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A Zentangle Timeline

A Zentangle Timeline

We hope that you have enjoyed our Back to Basics series as much as we have. It has been exciting, humbling, and inspiring to look back at where we stated and how far we have come. At the same time, we also found comfort in the fact that over the years, the Zentangle Method has remained the same, guiding us on our creative journeys.

To wrap up this series, we are taking a trip down memory lane and looking back at the Zentangle Kit over the years... with an exciting announcement at the end.


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Rick writes:

When Maria and I gave our first Zentangle Workshop in July of 2003, we did not have a Zentangle Kit.

Until that workshop we didn't have a Zentangle tile . . . or a trademark!

So, just before that first workshop Maria lettered some art for the back of our 3.5 inch (89mm) square piece of paper we call a tile . . .

. . . printed them on the copy machine and the cut them by hand.

Meanwhile, we realized we should trademark "zentangle" so I got to work on that and, if memory serves correctly, we finished in the wee hours of the morning.

After that super successful class with about 100 of the most awesome calligraphers in the world, we started thinking about a kit for our Zentangle tiles and tools. (That first class was at the annual meeting of IAMPETH, the International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers, and Teachers of Handwriting.)

We mocked up ideas with pieces of foam board, mat board and tape . . . always with the divine proportion in mind to guide our design. Here's one of those early prototypes:

Once we had something we liked, Maria and I took our mock-up to a box maker we found in Hadley, a town in western Massachusetts. We chose the green because we liked the swatch from the limited assortment available. 

Here is a picture of that first kit:

We used a ribbon as a "lifter" under the tiles instead of a finger cutout. There was no latch to keep it closed. 

We used a 3.5" DVD which we thought was clever because, well, our tiles were 3.5" square and it fit so well in the tile section in the box. But that was a bit of a problem on slot feeding DVD drives. So our technical support (Rick) was forever sending instructions on how to get that tiny disk out of your Apple computer's DVD drive.

Our idea was that the Zentangle Kit could be like a book and fit nicely on your bookshelf.


The next version of our kit was made in Nepal. Maria had been tangling on lokta paper which is made from the bark of trees that grow in Nepal. Our paper supplier suggested it as a good material for our Zentangle Kit box. We appreciated the idea that the paper and the kit boxes would be handmade in local Nepali villages and that the trees regenerated their bark.

This version added a string and button closure. We also shifted to a full-size DVD in this kit.

Soon we learned we had to schedule our orders around the local monsoon season. Then, as we ordered larger quantities, we began having quality issues.

Molly's first Zentangle job was helping Maria and me repair the salvageable boxes with a hot glue gun. Often we would be up late at night with the hot glue blisters to show for it. So, if one of your older kits is held together with odd globs of hot glue . . . now you know the story!

Every shipment came with a different challenge and often a different color! We began to look for another option.

That led us to another local box maker, this time in Rhode Island. For many years we got our kit boxes from them. I remember unloading them and storing them at my parents' home when we ran out of room at our home.

This box came with a small foam button to hold the DVD and it closed with a magnetic flap.

We have been planning to introduce a new kit box for over a year. We thought we had enough kit boxes like the one above to last us well into 2021. But in 2020, with the increased interest in finding refuge in calm creativity amidst the clamor, we ran out of kit boxes sooner than we expected. 

And now . . . (insert drum roll and cymbal, or, trumpets if you prefer) . . . we are thrilled to introduce our new Zentangle Kit.

Our new Zentangle Kit comes in two "flavors." Both flavors use the same larger box with sections to accommodate our different size tiles and to organize your various tools.

Our overall concept is to provide a portable Zentangle studio with plenty of room to grow as you add tools and tiles and collect your creative treasures.

Instead of including an instructional DVD, we provide links to a growing library of online Zentangle instructional videos. This first instructional video comes in four versions: an edited version in right and left handed formats, and an unedited, see every stroke, version - also in right and left handed formats.

Each Zentangle Kit includes a new and expanded instructional booklet.

Let's take a look at the two versions.

Zentangle Kit-Classic

In this Zentangle Kit-Classic you will find:

  1 Introductory Booklet
34 White Zentangle® Tiles of assorted sizes
  1 Black Sakura® Pigma Micron® 01 Pen
  1 Black Sakura Pigma Micron PN Pen
  2 Mini Graphite Pencils 
  2 Pouches (for tools and tiles)
  1 Sharpener
  2 Tortillions

This is a great foundation to begin your Zentangle journey. It has the basic tools you need to begin and offers plenty of room to grow and to collect your treasured works of art.

Zentangle Kit-Expanded

In this Zentangle Kit-Expanded you will find:

  1 Introductory Booklet
34 White Zentangle® Tiles of assorted sizes
34 Colored Zentangle Tiles of assorted sizes
  1 Black Sakura® Pigma Micron® 01 Pen
  1 Black Sakura Pigma Micron PN Pen
  1 Black Sakura Pigma Micron 10 Pen
  1 Brown Sakura Pigma Micron 01 Pen
  1 White Sakura Gelly Roll® 08 Pen
  2 Mini Graphite Pencils 
  1 Mini White Charcoal Pencil
  4 Tortillions
  2 Pouches (for tools and tiles)
  1 Sharpener (KUM® for graphite)
  1 Sharpener (All Art® for white)
  1 Zentangle Legend Booklet 
  1 Icosohedron Die

    If you are familiar with Zentangle tools and tiles, you probably understand most of what is on that list. But what, you may ask, is a "Zentangle Legend Booklet?"

    Ah, so glad you asked. That is the custom booklet that we released in Zentangle Project Pack No. 10. Gather your inspirations and imaginations in this delightful booklet as you create your own legend!

    We are thrilled to finally share these new Zentangle Kits with you! Kits are available now for Certified Zentangle Teachers and will be available to all tanglers the afternoon of Friday, July 23rd! Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to find out when you can get yours.

    Thank you again for enjoying with us this marvelous journey and exploration of all things possible (and once thought impossible) . . . one (delightful, relaxed, and fun) stroke at a time.


    The randomly selected winner from last week's blog is Deborah Alborell! Please send your snail address to! Has your name been picked during our Back to Basics series? Congratulations! You will be receiving a Zentangle Kit - Classic!

    Please share your stories about your Zentangle timeline in the comments below. We will randomly select THREE commenters to also receive a new Zentangle Kit!

    Rick Roberts


    • I discovered Zentangle from a library book, and learned to tangle in the fall of 2016. I practiced for a year or two, then spent more time on music than art. In 2021, I returned to art and rediscovered Zentangle. I will attend the CZT42 conference this fall!

      Heidi on

    • Just over a year ago I began learning the Zentangle method from your videos and from other CZTs. Since then, I’ve become more focused when tangling as well as enjoying everyday activities in a new relaxed manner. Thank you for continually sharing your adventures with us Tanglers, for imagining new tangles and projects and inspiring me to create one line at a time.

      Nancy Needler on

    • Just over a year ago I began learning the Zentangle method from your videos and from other CZTs. Since then, I’ve become more focused when tangling as well as enjoying everyday activities in a new relaxed manner. Thank you for continually sharing your adventures with us Tanglers, for imagining new tangles and projects and inspiring me to create one line at a time.

      Nancy Needler on

    • I’ve just received my kit!!! Awasome!!! Can’t wait to start using these products!! Thank you Zentangle Team! <3

      Love from Reunion Island

      Yasmina on

    • So cool to see the history of the kits! I have one (treasured) with the lokta paper box and a string and wooden button closure. I also love that you include Fibonacci numbers in your supplies. :)

      Margaret Bremner on

    • I first found Zentangling at an Art Educators conference. I can’t remember what year, but I think you were maybe just starting out. Maria and Rick were passing out papers and demonstrating the pens to use and basic strokes. We could try it out and I divided my paper into 3 parts and tried to copy what you showed us. I have loved it ever since! Long time ago.

      Vicki Walsh on

    • It has been such an anxious year or two. Working and worrying I had put all hobbies aside. I teach Sunday school but it was canceled last year and that left a huge void. I found out we will begin classes in the fall. I am so happy! I am preparing lessons that always include an art project, once a month, for the student to take home and involve the whole family. Zentangle will be perfect! I never thought of it before. It would have made this pandemic easier to bear. Thank you for posting this wonderful newsletter.

      Judith Tosado on

    • Boomerang is a online place for retired people and they have some courses….and there are some members who are addicted to Zentangle…..I love the designs and want to start….

      barb mcquoid on

    • I started tangling about 6 years ago after some really hard times. This peaceful practice helped me through a lot. I stopped for a long while when things started getting better. I’m at a wonderful place in my life now and I have rediscovered the joys of tangling. I hope to one day attend a CZT class.

      Carol on

    • My timeline is rather short, but very intense. Zentangle found me in the summer of 2020 and carried me away so much that I spontaneously decided to go to the CZT seminar in October in Frankfurt.
      I just wanted to do something good for myself, just for me. I met great people who enrich my life every day.
      And I accepted the adventure of passing on this great method to interested people. It is a joy to accompany this path. ♥️

      Claudia on

    • Hi ,I came to know about this wonderful art about four months ago.Since then it’s just this art I am exploring and exploring. Just watching videos of various CZT’s joined various groups on FB , installed The mosaic app…..even applied for the EU #5 seminar that is in November.So so ….much excited for it.Thanks Rick And Maria for introducing this art form.

      Preeti Gupta on

    • Hola Rick y María!!! Conocí Zentangle® en el año 2017, cuando una maestra de arte de la escuela primaria donde trabajaba había realizado un trabajo con sus alumnos usando algunos patrones que ella había encontrado en internet. Ese año fue muy duro para mi familia, ya que mi marido había sido operado de cáncer de próstata y estábamos en los días de post operatorio, en donde mis energías no se reponían porque no dormía bien. Zentangle, o lo que había interpretado en ese momento sin investigar, me acompañó cada noche y me hacía descansar. Allí sentí en carne propia sus beneficios y tomé la decisión de informarme sobre el método, porque sentía que tenía que transmitirlo. Y así los encontré!!! Inmediatamente les escribí y siempre, muy generosamente, respondieron mis consultas. No podía aún certificarme, ya que vivo en Argentina y tenía que proyectar el viaje. Entonces, nació el proyecto, en un cuaderno. Los años pasaron y la posibilidad de hacer la certificación de manera virtual me acercaba a cumplir ese sueño tan anhelado, lamentando que esa posibilidad se estaba originando por la pandemia. De pronto, todo se fue ordenando y fluyó para que en el Seminario Europa #4 pudiera hacer realidad mi sueño. Hoy soy CZT® y estoy feliz, por conocer a toda esta comunidad unida por ustedes y por disfrutar de cada trazo, para mí y para quienes quieren que sea su Guía en este aprendizaje. Gracias!!!!! Por su creación, que hace bien… Los abrazo desde San Luis, Argentina!!!! Con parte de ese sueño que aún queda por cumplir, que es el viaje.

      Myriam on

    • Now that we are retired and traveling with our travel trailer, it’s the perfect time to break out the supplies and play. Seems to me to be the perfect travel hobby with my Zentangle supplies taking so little space in an already packed RV.

      Karen Fryar on

    • Although I had seen several books on Zentangle at the local arts and crafts store, I didn’t understand it, and didn’t bother looking into it further than the cover of the books. Then one day, I found a small Zentangle kit at a resale store. I was only interested in the Pigma Micron pens, but I bought the kit. I took the pens out of the package and “lost” the rest of the information. Then Covid struck, and the school that I taught in closed down for the year. My busy schedule of Church and School came to a sudden standstill… Boredom drove me to cleaning, I found the kit, and have been totally obsessed every since then! I love art. I wanted to go to art school when I graduated from high school, but my Mother was afraid that I would starve as an artist. Now, 40 plus years later, I have rekindled my love of art. I was struggling with watercolor, but found that pen and ink with watercolor is my favorite, thus Zentangle and Zentangle Inspired Art is a perfect match for me. My son and his family moved in with me 5 months ago. Zentangle allows me to carve out small oasis of time to create and focus. I am pleasantly surprised at how calming Zentangle is. I have seen improvements in my drawing skills, my penmanship, and my ability to face changes in my schedule. Thank you for sharing such a life changing practice. . .

      Linda Stephens on

    • I discovered the Zentangle method about 6 weeks ago after recently investing in a beautiful supply of threads, linen, merino wool felt for hand applique and embroidery stitches. I had previously done needlework for many years while in my 30’s and also needlework design on a small level. In addition, for many years I created jewelry in the form of bead weaving, stringing as well as wirework with beadwork. I have been so transfixed with learning how to tangle that I have watched about 100 videos and have been practicing regularly. I am left-handed so I have to try both versions to see which is easiest and most comfortable for me. I am thrilled that both Zentangle’s site and videos and other CZT’s cites and videos have given so many useful tips and hints to enable me to improve the techniques on individual tangles. I will be on a mission now to sell the new needlework/applique supplies as I am too enthralled with tangling plus the supplies are minimal which will be much easier for me to manage. Thank you for evoking and listening to the spirit within and following your heart so that this beautiful art form was able to touch the world and provide the joy and creativity that you and your family also share with us in the You Tube community. There are no accidents… I was meant to stumble upon Zentangle, and that’s probably what I’ll put as my “gratitude” expression on the Zendala tile for Project Pack 9.

      Barbara Steele on

    • I took my first Zentangle class from a CZT well over a dozen years ago. At the time I was an educator who found tangling a valuable practice to reduce stress. Starting with the original black on white basic tangles, I progressed to white on black and rennaisance. Between gifts received from friends and my own purchases, I have delighted in ALL of the project packs, fascinated by all the possibilities. Now retired, tangling is my daily meditative joy. I do not know how I would have survived these past traumatic years of turmoil and pandemic without the gift of drawing. Thank you! With all of my heart, I send my profound appreciation for the joy and creativity you have brought into my life. 💜

      Cindy Martin-Shaw on

    • Eu sou apaixonada por zentangle tenho assistido aos vídeos de todos os Project Pack , e tenho adorado . Comecei no começo do ano passado, estava procurando algo que despertasse a minha criatividade e que eu pudesse trabalhar em casa por conta da pandemia. Na mesma época me aposentei das aulas de artes que ministrei por mais de 25 anos para crianças com dificuldades intelectuais. Pude enfim ter um tempo só pra mim. O que tem sido maravilhoso. Queria muito me certificar, mas não tenho possibilidade para isso. Aqui tudo fica muito caro. Os materiais são lindos as novas caixas também! Parabéns o novo material ficou lindo!!! Hoje depois de um pouco mais de um ano eu evolui muito, e espero continuar , de vcs não largo mais! Obrigada por tudo!

      Rosane Chiarantano on

    • I only started tangling this year, but have fallen in love with the method, the results, and the community. I love the videos and have been going back to watch older ones and recreate the Project Packs with what I have on hand. I made my own Legend booklet for PP 10 and learned so much in doing so. I have treated myself to a couple of the recent Project Packs but never a Kit. These new kits look so beautiful. I may have to get one.

      Marsha Campbell on

    • I started drawing tangles on squares of Bristol board cut into 3.5 inches. I thought my first kit, the lotta covered box with the string and button closure, was an extravagance. It remains the best gift I’ve ever given myself!

      Mary Bartrop on

    • I discovered Zentangle this past year, I’m not sure how- but I’m so glad I did! It is such a calming practice. I can only imagine how anxious I might have been at times without it. I don’t have any of the kits, but I’ve made my own storage boxes by using clean pizza boxes! We buy unbaked fresh locally made pizzas from a small grocery store nearby, and the boxes are great for storing tools and finished artwork- not as nice as a true Zentangle kit, but it works! I must admit I have coveted a real Zentangle kit, but I have been happily drawing on everything from the inner surface of cut-up cereal boxes to pages in a sketchbook to pieces of card stock. I love having this as an artistic outlet, and have even ventured into making some watercolor paintings, holding in mind the “no mistakes” philosophy. Thank you so much for all the resources you all share & make so freely available! ❤️

      Lucinda Mathews on

    • I have been an artist for a long time in watercolor and oil and some sketching, but when I met the man I would eventually marry, I had to compress my art supplies to travel with him in his RV and couldn’t see how to do it until one of my art group peers suggested “doing Zentangle.” That was 2017… we married in 2018 and that was the same year I came to Seminar, so hooked on the Method I just knew I had to teach it. Now I have a small group I teach every Thursday and one of them is my hyper-anxious granddaughter who, now 17, says I have helped to “save her life” by teaching her the patterns. Now she wants to go to seminar and include teaching Zentangle as part of her life goal and college aspirations. One Line At A Time… we are changing the world!!

      Annie Sargent, CZT 33 on

    • I’m another one who never thought I could draw or create anything even though I really wanted to. Zentangle has fulfilled a dream. Now, however, I need a REALLY BIG box to keep all my zentangle tools! Maybe a steamer trunk???? I’m like a little kid when I get a box from Zentangle – giddy – and I have to take it ALL with me if I’m going to be gone for more than a quick weekend. What if I get a sudden inspiration and I need a certain pen or paper that I didn’t bring? Yikes! Makes me so happy.

      Rondy L Murray on

    • So wonderful to see this journey of kits! Totally reminds me of my journey with Zentangle – starting to learn about it (with a few pens and paper) and then getting the hang of it (a few more pens) until now I am fully comfortable with the Zentangle Method and have been able to expand my exploration into a variety of mediums (way more pens and paper). Thank you for all the innovation in the last year, it’s truly helped – refuge in calm creativity describes Zentangle for me in the last year perfectly.

      Lauren H on

    • I love the story of the evolution of the box. It shows all the little things that were considered, planned, created, transitioned and built upon. The unexpected modifications and changes in material brought extra challenges but were handled one step at a time with a beautiful end result. Sounds like Zentangle to me!

      Holly C on

    • I was gifted with the magnetic box by my best friend who is a CZT and had been wanting me to try it. I finally said I was interested in trying it and on New Year’s Eve 2018 I not only opened up the magnetic box but also received a lot of extras not in the kit to start my journey. I was instantly hooked.

      DM Smith on

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