Watercolor Tiles: Exploring Afghanistan Through Art


Our first stop on our alphabetical tour of the world was Afghanistan. In a way, it was a complicated place to start, since Afghanistan has such a complicated history. And, how do you talk about things in an age-appropriate way without ignoring current events? In the end, I took my cues from the books we had and kept things simple. (I’ll have a separate post this week with my book recommendations.) Then, we dug down and concentrated on our focus. Our focus for this project is cultural and our focus is on the average citizen – those people that are just like you and me. We discovered the rich and beautiful cultural heritage in Afghanistan. We were in awe at all the beauty. For our project, we took our inspiration from the Blue Mosque in Mazar-e Sharif and created watercolor tiles inspired by its beautiful mosaic tiles.
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We started with a routine that we will do for every country. We got out the world atlas and located Afghanistan on a world map and looked at a map of Afghanistan to see its geographical make-up. We located mountains, rivers, deserts, and major cities. (We are using the Oxford Atlas of the World.) We read a few books and looked at other pictures I had found on line. When we were ready to start our project, we looked at several close-up pictures of the Blue Mosque. (The articles here and here were very helpful.)
Supplies Needed:
Blue watercolor (We used liquid watercolor for this project.)
To prep this project, cut a piece of watercolor paper into a square. Our squares were 8 inches by 8 inches. Then, using the ruler, divide the square into 4 quarters.
We used our pencils to draw designs on the tile. You can draw a design that crosses all four tiles or do individual designs in each tile. If you have a reluctant artist, they may want to try their hand at copying some of the designs in the pictures of the Blue Mosque. I encouraged my girls to come up with their own designs. Simple designs or complicated designs are both perfect for this project.
Once we were satisfied with our designs, we painted them with our watercolors. We used liquid watercolor because we love the vibrant look, but any watercolor you have on hand will work. After our paint was dry, we cut along the pencil lines to make 4 individual tiles.
You can display your tiles by attaching them to blue paper, or you can leave them cut apart and have simple tile puzzles. No matter how you display them, they are beautiful!
Thanks for coming along on our trip around the world through art.
If you want more information about Project Around the World, you can read my intro post here. You can follow all the posts here. Or, you can follow along on Instagram using the hashtag #projectaroundtheworld. I’d love to see your own projects with that hashtag!




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Terri is a writer and mom of two elementary-aged girls. She has a passion for learning and is always looking for ways to make learning fun. You can find her here writing about fun learning activities, art, craft, and family fun ideas.

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