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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 started my Zentangle adventures in 2013, became a CZT in 2017 and am so very thankful for this practice ❤️

      Laurie Shetler on

    • I started my Zentangle journey in 2015 and will forever be on it. I am constantly discovering little gems that are new to me and it’s like opening a gift that contains a world of possibilities. 💕

      Ellinor BeVier on

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