Grade: all
Subject: Art

#1817. Islamic Foil Art

Art, level: all
Posted Sat Jul 1 15:31:44 PDT 2000 by Amenah Tehrani (
Muslim Community School, POtomac Maryland USA
Materials Required: Stiff cardboard, marker, glue, Heavy duty foil (Reynolds foil best) black shoe polish and steel wool
Activity Time: Three periods to complete
Concepts Taught: Learning Basic and Intermediate Calligraphy

In my art classes I try to take art crafts and weave them into the cultural aspects of my Muslim students but this will work for any student and on any level.

Books on Islamic Calligraphy are available in libraries or book stores or go to or search under islamic calligraphy for reference use for students to use for ideas.

first class: students bring the cardboard and marker to class along with the idea of the type of islamic calligraphy they may have in mind.
they look through books and online to print script. They trace the idea using carbon paper if needed onto the middle of the cardboard and use a black marker to outline it.
There should be spaces between connected sentences but i encouraged them to write just one word or even their name in arabic. They take the white glue (elmers) no colored or gel and outline (in even flow lines)like they are redrawing the line of the calligraphy.
They lay their cardboard somewhere safe and flat to dry.
second class:they take their dried cardboard and relook at it. if they have any spots to touch up they have to do it. (delaying their day) Some of my students opted to help someone else and take it home to retouch up and cover it with the foil. If the outlines are good they will take the heavy duty foil and dull side down they tear off a piece bigger than their cardboard. Place it over their cardboard and tape the back all over but not too tightly.
The will use their fingertips carefully to press around their writing to reveal the design. A rounded toothpick or end of a paintbrush works for those tight spots. They should be careful not to press too hard and tear their foil.

thrid class: Today the magic will happen and they will see theit calligraphy. Place the cardboard on newspaper and take the black shoe polish and smear it all over the foil and let it dry and do it again. Now they take the steel wool and start to rub around their design. The silver will come through and the more they take off or dont take off it up to them.

My students really liked this project and the results varied depended on their carefully doing each step.

if you have any questions email me.