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A Different Kind of Frame

A Different Kind of Frame

Maria writes...

My concern lately, has been finding good homes for the multitude of (amaZing) pieces of Zentangle art the I have at home.  I try to put out as many of my tiles as humanly possible so that I, as well as others, can admire, study, but not forget about them.  I love that our home is pretty much a “museum of fine art”, taking friends, as well as strangers, on tours.  But, even for me, this gets difficult: there is only so much wall space available. 

So, what is a good docent to do? 

It can be difficult at times (!) to get out to shop for frames, and sometimes pretty darned expensive.  So, I decided there had to be alternative ideas for framing for our beautiful tiles.

It is always such a treat when someone sends flowers for this occasion or that, but I am often left with a generic glass vase that is adequate to hold a beautiful bouquet, but when the flowers have seen their last breath, what do you do with these “less than stellar” glass vessels?  I know, I know. . . you hate to toss it, as it was such a lovely gesture, and perhaps someday you would use it again (but almost certainly you don’t). Right?  They’re all sitting in a dusty cupboard in the cellar, a box under the guest room bed, or in the worst case, the “closet of no return!"

But, what if they did have a purpose?  They could become a home for little wanderers: your precious Zentangle tiles. Establish beautiful, loving places where you can visit them easily and often, and perhaps even find someone to adopt them forever.  All this AND a new way to stretch your creative muscles.  That always leads to more brilliant ideas!

Perhaps you have a few pretty glass jars, bowls or vases you forgot about, that would be perfect for this newfound life.  If not, surely someone you know would.
I cannot wait to see what you do with this idea. Sometimes, all you need is a little nudge to get you going.  They make great gifts.  Fill with candy or treats, or just on their own. 


🐌 Bijou just reminded me to tell you to put only DRIED flowers in and not the others.  

Most of these images are self-explanatory.  With the large squarish vase, I cut some mat board the sizes of the 4 sides.  Tested the fit, you want them to be snug.  Stuck my tiles to it with just a tiny bit of double face tape.  Then, with a Sakura Graphic One black, created a border of mooka and other friends.  Nothing too fancy. Then slid them back in.  I had some old dried flowers destined for the trash, shook the dust off, and, voila!

Have fun with this.  I know you’ll come up with better ideas once you get going.  And, please share them with us!

Maria Thomas


  • Maria, awesome idea 😁🙏. I live alone and rarely have a visitor. I have my pets. I collect tins AND you’ve probably guessed where all my Zentangle Tiles get stored…..🤭 It never occurred to me to display them. I have them stored in date order so I know which ones I drew first…. I’ve no idea why it never occurred to me to take them out and let others see them. Maybe, subconsciously I was hiding. You have made my mind up. I am going to break my maybe “OCD” way of cateloging them in tins and take them out and see how that sits with me. I have walls of space just screaming for some art work 😁🙏♥️☘️ thank you so much Maria.🙏♥️

    Angelina Arcari on

  • Zentangle creates joy. Creativity is a holy gift. Sharing Zentangles makes the world a better place. Thank so much for giving us your gift. I thought about using clear plastic cups to display zentangle tiles. Then, use the cups as storage for markers pens&pencild, coins or cosmetics. Just a thought.

    Be safe and well. Blessed Be Miss Maria and yours.

    Sherri Quinlan on

  • Maria, you nailed this one. Smacked it right out of the ball park. Move over dust bunnies!

    Leah Gasser on

  • Hello Maria, great post and lovely ideas. Thank you so much. Namasté.

    Karin Godyns CZT Belgium on

  • Question I bought all of the packets and will continue to buy more as you add new projects. I am now ready to actually begin the projects. May I access all of the tutorials on line? I draw almost every day and have at least 200 tiles I think i am ready to start the project packs!!! I love your ideas for framing. Zentangle has added a much joy to my life!!! Thank you sherie

    Sherie Falink on

  • This is a brilliant solution for Zentangle hoarding! Yay. I also see others have confided their ways of displaying and celebrating their creativity. And it would be a wonderful book.

    Angelina Huard on

  • Photo booth photo frames hold 3 Bijou tiles with a little tape

    Lara Mazzari on

  • Beautiful works.

    How about putting them into a book and distributing to libraries who would accept them. Zentangle is very popular across globe and a beginner like me would love to see your original works as reference book in libraries. Generally reference books cannot be borrowed and are treasured well right.

    srimathi on

  • Just love it. I live in a tiny wee wendy house in the rain forest covering my cupboard doors with zentangle tiles, always looking for new ways to display, so thankyou for your inspiring thought.

    wendy tann on

  • Early on (say 2015-2018) I kept my tiles in 3-1/2 × 3-1/2" photo pages, 6 to a side. That worked well for the first 900 tiles. But now that I have done over 1100, and I don`t want to give any away (I give away photocopies willingly!) I`m not sure where to go, because those particular sized photo pages are no longer easy to find. I love them all (though they are NOT all my favourites!) and I don`t expect anybody else to love or want them as I do — I think I have more minimalists than maximalists as friends! And every one has a date and a story on the back! So, as long as I am around, I will keep the originals. I don`t have anybody to leave them to.

    Rosemary Turpin on

  • Brilliant as usual!
    And all these other ideas too … especially love the stair riser idea!!!

    Molly on

  • I like to use my files to illustrate stories (yes, I still read old family favorites on paper).

    Since I started, I was astonished to see how the abstracts fit into the stories – even when
    they were drawn long before I started doing this. I affix the tiles with Washi tape suggested
    by one of the Bible journalling crafters. Works great.

    Linda Dochter on

  • Oh Maria…another fantastic idea to display your incredible tiles! I’ve been slicing my greeting cards and inserting the tiles to send to friends in assisted living and family and friends around the world during the pandemic. ;-)

    Mary Ellen Ziegler czt33 on

  • LOVE all of these! I can see putting these in the guest bathroom filled with soaps, cotton balls, etc.

    Sharon Morris on

  • Maria’s ideas are always so unexpected, but so simple, I find myself wondering, “Now why didn’t I think of that?” And then I read all the other tips and techniques in the comments! I just love this blog, and the Zentangle community. Thanks for sharing! Can’t wait to try these ideas!

    Jake on

  • What fantastic ideas, Maria! I have a lot of those vases and now you have given me lots of ideas them and other pieces of glass I own. You are SUCH an inspiration to us all!

    Debbie Smith on

  • I have put my tiles in anything that holds a photo. My favorite “frames” are photo cubes, glass coasters that hold photos,

    (these make great gifts) clear paperweights. Clear acrylic magnet frames work well for a collage on a fridge or other metal surface. Even clear plates are wonderful for a table setting with a tile underneath and I slip them under glass tops on some of my small end tables. I also have a tote bag with clear acrylic pockets that looks great filled with tiles.

    All these ideas are very easy to change and rotate your artwork.

    Thank you for the added inspiration, Maria!

    Pam Hartz Miller

    Pam Hartz Miller on

  • Oh! What exciting ideas! May I share mine? I keep a stash of old, semi-antique-looking tiny frames that I buy at thrift stores and consignment shops. (not REAL antique stores) Most cost $1 or $2. My first plan was to use them to frame some of the lovely “cartouches” from that past Project Pack. So I got them out-ready to create cartouches! I made the mistake of opening my jewelry drawer to look for something to “cartouche”! Instead I found all the tiny little photo charms that used to come “free” whenever I had my sons’ pictures made at the local K-mart (back in the day-my sons are now in their 40s) Instead of making cartouches for the frames, I mounted the tiny photo charms in them. All this to say, I will henceforth, after Maria’s delightful blog post today, use my stash of tiny “antique” frames for my Zentangle art!

    Roberta Strickland on

  • Super ideas! I love how you generate ideas. Thank you. I use my refrigerator a lot but sometimes it is only because I know I am not finished with the tile. Thank you for this new idea!

    Paulette Kirschensteiner on

  • Brilliant…. love, love, love this idea! Looking around my home for all things glass. Thank you for the inspiration…

    Laureen on

  • I adore this idea! I can’t wait to start looking for new frames in my home! Thanks as always for your inspiration!

    Brenda Campbell CZT29 on

  • Dear Maria…as always, your creative genius inspires me! Thanks for sharing these wonderful
    ways to display all of our many Zentangle tiles!

    Harriet Meltzer on

  • Fun ideas, as always, Maria! I love how mobiles of tiles dance in the breeze. And of course, making BittyBookZ (thankZ to Chris Titus’s fabulous lead) is another engaging way to preserve and share our Zentangly masterpieces.

    Danielle DeRome on

  • Maria, love how your imagination always sparks that of others. I’m now looking around my home to see what I can find to add my art to. Thank you for such fun and creative finds!
    Brenda Shaver CZT 8 in Ontario, Canada

    Brenda Shaver on

  • Genius and beautiful!

    Nancy D., CZT18 on

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