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6 ideas for polymer clay zentangles

I’ve caught the Zentangle bug. Yup, I’ve been tangling since yesterday. Sounds decadent, but really it’s just simple, creative fun. Even meditative. Maybe therapeutic. Read the full post to learn more about this gratifying art form – you will find all of the necessary links at the end of the post.

susan’s zentangle

Most of us are doodlers by nature and the folks at Zentangle have brilliantly capitalized on that knowledge by developing instructions for doodling using repetitive patterns. I was immediately drawn to the Zentangles exhibited on the website’s gallery pages, but the price of the kit ($49) seemed a wee-bit steep so I decided to teach myself.

flip book miniI found this cool little Flip Note Mini notebook ($3.99) at an art supply store and decided that it would make a good substitute for the Zentangle Tiles that come with the kit. An added bonus: the Flip Note Mini’s cover is embossed metal…another texture tool for my stash.

I picked up a couple of Pigma Micron Pens while I was there ($2.69 each) and I was ready to Tangle! I don’t have the instructional DVD, but if you study the examples on the website it’s just not that hard.

The image above is my first Zentangle. What do you think? Not bad for a first try, huh? I don’t draw very well, so I am pleased with myself – and I’m just getting started. I like that when I sit down to Tangle I go into the ‘zone’ and don’t think much at all…just doodle. Gets the creative juices going.

Here are six polymer clay possibilities for Zentangles:

  1. Can you say ‘texture plates’? Make a Zentangle, transfer the image to scrap clay, bake it, carve the design and you have an original texture plate. No two will look the same, because no two Tangles are the same.
  2. Use your original Zentangle texture plate to impress a mokume gane stack. Nice.
  3. Make a toner copy of your Tangle and transfer the image to polymer clay beads, veneers for polymer pendants set in silver bezels or a polymer cuff bracelet. Why not color the Tangle transfer using colored pencils or subtle chalks?
  4. Don’t like the idea of a rigid texture plate? Transfer your doodle to a Staedtler Eraser and carve your own stamp. Luann Udell literally wrote the book on this.
  5. Zentangle at your next guild meeting or host a Zentangle swap – there is no such thing as too many Zentangles!
  6. I think a Zentangle Seminar at Synergy is in order. I want to see Tangles from Synergy presenters like Dan Cormier, Seth Savarick, Jeff Dever and Robert Dancik – don’t you want to be able to say that you Tangled with these fine men?

Do you have any other ideas to add to this list? I would love to hear from you! Check out the links below and then go Tangle (Warning: This is an addictive activity).

My daughter is in town and we are off to play today. Have a great day!


Zentangle Website

Zentangle Gallery Pages

Flickr Zentangle Pool

Luann Udell’s book

Flip Note Mini

NPCG Synergy Conference

Seth Savarick

Dan Cormier

Jeff Dever

Robert Dancik

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14 Responses to 6 ideas for polymer clay zentangles

  1. My sister told me to google zentangle, and voila……awesome. I bought a few sheets of shrink paper at a rubber stamp convention last week and I am going to try a Zentangle and shrink it. Is it still a zentangle if you color it?

  2. Yes Sarah I did see that they patented their system…but I maintain that you don’t need the ‘system’. I don’t deny that it might have some value…but 50 bucks? I don’t think so!

    I love your idea of carving and backfilling the polymer tangles – please let us see when you have one finished!

  3. Thanks to Jenn to posting the link back here to your interesting post, Susan. I hadn’t seen it before. (And I now have had a chance to spend some more time on your blog. It’s definitely going on my daily site list.)

    I’ve been doing this for a while myself, but I love their organization/packaging of the Zentangle. I have done some wire and pc work in this vein, but I am thinking carving and backfilling with the Genesis oils will be the next pc journey for me and some Zentangles.

    Did you know they patented their “system?” So clever!

  4. I think we’ve all been doodling forever – sheesh, if only I had saved all of my notebooks from school! The beauty of these doodles is that they are made with intention and repetitive patterns, one section at a time, which pulls it all together for a cohesive drawing. They are addictive too – in a very meditative way.

    Robin – we’d love to see your beads!!

  5. Me too! Been making these kinds of drawings and doodles of all sorts for 30+ years, never knew we had our own fancy name for it. I used to get in trouble in school for doodling suring lectures, but it actually really helped me remember better. I have in fact transfered two of my doodles onto beads, and they are very special to me. People ask me about them whenever I wear them (they are now earrings)

    Robin in Dallas

  6. Oh my… Thanks for the info on zentangles. I have also done these long ago and I just sat down with my 3 young girls and had a 3 hr. zentange session that was amazing! We talked about everything your supposed to talk about with pre-teens and more. What fun… what a great night. Thanks for your inspiration and your never ending ability to share.
    It was AWESOME!

  7. add me to the list of people who have been doing this for years & never naming it. I can appreciate the obsession.

    And… I eyed those same notepads at Pearl, too, but didn’t give in. Hmmm… do I now have a reason to go back?

    Thanks for sharing.

  8. what fun! Now I know the name for what I dooooo-dle *g*. I have pens, and good paper and all the stuff needed. I think prisma color transfers would rock. something to do after wrist surgery when I can’t clay 🙂 Thanks for finding this gem Susan.

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