How to Create Islamic Tile Designs With Geometry

Written by tim kane
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Islamic tiling dates back more than 800 years. These tiles decorate mosques and form complex geometric patterns. One of the reasons for the absence of pictorial art is due to the Muslim faith using only the name for Allah, rather than any iconography. Most Islamic tiles are created using regular hexagons. Drawing this shape can be tricky, but if you stick to your angles, your finished pattern will quickly emerge.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Pencil or pen
  • Paper
  • Protractor (or computer drawing program that lets you rotate using a specific degree measurement)
  • Scissors
  • Compass (for drawing circles)

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    Creating a Template

  1. 1

    Mark a point in the centre of your paper.

  2. 2

    Place the edge of your protractor on the centre point. Draw a 3-inch horizontal line from the centre out. (If you are using a computer, draw the same line in that program.)

  3. 3

    Place your protractor on the centre point and align one edge with the line. Mark an angle measuring 60 degrees. (If you have a computer program, you will select the line you drew and then copy and rotate it 60 degrees.)

  4. 4

    Draw a line from the centre point to the 60-degree mark. Make this line 3 inches long.

  5. 5

    Draw a line connecting the two points. This will create a triangle.

  6. 6

    Cut the triangle out of the paper. (On the computer, you will copy the whole triangle five times, rotating it 60 degrees each time.)

  7. 7

    Use the cut-out triangle as a template. Continue to rotate this template around the centre, tracing the triangle each time. You will be able to fit exactly six triangles, making a hexagon shape.

    Creating an Islamic Pattern

  1. 1

    Draw a circle using the compass. Make the centre of the circle at the centre point of your hexagon. Set the compass to 1 inch. This will be the radius, and will create a circle that is 2 inches across.

  2. 2

    Draw another circle the same size. The centre of this second circle will be where two of your hexagons meet and at the edge of your first circle.

  3. 3

    Draw five more circles. Each circle will rotate around the first. The centres will touch the line created by two of your hexagons and the edge of your first circle.

  4. 4

    The six circles will overlap. Colour in these overlapping shapes as petals of a flower.

  5. 5

    Continue this pattern outward. Draw six more circles around each of the other circles. These will each create another rosette pattern.

Tips and warnings

  • The lines from your centre don't always have to be 3 inches. You can just as easily make them shorter or longer.
  • When you cut out your triangle template, cut just inside the lines you drew. This way, when you trace it, it will come out the same size as your original.

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