Islamic Tile Mosaics


Photo: aworkpl

In this lesson we will be creating our own Islamic tile mosaics.  Many mosaics like this one can be found in Morocco.  Artists used sophisticated mathematics to plan and execute these magnificent designs.


  • Mosaic: a picture or pattern produced by arranging together small colored pieces of hard material, such as stone, tile, or glass.
  • Radial Symmetry: symmetry around a central axis, as in a starfish or a tulip flower.
  • Non-representational: Of or relating to a style of art in which objects do not resemble those known in physical nature


Since these designs are very complex we will be making a planner first.  Draw a circle on a 8.5/11 piece of paper. Next divide your circle into eight pieces, like a pie.


In one slice draw a design.  Remember to keep it Non-Representational.  On our final paper you will repeat that design in each slice but for your planner just do the one.  Keep it relatively simple, you will eventually be cutting shapes to add color so keep in mind that you won’t want to be cutting thousands of teeny tiny shapes!

Once your planner is complete and you are happy with your design it’s time to move onto our large paper!

This time use a compass to trace a circle on your large paper (the ones we will make in class will have a radius of 8 inches). If you don’t have a compass you can use a piece of string by tying a pencil to one end and holding the other to the center of your paper.


Next divide your large circle into eight slices just like your planner.  This time draw your design in each of the slices.  This will create radially symmetry.

Once your design has been repeated in each of the eight slices you may start adding color to your mosaic by cutting out pieces of colored paper and gluing them.  These pieces of paper are similar to the pieces of glass or tile that is normally used for these types of mosaics.


  • Your design should have radial symmetry
  • The entire circle should have color
  • Your designs should be non-representational

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