Black and white drawing of a design called Zentangle; two pens laying on artwork

Zentangle? What’s a Zentangle? Zentangle is a really cool type of art that creates wild pictures, the ‘tangle’, through lots of thought and focus, the ‘zen’.  Follow along to learn how to make zentangles.

This art form was created by a couple named Rick and Maria Roberts in 2003. Maria was drawing a pattern in the background of a picture she drew, when Rick interrupted her. They talked about the calm she had felt when drawing the patterns, and Zentangles were born! 

Now, how do you make Zentangles? It’s easier than you’d think!


Blank paper

A pencil or pen

Colors (optional): paints, crayons, pencils, anything you have handy! 

A hand drawing a line

Step 1: String!

On your paper, draw a little shape near the bottom with a single line, which we’ll call a ‘string’. It could be wiggly, curvy, zig zag, or straight. Is the shape a raindrop? A heart? A circle? You choose! 

A hand filling in the shape with dots

Step 2: Tangle!

Now, take your pencil and fill in that shape with a fun pattern, also known as a tangle! Need some ideas? Why not try: 

Polka dots 
Zig Zags

There’s plenty of inspiration online, and no wrong way to tangle!

A completed zentangle

Step 3: Repeat!

Now keep going, adding strings and drawing tangles until you fill up the paper. 

The same zentangle, now in color

Step 4: (Optional) Add color!

Why not add some fun colors? Those polka dots could use a little blue, those zigs could be orange and those zags could be pink. Make it yours! 

Step 5: Admire!

Sign your name and find a nice place to hang up your Zentangle- it looks fantastic! 

Parents, after everything is done, here’s some questions for you to ask your Zany Zentangler- 

What do you think zen means? Did you feel that while making your masterpiece? 

Did you learn anything new while making this? Any patterns that you want to use again? 

What else could we use Zentangles for? Could we paint them on a flowerpot? Use it on a tote bag? 

If you make some beautiful Zentangles, please share them with us on Facebook, instagram, or Twitter. We love to see what our listeners can create! 

Find more creative things to do like zentangles and splatter painting in our blog section!