How to Draw Islamic Tile Designs Step-by-Step

Updated April 17, 2017

Islamic tile designs are remarkable works of art because of their unique use of symmetrical patterns of circles, hexagons, triangles, squares and pointed stars. Within these intricate patterns are blended floral and plant motifs as well as symbols of the Islamic culture. An ideal way to draw and construct these designs is to use lined graph paper. Graph paper has pre-printed blue squares, so it is easy to draw the design on the lines without having to stop and make measurements. This allows you to think like an artist, but draw like a technical draftsman while you are creating the geometrical pattern for your particular Islamic tile design.

Draw a 10-by-10 inch square on the graph paper.

Place the tracing paper over the square you have created and draw over the lines.

Take the tracing paper with the square on it and rotate it until it is in a diamond shape. Position this diamond-shape design so that it is centred perfectly above the square on the graph paper, turning the combination of both squares into a 16-point star. Tape the tracing paper down and draw the square onto the tracing paper. This will give you your outside geometric shape.

Draw diagonal lines from the top-left to the bottom-right corners and also from the lower left to the upper-right corners. This will separate your design into sections and give you the centre point.

Measure 1 inch in from the outside lines of the tile design shape and draw parallel lines to the create borders for the outside of the design.

Take the compass and draw a large inner circle that extends to the inside border lines. Place the compass at each of the corners of the star and draw half circle arcs that connect to the borders. This will break up the design into additional inner sections.

Choose a floral design motif, such as a leaf or vine shape and sketch it (or trace it from a photo) into just one of the interior sections. When completed, place the tracing paper over it and copy it. Then place the floral design under the remaining sections and repeat it by sketching it on the tracing paper of the main design.

To complete, add more details as needed to finish overall geometric design. Use the ruler to outline your design with a darker pencil line. Erase some lines in the design if you do not want them to overlap.


When you repeat the nature motifs, work to integrate the motifs with each other so that the overall composition is well balanced and flowing. This can be achieved by interlocking the forms (such as vines connecting from one section to the next). Islamic tile designs are also very similar to kaleidoscopic designs and mandalas.

Things You'll Need

  • Graph paper, 12-by-18 inches with 1/4-inch squares
  • Tracing paper, 12-by-18 inches
  • Pencil
  • Masking tape
  • Compass
  • Ruler
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About the Author

Robert Gray has been writing full time since 1995. His first photography book took seven years to research and publish. He specializes in writing on photography and the arts. He's written for Photography Magazine, Large Format Camera Magazine and many online art and photography websites and blogs.