Posted in Zentangle

Tangling with Crafting during Sanctioned Shut-in

Yes, it’s been a long time. Each day, I’ve told myself I would share what I’ve done here on my blog. Every day, something has come up, or some distraction would keep me from this blog. Today, I decided to share my latest tangling explorations.

Recently, I have been investing in scrapbook and card-making supplies. It started with new-to-me ways to color and distress tiles. It continued with figuring out how to incorporate beautiful card-making and scrapbooking techniques into my Zentangle®️ Inspired Art (ZIA).

Here’s what I finished today.

Easter tangled designs using Spellbinders®️ Filigree Egg Die D-Lies die as two-piece die for lower left egg and as embossing for lightweight watercolor paper for upper right eggs

The pink and aqua eggs sheet was my first stab at embossing with a die instead of an embossing folder. (Pause) … OK. It’s my first time embossing anything; ever. And I need to differentiate here between the use of the term embossing when the intended result is to raise an image from the fibers of a piece of some type of paper or metal tape, and the embossing that involves pouring powdered embossing crystals over stamped or drawn wet ink—especially clear embossing ink—and then heating the image/sentiment with an embossing heater. The heat literally melts the crystals, leaving behind a colorful or glossy raised image wherever the embossing ink was used. My current project involves the use of only paper and dies, run through a die-cutting/embossing machine. (The heat embossing version is something I am saving for tomorrow.)

This Spellbinders®️ die duo features a filigree design with beautiful cut-outs, and a second die which cuts out the filigreed egg shape , cuts a solid egg (perhaps in a contrasting or coordinating color) to use behind the filigree design, or used with the filigree section at the same time to cut out the filigree area as a bordered design, as I did twice for the image on the black Zentangle®️ tile in the photo. I offset a Spring Green egg with a darker green one underneath to produce a slight shadow effect, then used a Sakura®️ Gelly Roll pen in one of their newest colors (XPGB06#431) to outline the egg and all the filigree designs inside to give a slightly greater sense of depth to the egg.
The tile itself was then classically tangled using traditional Zentangle patterns in both the darker teal-like color and a brighter and lighter new green color release (XPGB06#432).

To produce the embossed eggs card, I ran the card through my Sizzix®️ Big Shot©️ die cutting machine with the Extended Multipurpose Platform.

The Sizzix®️ Big Shot©️ die cutting machine features an extended bed allows the use of longer dies for cutting long borders and creating longer embossed edges and surfaces. To cut, a “sandwich” of cutting plate (the teal glittery pad), the die and card stock (the placement of the die under or over the card stock is largely dependent on the thickness of the die), and the second cutting plate. This sandwich is placed on the die bed and hand cranked through the machine. When the sandwich is opened, the design of the die has been cut from the card stock (or cloth or other material). My Big Shot can handle some of the most exquisite and intricate dies available, at a very affordable price.
Embossing is done on the very same machine, but with a different arrangement, the addition of a rubber mat, and the use of a “lower level” of the multipurpose platform. The sandwich I used for the pink and blue embossed eggs included the next level of the platform, a cutting plate, the die, card stock, the silicone or rubber sheet, and the second cutting plate. I ran the paper through the Big Shot twice, once with the filigree die only positioned for the first egg, and the second time with the filigree die only positioned where I wanted the second egg to go.

Once the filigree eggs were embossed onto the paper, I wet the eggs with a water-loaded Koi water brush and used Sakura®️ Koi Coloring Brush Pens©️ to add color to the designs. The addition of water then color allowed for some interesting effects as pigment ink settled into crevasses of the embossing or barely stained a crevasse where more water had settled.

Once the color dried, I used organic Zentangle patterns that coordinated with the Zentangle-like patterns of the egg to surround the eggs. This not only showcased the eggs, but also surrounded them in a sort of nest of tangled foliage.

Purchasing information

I purchased my Big Shot from over a year ago during a fabulous sale. It came to me bundled with a wonderful assortment of nested tiles in a variety of traditional geometric colors. The bundles at are numerous and varied, to fit most needs. The Spellbinders die set also came from, but only very recently. It was on sale, and I couldn’t resist the good price. Although the design seems very Easter-sh and seasonal, I manage to think of all sorts of ways to use my “seasonal dies” out of season, and have all sorts of plans for this set.

Although I had been purchasing many of my art supplies through, usually at great prices, I am finding myself using specialty sites more and more often. For example, I purchase a lot of my crafting supplies through, where there are often sales going on that bring the cost down. Inking and color supplies—from ink and pens to color and paints—are often purchased from What I like about these sites is that every order comes in a single box instead of Amazon’s policy of shipping from multiple locations, with items often arriving days apart or in so many boxes and packages that my neighbors are threatening to raise our trash allotment costs because of the space the extra boxes take up. We live in a small gated community on the Caribbean island of St. Martin. Most of our mail and packages come by way of courier services from Florida. My Amazon Prime membership may save me money on shipment to Florida, but the added cost of shipping almost empty and often oversized boxes this way ends up costing more than the combination of shipping costs from smaller specialty companies plus courier costs for fewer packages.

For supplies more suited to card making, I am finding to be a grand place to shop. Their inks, paints, stamp pad sets, and fabulous stamps and stamp-and-die sets are not inexpensive, but are of high quality and absolutely incredible. Their stamp sets produce professional watercolor results from a single stamp set. They offer all sorts of classes, monthly “clubs” for various project types, and stamp pad, watercolor paints, alcohol and other markers—all color media—that coordinate among themselves. You never need to worry of your alcohol ink will match your watercolor brush marker or your stamp pad because they are perfect matches. This brings incredible versatility to your art and your crafting projects. And if you purchase directly from hem, all sorts of rewards and discounts await you. Even as a die-hard tangler, I have fallen in love with Altenew products and their versatility and color ranges. Mainly stamps and even dies lend themselves beautifully to tangling projects.

There are other places that my Zentangling friends have recommended, and I will try them at some point, too. But I think I have found the best of the best for my current needs. And the customer service at each company listed is superb.

In the next post, I hope to share some more of not only the ZIAs (Zentangle Inspired Art, in case you’ve forgotten) using crafting and inking supplies, but also more traditional projects inspired with special twists from an art club (Eni Oken’s Art Club) I joined last year to learn more about both art and the art of Zentangle. Other lessons and groups I’ve joined will be spotlighted as I dig into Zentangle and art, especially during this crazy period in our world’s environment.

Keep safe, practice social distancing, wash your hands, wear your masks, and keep on tangling!

Until next time, Happy Tangling!



Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT). Home: Sint Maarten. K-12 teacher for 13 years (Special Education for 10 years); Post-secondary educator since 2002; Education consulting since 1995. When teaching, held teaching certificates in K-12 special education, reading specialist; and secondary social studies. Doctorate: Educational Psychology Programmer/analyst for 10 years, including project management and training of corporate execs.