is her completed paisley painting.

And here is a detail of the painted and marked designs inside.

To see more Persian crafts, visit Nowruz Sib Tutorial or other tutorials on A Crafty Arab Pinterst. And feel free to check out Naji and the Mystery of the Dig here.