Posted by on Jun 7, 2013 in Blog, Materials, Tiles, Waxing Eloquent, ZIAs | 3 comments

While I really relish the learning I’ve been doing in the online courses I just finished (one on Inktense colored pencils and one on Tombow markers/Irojiten colored pencils), this project has just sat languishing, grumpily (and with a few splatters of red wine where I knocked over an entire glass (*sniff*!) onto my drawing table ).  Now that the classes are over, I finally got a chance to finish my poor grumpy, wine-splattered project.

Behold! 😉


Yes, another ensemble… I know, I know, the photo isn’t great – it’s a dreary day and I can’t take it outside and it doesn’t fit on the scanner as a whole.  Trust me, the lower right is just as white as the upper left.

What makes this one different from the one I did in the fall is that I strung this one myself rather than using one of the pre-strung ensembles offered by Zentangle.  I just wanted to see if I could do it.  It’s harder to string 9 tiles than a single one, it turns out, and I really, really wish I’d had this great magnetic cutting mat at the beginning.  So, a couple of tips based on my own experience in this process!

1.  I’d say to do one of the prestrung ensembles first – see how the tiles work together to form a cohesive whole.  Note how the strings proceed across the multiple tiles.

2.  Buy yourself this magnetic mat.  Totally worth the money.  Get the extra magnets too.  Even when you’re using the prestrung ensemble tiles, it’s worth it to be able to hold the tiles in place so you can see how the overall ensemble is progressing.

3.  When you’re ready to string your own, grab your 9 blank tiles and lay them out upside down.  Using removable tape, lightly tape them together on the back (sticky note tape is awesome for this.  Then number them 1-9 on the back with an arrow on each pointing toward the top.  This will save you innumerable minutes of wondering exactly how they fit together when your cat (or kid)  (or both, darn it) knock them on the floor and you have to put them back together – I know, it seems like it would be obvious what goes where.  Trust me on this; it’s not nearly as obvious as I’d hoped.  Use the tape even if you’re also using the magnetic mat.

4.  Flip the entire stuck together ensemble over and string it lightly in pencil like you would a tile.  One thing to keep in mind though is that each individual tile should work as well as the whole ensemble so make sure that there are lines that break up each tile as well as the entire piece.

5.  Take the tape off, hold the tiles you’re not working with in place with those weirdly strong but fascinating magnets, and tangle!

6.  One of the things I find is that I like when the lines of one pattern carry over to begin the next pattern; that’s one of the reasons I like to be able to match the tiles up frequently and properly and loooove that magnetic mat.  That said, there is absolutely NO reason you have to do that.  As long as each tile works within itself, you can tangle each one never even glancing at the others and the ensemble will still work!

I’d love to see if anyone else does one!  Send me an image and I’ll share it here!


P.S.  Zendala workshop is now scheduled!  Sunday, July 28th, 10-4 at my house.  $60 includes materials (but not lunch this time – so byolunch!) and I’ve only 4 slots left!  Email me to register by clicking here!

P.P.S.  Licking wine off a drawing table is a bad idea.  Not that I, um, would have, um, personal experience with that.  Just in case, y’know, you were tempted.


  1. 6-7-2013

    Wait a minute…are you talking about a certain DRAFTING table?

    If so, we might have to talk….

    Struggling with my ZIA stool at present — nice to know even advanced CZTs like your good self still grapple daily.

  2. 6-7-2013

    Oh, it’s always an adventure. But it keeps me thinking and fresh. And I plead the 5th on the drafting table. 😉 (Though I will say that was before I moved all the bead stuff into the bathroom and retilted the table in question. Wouldn’t dare do it now!)

  3. 6-8-2013


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