Posted in Zentangle

Triangle Paths to Tripoli

Tripoli may be a place and a fantastic vacation destination, but tripoli is also a Zentangle pattern. If you have the Zentangle® Mosaic app, you probably saw this week’s Kitchen Tabe Tangling (KTT) video on how to draw tripoli and embellish the elements. Although i have been tangling with tripoli for quite a while, the video added some new information about tripoli that I didn’t think about before. The KTT inspired me to both blog about this versatile pattern as well as to try my hand at something more creative than the mundane way in which I’ve been drawing it. 

Tripoli is not a single triangle element, but a bunch of elements connecting to form free-flowing paths and groupings of triangular shapes. Typically, the triangles are filled with “fragments,” which are patterns used in part to fill elements of a grid pattern. Below are a few example of simple  grid patterns. 


Fragments can be used all sorts of ways, including to fill a shape or to embellish a string. 


Usually, when tripoli is tangled, each triangle is filled with a fragment. In the examples shown below, you can see how the tripoli elements build from each other. The next triangle builds from a line that auras one side of the previous triangle. 


In these tangles, grouped triangles are about the same size and contain the same fragment pattern. However, there is no hard and fast rule; consecutive triangles can grow or shrink, and fragments can change from one element to the next. 

The wonderful thing about tripoli is that the elements don’t need to be filled at all. The individual triangles can be filled with anything that seems to fit the path or grouping as well. In the example below, the paths and groupings reminded me of a bunch of flowers in a garden. So I filled the triangle elements to reflect that. Shading and color smoothed the edges and points to look more like something Nature would do. 


Each “petal” and “leaf” is a pointed triangle, and most of the sides of the triangles are slightly curved–mostly because I prefer a bit of curve over straight lines. Each triangle began with an aura of one side of the previous triangle. The aura became the first side of the next triangle. It is even OK to slightly “hook” the aura if you are going for a rounded grouping–or just because. In this example, although some triangles were later filled with a pattern that resembles the veins found on a leaf, the rest were simply filled with color and texture to resemble petals. Even the butterfly body started out as a triangle which was subsequently filled with color. 

Tripoli is one of the most versatile Zentangle patterns. It can become a lizzard or a flower and many things in between. The flow of the path or the grouping your pen creates as you tangle suggests an object or design. You fill the triangles with patterns or color or texture to produce beautiful effects. 

Remember: Anything is possible one stroke at a time.®

Until next time, Happy Tangling! 

Posted in Zentangle

Bijou Tile Holder

Earlier this week, I posted a picture on the Zentangle Mosaic® app of a holder I made out of an Apprentice tile (4.5 inches square) to keep my brand new 2.5-inch square business cards from VistaPrint®. 

This post caused several people to ask how I made the holder, and I promised to post directions here on my blog. 

Thinking back to a four-piece bijou puzzle I tangled for Valentangle2017 on Facebook, I thought it might be better to create a bijou-sized holder instead of the business card holder. Where the business cards are 2.5 inches square and need the larger Apprentice tile, bijou tiles are only 2 inches square, so a standard 3.5 inch square tile is plenty large to make a holder. No matter what size holder you need, the procedure is the same.

Step 1: Mark the center and diagonal lines.

Mark centers and diagonals.

With a pencil, find and draw the diagonals and centers on the backs of both your “final size” tile and the tile from which you will make the holder. Measure for accuracy. Your tile will resemble a squared round pizza.

Step 2: Line up the two square tiles, then trace.

Align diagonals with center lines as shown; trace bijou.

Turn your bijou 45 degrees, and match up the bijou’s diagonal lines to the standard tile’s center lines, and the bijou’s center lines to the larger tile’s diagonals. It may not be a perfect match, but match as closely as possible. Once the lines are matched, trace the bijou onto the larger tile. 

Step 3: Re-draw 3/16-ths of an inch away.

Draw a 3/16-inch frame around the bijou tracing.

Aura the bijou outline 3/16-ths of an inch away from the center on all sides. 

Step 4: Score for folding.

Score just outside pencil lines.

Line up a ruler or other straight edge tool with the drawn lines. With your favorite paper scoring tool (I use a bamboo skewer), score just outside the pencil lines, going from one edge of the larger tile to the other. Do this for the bijou tracing and for its frame. 

Step 5: Fold along scored lines.

Fold along the scored lines. Trim away corner pieces.
Fold along all of the scored lines. At the corners, there will be extra paper. Trim away this extra space with two inward snips along the main fold lines. Cut no further than the inside folds. 

Step 6: 

Sharpen creases.

Re-fold the tile so the clean side is to the outside. Sharpen the fold lines by pressing on them again with your fingers or with a smooth hard object for a sharper crease. 

Step 7: Tangle.

Fold out tile and tangle as desired.

Unfold the box and tangle it any way you like. Remember that three flaps will fold over each other in the box to contain the bijou tiles. You may want to wait until the holder is glued together before tangling the back.

Step 8: Cut some filler.

Cut some filler to make gluing, tangling on the back, and closure cutting easier.

Before going further, take some time to cut some bijou-sized filler for your holder. I generally fold a newspaper page several times and cut out a section the same size as what I plan to fill with–such as bijou tiles or business cards. While you are at it, cut a piece of waxed paper or baking parchment to the same size. Slide this between your filler and the flaps. The filler makes it easier to glue the flaps together and later tangle the box, as well as provide a surface to cut into if you plan to make a flap tuck for your holder. The square of waxed paper or parchment keeps the filler from being accidentally glued inside the flaps when the glue spreads out inside. 

Sometimes, I just carefully wrap bijou tiles or cards in waxed paper and slip them into the holder before gluing. This works best if I use tiny wafer-thin magnets as a closure. The waxed paper does nothing to prevent the X-acto knife from cutting into a good tile or business card!

Step 9: Glue flaps together.

Glue three flaps together, envelope-style.

Overlap the two side flaps and glue them together. Next, bring up the bottom flap and glue it in place so the section resembles an envelope. This is far easier to do and let dry with filler inside. 

For gluing, I use the same thing I use to seal my artwork–Mod Podge® Matte water-based sealer, glue, and finish. It works great as a glue and as a sealant to protect the paper from wearing too quickly, and to keep my artwork looking fresh longer. 

Once the glue is dry, you may want to tangled the back. You can wait until after you have sealed your holder, but you will need to seal the work again, as even Micron® ink can smear when used over the Mod Podge. 

Step 10: Seal your work.

Seal the paper.

To protect your artwork and to extend the life of your holder, seal the entire surface–front, back, sides–with a protective sealer such as Mod Podge Matte or Mod Podge Glossy. Using an inexpensive art brush, cover the front and sides with the sealer, wipe away excess at the edges with a damp cloth, and allow to dry completely. 

When dry, flip the holder over and brush the back with sealer. Wipe away any excess, as with the front. If you like, erase any pencil marks from the inside of the loose top flap piece, and seal it, too.

Give the holder time to dry completely before continuing. Mod Podge is dry to the touch in minutes, but could take half an hour or longer to dry through layers. 

Step 11: Flap closures.

Cut out flap tuck, if desired.

Once everything is completely dry, fold the top flap over, and make marks to either side of where you want to cut a flap tuck. Using a straight edge and an X-acto knife, cut two parallel lines close together through all thicknesses. 

I didn’t wait long enough, and the damp glue not only got all over the knife edge, but also created some problems for cutting through damp paper fibers. The result is a slit that is more ragged than it would have been if I were a little more patient. 

If you prefer to use magnets or Velcro as fastenings, this would be a good step to apply those closures. 

Step 12: Decorate back, if not done earlier.

Decorate back, if not already done.

All I wanted to do was add a bit of printemps around the flap tuck. You may choose to tangle the whole back, if you haven’t done so in an earlier step. I was going to leave the back untangled, except for the flap which I tangled with the front. However, I got finger smudges along the flap tuck because I cut too soon. I wanted to cover them up a bit. 

And the holder is done!

Completed bijou tile holder

Hope this gives you some ideas about what can be done with tiles, other than draw on them. There are so many beautiful, creative art works by tanglers all over the Internet. Maybe you will add to them to inspire others!

Until next time, Happy Tangling!

Posted in Zentangle

Back to Basics 2

Ten days ago, I talked about being so overwhelmed with so many new tangle patterns being developed and shared. I decided to spend time working on the basics of Zentangle and a more manageable number of patterns. I pulled out my handily shelved Zentangle Primer and started from the beginning, as though learning tangling for the first time. I have shared some of my Back to Basics work here and on the Zentangle Mosaic app, and I have temporarily removed myself from the world of Zentangle challenges (not that I take part in more than two or three!).

It has been an interesting week of tangling for me, as I draw for the lesson exercises, breaking things up with an occasional meditation with greater complexity. But I continue with the Basics to get my tangling back on track. 

‘Nzeppel practice
Striping practice
Crescent Moon exercise

The ‘Nzeppel I shared previously, as I got it almost perfect with input from friends on Mosaic. The Striping exercise is the result of a “teaching session” in the Primer. The Crescent Moon tile is the result of an exercise challenging the tangler to shade Crescent Moon in several different ways. Interestingly, today a T3 (Tangles, Tips, &a Techniques) video was posted on the Mosaic app showing three specific things that could be done with Crescent Moon to make it look different on each tile. A lot was covered that I had recently completed in my tile, but there was a lot more information that kept me interested and following along. The resulting tiles, each containing only the single pattern, made me realize that I don’t need all those new tangles that are constantly showing up to produce something special. 
Three ways to tangle and enhance Crescent Moon

Today I practiced Crescent Moon as monotangles (one pattern tiles) three ways. I started practicing a tangle I am not especially fond of–Rixty–but am not ready to share where that pattern is taking me. It happens to be the next pattern introduced in Lesson 6 of the Primer. It’s a long chapter and will take some time to complete, even though none of the patterns are completely new to me. After all, this is not my first time through the book. Each time I go through it or check a step-out or seek inspiration, I learn something new or see the pattern from a different perspective. 

There is so much to learn from practicing the art of Zentangle, not the least of which is meditation and relaxation. I hope to be tanglingin the physical company of others soon, as I will be attending a certification seminar in late April (2017). Afterwards, I hope to bring Zentangle, its methods, and its philosophy to people here on Sint Maarten who would find it beneficial to their health and outlook.

If you are in or near Sint Maarten, join me for a tangling session! 

Until next time, Happy Tangling!

Posted in Zentangle

A Little Help From My Friends

For the past ten days or so, I have been re-visiting patterns I learned early in my Zentangle “career,” but have stopped using. Some fell into disuse because I simply didn’t like them; others because I couldn’t make them work for me; still others for reasons I have forgotten. Using the Zentangle Primer to guide me, I simply started at the beginning.

Yesterday, a Primer exercise (#zp1x16) directed me to draw a tangle I either don’t like or have trouble drawing to my satisfaction. I selected a pattern that looks simple but that gives me trouble, ‘nzeppel. 

‘Nzeppel

‘Nzeppel is a simple enough looking pattern that is drawn in a grid of exes. But it has given me a lot of trouble because I can’t get the corners to curve instead of come to a point. This tile shows my best effort in the 10 or 11 months I have “known” it. I posted it on the Zentangle Mosaic app with an explanation, figuring that was the end to it for a while. I was incredibly surprised to learn how many experienced tanglers–individuals whose work is incredibly artistic and beautiful–had difficulty with this pattern as well! Their admission left me feeling so much less klutzy! I am so grateful to them all.

Some CTZs offered suggestions (privately) on how to draw ‘nzeppel better–tips that they used themselves. These made me think about the pattern differently. So I redrew it. 

Better ‘Nzeppel.

This is much closer to the effect I was trying to create all these months. It reinforces my feeling that tangling with a group has many significant advantages over tangling alone. Other tanglers can offer advice based on personal experience or contact with other tanglers. It also made me realize that I am not simply having a unique and personal difficulty with a simple pattern. So often, the most complex patterns turn into an easy exercise (my experiences with Way Bop before seeing the step-out, for example), while the simple, easy-looking patterns are challenges for even artistically gifted tanglers. It is such a relief to know that I am not simply an untalented klutz with a pen and pencil. 

Several of the tips and suggestions I received after uploading the first tile yesterday included references to personal difficulties with the pattern and the tip or instruction that yielded that “Aha!” moment. But it came from group participation and sharing. 

And sharing is just another important aspect of Zentangle. We all get by (and get better!) with a little help from our friends!

If you live on the island of St. Martin, in Sint Maarten, or are planning a visit to the island, let’s get together and tangle under a palm tree or beach umbrella by the sea! 

Until next time, Happy Tangling! 

Posted in Zentangle

New Tangle: Frenot

This new tangle is one I have been using for several months, calling it Frenot. I haven’t posted a step-out before, mostly because I was not sure it is unique. Now, I am pretty certain it is something new.

Frenot  was inspired by the French knot in embroidery work. While unpacking from our move last year, I came across a tiny piece I started years and years ago but never finished. One stitch that was used in it was the French knot. There was a cluster of French knots, creating a ring of petals or blooms. It inspired me to create a tangled interpretation. Being completely new to Zentangle, I didn’t know that anyone can create and name a tangle. Although I used it in some of my tiles, I was afraid to share those tiles because they contained an “unknown” pattern.  It took a while to realize that 1) anyone can create a new pattern; and 2) it is unique, as far as I can tell. 

Although I have been tangling for more than ten months now, I have been working pretty much on my own. That’s why I continue to call myself a newbie or beginner. I have learned so much! There is still so much to learn! Recently, however, I have had a lot of Zentangle-related help from several lovely people on the Zentangle Mosaic app (iPhone/iPad and Android formats available). No one has been more of a help and inspiration to me than Jody Genovese, CZT. It is thanks in large part to Jody’s encouragement on my tangling explorations and experiments that I have gained confidence–in my ability to tangle, and in my willingness to share. So I dedicate this new pattern to her. 

Here is the step-out for Frenot.

Step-out for new tangle pattern Frenot

Here are a few tiles on which I used Frenot. Two of them I shared on Mosaic. 



If you like Frenot and use it in a tile or other work, please feel free to include a photo or a link in the comments section. I would love to see how you use it! 

Until next time,

Happy Tangling!