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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 bought my (first) box in 2011 when I could not attend a Zentangle workshop day in the Netherlands with the first Dutch CZT, Maria Vennekens, because of other happy circumstances. From the moment I drew my first tile with the Micron 01 I was hooked and was happy to become a CZT9 (2012). Now I enjoy giving others Basic workshops (and more) and being an enthousiastic promotor of Zt on events and cultrure markets.
      Thank you for all your lovely work!!
      creative tangle regards, Arja

      ArjadLH, CZT9 on

    • I discovered Zentangle in 2012 and it has been a blessing ever since. It has helped me through some difficult times. I truly value the practice. – Kathleen


    • Love the Zentangle kit that came with all the beautiful supplies for CZT 37. I am teaching my first class tomorrow and am so excited about it. I take inspiration from everyone at Zentangle and all the teachers out there who have shared the method, and look forward to doing the same.

      Gill Green on

    • I discovered Zentangle thru a 6 week class at my local Senior Center when I moved to CT from Ohio in 2018. My first classroom “beginner’s kit” was a small blue box with a black .01 pigma micron pen, a graphite pencil, a white chalk pencil, a small tortillon, and a pencil sharpener. It was included in the cost of the first class. Additional supplies were available from the CZT, and I quickly began to build up my “stash.” I also have an unopened “Apprentice Kit” that is in a green and white box that has a tab for hanging in an art supply store. It contains 10 white tiles, 2 black .01 pens, 2 black .10 pens, 2 graphite pencils, and 2 tortillons. I have added many colored pigma micron pens in all sizes since that first class. Also jelly roll pens, metallic Sharpies, General chalk pencils in various colors, paint pens, Prismacolor pencils, watercolor pencils, etc. I tangle everyday, on all kinds of paper, pads, and lately started incorporating Zentangle into my acrylic paintings, collages, and other abstract art forms. As a lifelong poet and calligrapher, I often include my own poems, or quotes from my favorite poets in my art. My calligraphy experience made me very receptive to Zentangle, and it quickly became my “go to” form of meditation and stress relief, helping me grieve my husband’s death, and weather the pandemic. I love this art form, the people who invented it, and the CZTs who continue to spread the word! Thank you!

      Jessica Dykes on

    • My Zentangle journey began last year when I realize I was having anxiety and depression through work stress and I no word can express how lucky I was to being introduced to Zentangle. It has certainly helped me through my difficult times within the past 8 months. I am also so in love with this art therapy that I became a CZT myself! Thank you Rick and Maria and the Zentangle team!!!!

      Jacqueline Lee on

    • I am so very grateful for what Zentangle has meant to me. I received my first kit at a retreat at 1440 Multiversity and became a CZT as soon as I could following that introduction. The supplies make me feel special in my art practice and your incredible support and encouragement keep me inspired.

      Deb Murray CZT30 on

    • I am so very grateful for what Zentangle has meant to me. I received my first kit at a retreat at 1440 Multiversity and became a CZT as soon as I could following that introduction. The supplies make me feel special in my art practice and your incredible support and encouragement keep me inspired.

      Deb Murray CZT30 on

    • I live in the Uk and I have an untouched version of the first kit dated 2005! I made contact last week with a teacher over zoom through a local mental health charity and spent a wonderful hour and a half creating a tangle. I was wondering how I would be able to read the dvd- who thought technology would change so fast. Any tips or links would be great. I am finally allowing myself the time to sit and tangle without guilt that I should be doing something worthwhile.

      Davina Thomas on

    • My CZT training was in 2013…..many fond memories of that trip. The kit was one of my first purchases and it still sits on my shelf today. It’s filled with finished tiles. Love it!

      Cathrine Nicols on

    • CZT training was in 2013….many many fond memories. I still have my kit….it was one of my earliest purchases. Love it!

      Cathrine Nicols on

    • Being teacher in a Eastern European country, I know it will be a great opportunity (and it is a part of my plans for the future, actually!) to become CZT (I can’t wait the start of CZT EU #5 Seminar) and, after, to implement a Zentangle program for students, as a free of taxes project, soustained by the school’s curriculum, for some pupils from monoparental families or from poor environment… Everything, for the benefit of young people who seeks Art as a refuge, as a form of therapy or, simply, as a joy and completion of their existence…

      Ana on

    • I started my zentangle practice last year during the start of the pandemic so I initially created on my sketchbook and later purchased some tiles! I was fortunate enough to attend the recent seminar #37 and become a CZT! So I have the kit from the seminar supplies which I like to keep at my side table. It would be great to try out the new kit sometime.

      Suchitra K on

    • My Zentangle journey began in 2010 or 2011 when I received the second box with the string closure. At the time I did not think that my art was ‘good enough’ to use the actual tiles that came with the kit. So I started tangling in a journal. After filling about 12 or 15 pages of the journal with every tangle I could, I decided that my art was good enough to merit using an actual tile. I liked the box so much that I ordered another one and got box number three so that I could keep all my tiles in both boxes. Well, the boxes filled up and I took the CZT 17 training. I still have those first boxes and now all my current tiles go in albums that I take when I teach a class. At the end of teaching a class, I will sometimes pass around those albums to further inspire my students. My early journal pages of tangles now live in one of the boxes which I keep on the shelf to remind me of my own Zentangle journey. Thanks for the opportunity to tell this story.

      Leslie Hancock on

    • I loved reading about the various stages of the development of the Zentangle box. Everthing you produce from HQ has such interesting DNA. Thanks for sharing!

      Gale Sherman on

    • My original kit is the Nepal version and I treasure it. It was the beginning of a long and lovely teaching adventure for me. Barb CZT10.

      Barb Round on

    • Oh my goodness! What a wonderful history lesson! I feel so blessed to be a part of this Zentangle world! Thank you so very much! Can’t wait to get my new kit! 🥰

      Mary Stayner on

    • Oh my, this looks like it will be perfect for ‘taking on the road’ without having to skimp on what items I might just Need on hand, whether traveling far to be with family, or across town to tangle with a friend. Thank you!

      Michele Lewis on

    • I’m a CZT #1 from waaaaay back in 2009 and have seen the growth of Zentangle around the world! I certainly didn’t know what I was getting into but Zentangle has changed my life in so many positive ways. And I have introduced the method to thousands of people of all ages and abilities. It’s so wonderful to see their eyes when they realize that they really CAN do it!!! Thanks Rick and Maria and the whole Zentangle HQ crew for setting a great example of caring, sharing and compassion.

      MaryAnn Scheblein-Dawson, CZT #1 (Long Island, NY) on

    • I am a recent zentangler…I started in 2019 and obviously had a ton of practice time with the pandemic! I have had 2 inperson classes and one live stream class recently. I love the fact that I can combine my already existing watercolor and acrylic interests with “embellishments” provided by the Zentangle patterns. I was immediately smitten with MapTangling due to this. I am hopeful to get to Rhode Island in 2022 as well. So excited to have found this art!

      Sherry Turner on

    • I started my Zentangle journey about 3 years ago.I am in awe and very jealous of the talent of my fellow Tanglers. I feel so unworthy but never unwelcome. I can’t wait for these kits!

      Cathy Hiemer on

    • I purchased my box at the first class I took…I was hooked. I live on an island (no czt nearby), but I practiced on my own, and went became a CZT20. So happy to have found this wonderful method!

      Lisa Anderson on

    • I started my Zentangle journey in 2015. I was looking for something different to do. Classes were offered by our CZT and I took them. Loved Zentangle and the wonderful teacher we had. Carol Graham CZT. I continued classes with her until the pandemic. Before the pandemic we had a group that met once a month to tangle and talk. Since the pandemic we have continued our monthly meetings on Zoom. We have a great time and I love our group! Yay Zentangle!

      Maureen on

    • I love these. When I first started tangling, I used a decorative cigar-style box and labeled it “Zentangle to Go.” But of course as time went on and things got more adventurous, I had to expand to other boxes and bags. But I still love to organize my supplies for a beach trip where I can tangle all I want for a few days.

      Lynnda Tenpenny on

    • My husband gave me my Zentangle kit for Christmas before I was to go to Whitingsville for Seminar #6. I still use that kit at times, it brings back wonderful memories. Since then I’ve shared the Zentangle method with many folks of such a variety of ages. Once Covid took over our lives, some of my family members and I decided to start a Sunday evening ZenZoom. We’ve continued most Sundays since August 2020 and we now have 2 more CZTs – my sister Sally Mack and our niece, Fiona Mack!! Perhaps my other niece will eventually become a CZT some day.

      Jane MacKugler on

    • I loved receiving my Zentangle box when I signed up for CZT 27. I watched that disc over & over again practicing my tangles. I did store that beautiful box in my bookcase. I still have it & will treasure it always. As a bookbinder myself & box maker I really appreciate the attention to detail in the box.

      Leslee Feiwus on

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