Totally Easy Zentangle

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zentangle drawing idea

I got all Zentangle up in here this weekend, and if you’ve never tried it, you should, because it lulls you into this catatonic state and people will have to keep poking you to see if you’re alive, and you’re all, “No thanks, I don’t need any delicious pie. I’ve got my ZENTANGLE.” And then you ignore your family and start humming tunes from Frozen over and over in your head because your thoughts have all but vanished, and life is good.

Okay. Grab a black ultra fine Sharpie, a piece of white card stock, and something round i.e. a half-used roll of colored duct tape.

Trace circles all over the paper, overlapping some.

Draw patterns inside the resulting spaces. This thing took me a few hours to finish, so if you want to start smaller, you can either just make a few overlapping circles in the middle of the page and leave the outside of the page blank, or cut/rip your paper in half and just tangle on half of it. Give the other half to a special friend or your kid. This would totally make a horrible first date activity, so don’t do that.

Cool and and super-easy zentangle drawing project

Here are some great Zentangle patterns. I made up these with my own brain. Like the polka dots! Yep, that’s all me.

If you want to read more about Zentangle and immerse yourself in project ideas, hit up the official Zentangle site. I had no idea it was such a huge ‘thing’, with officially certified teachers and all that. If you click over, they also link to their videos and blog where there are a ton more ideas for Zentangles.

Oh, also, I used a Sharpie marker, but the hardcore Zentanglers use Micron pens, which are awesome if you do any sort of drawing. You’ll be hooked once you use these pens, but I wouldn’t bother with them unless you get really into tangling or line drawing. Sharpie is fine for starting 🙂

These 2 Zentangle books are fantastic if you find yourself wanting more:

Actually, I love the idea of doing a little bit of anything once a day until it becomes ingrained in you. I wonder if, for those of us who fail miserably at meditation, this would be a good alternative…


I have a free pdf for you to download full of Zentangle patterns. Plus…. browse the Craftwhack store for your favorite Tangle starter page. They’re rad. And here’s a cool way to do some tangling on top of watercolor.

Zentangle starter pages and zentangle patternsOh, hey! Cool bullseye Zentangle printable and/or directions to make your own.





  1. 04/28/2014 / 1:02 pm

    Love this circle-y thing idea. Zentangles is one of the very few art projects my 5 year old will actually do without gritting his teeth and making my life miserable so I’ll have to show him this.

    • 05/07/2014 / 2:04 pm

      Cool! Maybe he can make one with just a couple of circles together. Wow, I can’t imagine my almost 5 year old having the patience to do this. Maybe I’ll see what he makes of it…

  2. PragmaticMom
    04/29/2014 / 10:56 am

    I love that you break it down to show how easy it is to do, but it comes out amazingly complex and interesting!

    • 05/07/2014 / 2:03 pm

      Thanks, Mia. SO easy. In fact, most projects need to be or I get bored too easily. 🙂

  3. Idena
    04/29/2014 / 4:41 pm

    Very cool! I was just looking into this last week and was also surprised it was such a big thing. You make it look easy!

    • Idena
      05/03/2014 / 9:38 am

      I tried it…. I liked it! I want to do it again!

      • 05/07/2014 / 2:03 pm

        Show me! Show me your Zentangle! Will you post it on my Facebook? Isn’t it the best?

  4. Ana
    05/01/2014 / 7:53 am

    Love this idea and your pattern! It would make a gorgeous textile design I might add!

    • 05/07/2014 / 2:02 pm

      How cool! I hadn’t thought of that, you creative thing, you.

      • Dorothy Atkinson
        06/14/2014 / 8:05 pm

        I think it would be a super idea to draw a quilting design. You could get as complicated as you are able to machine quilt. I think just doing a series of outlines then transfer or trace them on to tissue paper, pin to your wall hanging or small quilt then machine quilt on the tissue paper. Then gently remove tissue from quilt. That’s about as clear as mud isn’t it . When you have pinned the tissue paper with the design to the quilt, you would get an idea as to how it would look. Oh how I wish I were still able to do this, I can just picture how it could be done.

        • 06/15/2014 / 8:14 pm

          That sounds fantastic! I would LOVE to see a quilt like this- I wish I knew a quilter, I would see if I could get them to try this! Great idea.

        • kay
          01/23/2015 / 2:42 am

          I am thinking it would be fun to zentangle an embroidery pattern! I am going to try it… will be
          different, easy and interesting, hopefully!

          • 01/24/2015 / 8:13 am

            I am so intrigued by this idea- if you feel like it, I’d love to see a pic. You can even post it on my Facebook wall or email it. That sounds SO COOL.

  5. 05/05/2014 / 7:31 pm

    I used to be a super-doodler and think I missed my calling as a Zentangler. I just spent so much time on that patterns site that I think I fell in.

    • 05/07/2014 / 2:02 pm

      Baha! You absolutely need to break out a Sharpie and some paper and have at it. You’ll come cursing back to me that you’ve lost your entire day, but you’ll be all totally blissed out.

  6. Georgi
    05/06/2014 / 7:59 pm

    Great Post. You really get Zentangle, Jeanette. Love to you from a CZT–one of those Certified Zentangle Teachers.

    • 05/07/2014 / 2:01 pm

      Hey Georgi! So glad to have you here. I can’t believe I had never tried it before- it’s just wonderful.

  7. Patty Whitaker
    08/06/2014 / 12:41 pm

    I saw this on Pinterest and had to click over. I am doing something just like this in my “Wreck This Journal” by Keri Smith! My circles are much smaller though as I traced a pill bottle to fill the page in the book. This is awesome!!

    • 08/14/2014 / 11:55 am

      Oh, cool! I bet it looks great with smaller circles- I love how you can sort of just go with whatever you have lying around.

  8. Leslie Haynes
    08/13/2014 / 8:26 pm

    This is such a great Idea. I have been intimidated by the zengle patterns I see on Pintrest. I feel like this
    Is a good way to get started. Thank you very much.

    • 08/14/2014 / 11:56 am

      This is definitely a great way to get started! You look at some of those finished tangles and you wonder how in the world they did it. This is so,so easy. I hope you give it whirl!

  9. Joyce
    08/25/2014 / 2:12 am

    I’ve been drawing since pretty much 18 months old, my mother would tell me; she was an artist, and Dad was creative in the kitchen, so my sibs and I grew up with creativity all around us 24/7. Started tangling 2 1/2 years ago, and what a great way to handle stress (my job in our hospital’s ICU is VERY intense!!).

    Never thought to draw circles and then Z-tangle them, but think I’ll do that soon. I’m working on a drawing right now that is comprised of storybook houses done entirely in Zentangle patterns–it’s going to come out so cute! Even the garden in front is going to be tangled 🙂

    I like the idea of tangling within circles–and am thinking that a combination of sizes would be quite awesome. Yep, have to do that.

    • 08/28/2014 / 6:43 pm

      I’m so glad you like the idea! What a great idea to use it as a stress-reliever for an intense job. I think I might send my sister some pre-made circle papers so she can sit around filling them in; she works as a therapist in a behavioral health hospital.

  10. Melissa w. Cahn
    09/28/2014 / 6:21 pm

    Love your Zentangle post. I have done pattern hunts with my students and they love finding “new” patterns in their environment. Sharpies are a great start but the microns take it to a whole new tiny level of detail.

    • 09/30/2014 / 2:20 pm

      Yeah, the Microns are pretty wonderful. Have you tried Copic markers? I keep hearing wonderful things about those. It’s a great idea to do pattern hunts out in the world; I notice that after I tangle for a while I start to notice patterns EVERYWHERE.

  11. Pam Bonifacio
    09/29/2014 / 7:50 am

    You make it look like so much fun and so easy, can’t wait to first try it on my own and then think about ordering the necessary supplies, etc. Thanks for all the good info.

    • 09/30/2014 / 2:18 pm

      Hi Pam, the great thing is that it really is fun and easy. Have fun with it- there’s no end to the patterns you can try out as well (I just posted a pdf to download with pattern ideas if you want to check it out.)

  12. Sue S
    09/29/2014 / 9:57 am

    I just starter Zentangle a week ago and absolutely love it! I was searching Google for info and came across your site, it’s THE BEST!!! Thank you so much for the great info on how to get started with this wonderful craft!

    • 09/30/2014 / 2:17 pm

      Oh, I’m so excited you love it! I mean, it’s hard to NOT love Zentangle. Check out the Zentangle pattern ideas I just posted today… it’s so fun coming up with new patterns, too.

  13. doug safford
    09/30/2014 / 5:41 am

    can’t wait to tryout the design with my folk art students

    • 09/30/2014 / 2:16 pm

      Ooh- folk art classes! That sounds fun; I hope they love doing this.

  14. Ellen
    12/26/2014 / 2:38 pm

    Okay, I’ve spent the entire afternoon at a receptionist temp job today exploring your Zentangles and other projects, and I was so smitten I went out at lunch and got myself a little Strathmore drawing pad and colored pencils so I could do a Zentangle or drawing a day. You go, girl. I love your blog. You have neat ideas for those of us who are creative but not necessarily artistic.

    • 12/27/2014 / 3:06 pm

      WHAT!? You are so awesome! I’m beyond excited that you bought a sketchbook at lunch; how cool is that sudden urge to do something creative, huh?

  15. Ellen
    12/27/2014 / 4:57 pm

    I knew a therapist who used to draw a mandala in lieu of morning meditation. I like that idea since I’m too fidgety to sit still and focus on my breathing. I plan to work on a Tangle instead.

    • 12/28/2014 / 9:25 am

      Yes! I think tangling is so meditative and that’s why it’s so wildly popular. I find meditation far too stressful because I’m all fidgety, too- I think the repetitive drawing helps lull your brain into the same state as meditation.

  16. 01/22/2015 / 7:34 am

    Just found you by googling perspective drawing for kids, then I found this page – oohh we are going to have so much fun with this this afternoon.
    Really enjoyed your ‘about’ page, the bit about swearing cracked me up, made me think of a book I recently read where the authors dad kept calling everyone FOOKWITS and LOONIES!
    Kindest regards from the french alps

    • 01/24/2015 / 8:18 am

      Hi Emma! Thanks so much! And I’m glad I was findable through Google- bloggers always love to hear that. Did you do some tangling? Did you love it??? And thanks so much for the new names to call everyone. 🙂

  17. 01/29/2015 / 10:52 pm

    Hi, I just wanted to say that I found this post inspiring. I’m thinking about the zentangle a day idea. (As if I needed another once a day thing!) Now I’ve been binging on Pinterest zentangle boards. And, I thought you would be happy to know that I found you on the first page of Google, searching ‘zentangle.’ And you were the only site I clicked. Nice job on the title — it was what made me click. Have a nice day!

    • 01/31/2015 / 7:45 am

      Hi, Allison! That is good news on the Google front- I’m loving how many people are finding this post, and then actually taking up tangling! The idea of a tangle a day is so appealing to me since it combines making art with a sort of meditating, the perfect combination. Let me know if you do this- I’d love to see some of your tangles.

  18. megan
    03/03/2015 / 3:55 pm


    I just discovered Zentangles today and thought this was such a fantastic post! Would I be able to print these examples and patterns out to show a group of students so that they can learn how to make their own Zentangles?
    Thanks for your post!

  19. 03/12/2015 / 9:26 pm

    Oh my goodness!!! I love drawing and creating all sorts of things and let me just say that I can not wait to try this for myself. This looks amazing. I have to admit that I’m a little intimidated but the way you broke it down helped me feel like it was doable. Can’t wait! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  20. 04/16/2015 / 8:50 am

    This is awesome! Never heard about this Zentangle thing but now I’m ready to dive into it. As a compulsive doodler, I think this is a wonderful project idea! 🙂

  21. Lee Darter
    05/02/2015 / 5:08 am

    I am a Certified Zentangle Teacher…. Or CZT … And you are right…. Zentangle is awesome! But use a Micron 01- it just adds to the awesomeness !

    • 05/02/2015 / 7:31 am

      Oh, I do love Microns. It’s strange, I always reach for the Sharpies when I tangle. I think I may have to go nab one and fall in love with them again. 🙂

      • 09/16/2015 / 2:23 pm

        you suck. no life.

  22. 09/27/2015 / 8:50 am

    It’s beautiful, I love tangling into circles.

  23. 12/12/2015 / 4:18 am

    Zentangle® is a real precious method, but if you post about it, please make sure you present the real principles. A Zentangle® string is NEVER EVER done with a pen, strings are not meant to be seen in the end, do them with a pencil and do them intuitively by hand, THAT is the real Zentangle® experience. Hanny, CZT 14

    • 12/16/2015 / 10:27 am

      Hi Hanny! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment- I think it’s easy to get confused at first about Zentangle vs. regular doodling. I had no idea when I first made this post that Zentangle was *quite* so complex- there’s a lot more to it than everyday doodling, and it’s fascinating. My version is definitely more “doodling patterns”, so thanks for chiming in.

  24. 12/12/2015 / 6:37 am

    Glad to read about your tangling experience! Just wanted to mention that there is so much more that you will learn from a Certified Zentangle Teacher than you could ever learn from books, the Internet or from blogs, about the Zentangle Method. Basically you have described bits and pieces of Zentangle but are confusing doodling and tangling.
    The Method of Zentangle is extremely important to so many people who are doing it for therapy. It is so much more than just drawing patterns.

    • 12/16/2015 / 10:24 am

      Thanks for your comment, Brenda! You’re right- I got caught up in the doodling part of it and haven’t delved fully into Zentangle. I’ve realized that as I’ve been going along with this, and while I still think doodling can be pretty therapeutic, I’m realizing there is so much more to Zentangle than what I’m laying out there.

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