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But, What Do You Do With Your Tiles?

But, What Do You Do With Your Tiles?

From 2019...

Maria and I just received this letter:

Dear Rick and Maria,

Some time ago my husband and I went on a motorbike weekend with a group of 20 friends. My husband loves to ride his motorbike and it always warms my heart to see the smile on his face when he rides his horse of steel. I recognize his smile because it is the same smile I have on my face whenever I tangle. I cannot help it, even when I slightly think about Zentangle the smile appears.

So, there we were in beautiful France, being blessed with some free time among friends. They drove off, on a daily basis, while I stayed at the base camp filling my days with long walks, and mostly tangling. For hours and hours and hours . . .

This caught the eye of one of the other bikers — a woman who was obviously going through some stuff at that time. She walked up to me and, a little bit annoyed, asked, “What is this thing you are always doing and why do you have this grin on your face while doing it?” As I tried to explain what Zentangle is and offered to teach her, she interrupted and asked, “But, what do you do with them afterwards?”

I thought about it for a second and replied: “I just keep them.” And then I asked, “What do you do with the result of your bike tour after a drive of 250 kms? Isn’t it all about the journey?”

She looked at me and said, “You are so weird!”

I replied with a kind smile, “Yes, you are probably right. And I am also happy.

It truly made me realize, as I had been there, that the teacher can indeed only appear when the student is ready. I also felt beyond compare grateful and blessed for Zentangle art because it has changed my life in such a tremendous positive way that I cannot even begin to explain it. It brought me so many things, but above all, it brings me happiness, day after day after day.

Now to me that seems like the best gift anybody can give you.

So, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the gift of Zentangle.

Love and blessings to all of you.
K, Belgium

To which I replied,

Thank you so much for that story!

"Coincidentally," Maria and I were talking with friends on Saturday, when you emailed about this very topic.

Imagine how wonderful it would be for some future generation to discover your treasured collection of Zentangle tiles; how they would carefully appreciate each one.

Best regards from one who is often also called "weird",



On our recent trip to Germany, CZT Ela Rieger shared with us her album of over 1,000 tiles!


And here are some examples of where we have tiles up around our house . . .



In the past, we have written a few blogs about this topic as well:

Stuck Up from August 2014 and A New Frame of Mind from July 2018.

So, what do YOU do with your tiles?


Rick Roberts


  • I love making a zentangle design on a blank card and offering those cards to friends for any occasion.

    Cynthia Atkinson on

  • When I send a greeting card, I calligraph their name and then add zentangles below it. I then have a larger separate envelope to include the card that is within the zentangled enveloped. Sometimes I just add some zentangle to the address envelope, on the left side it might be a flower or a 7 layer tiered cake with a candle on top.

    Eva-Lynn Diesenhaus on

  • Many years ago, the 4 grandchildren were at my house. There is a 9 year age range. I got out my Zentangle books, gave them paper and off they went drawing. When my daughters came to rescue me, were so pleased at what they saw. Total quiet concentration. No rescuing required thanks to Zentangle. Fun times.

    Bev. on

  • When I have a little “funwithpapertape” I sign, date and stick them right where i I drew them for someone else to find. I hope it brings a smile to someone else’s day. Lacey


  • My story is similar to others: some tiles I have in albums, some on display in my home n some I’ve sent to friends.

    Nancy Needler on

  • One of the best things I’ve done with my tiles is to make a mobile. I used 7 or 8 of the three dimensional tiles from PP #16. I hung it in my kitchen and every one comments and loves it.


    Marsha Campbell on

  • Everyone has such great ideas shared here! I’ve been keeping mine very unceremoniously in plastic baggies- and pull them out to appreciate. I do make cards out of many of them for birthdays etc. I have also framed a couple and given as gifts.
    I got a beautiful journal with gray, black, tan and white pages at the Zentangle “store” when at my training- I plan to put my most favorite ones in there and also tangle on the pages next to them. Perhaps I will bring it to display “possibilities” when conducting Zentangle 101 classes. Maybe it will inspire people to dive in and continue to tangle after their classes.

    Cathy Helmuth CZT on

  • Recently I found dollar store 4” square plexiglass magnet frames that are holding my current favorites on my refrigerator. I also have created long strands of beading wire that fill the walls going up my stairs. Mini clothespins hold the tiles. Some are randomly placed and some are arranged by series etc. Also I frame and give them away and the ubiquitous shoebox type storage covers the overflow and less loved 😆

    Betsy B Summerhayes on

  • Thank you for this newsletter. Loved re-reading all the comments. I’ve been a CZT for years and over ten years ago, one of my closest friends who was in her late 80’s at the time, asked me what on earth I do with all my tiles. She just didn’t get the concept. I was taken aback at the time and didn’t know what to say. However now she’s 98 and recently told me she finally gets it after seeing my face light up all these years when I talk about or do Zentangle.. LOL.

    Brenda Shaver CZT 8

    Brenda Shaver on

  • I have two of the Zentangle Mobiles hanging from the light fixture in my studio, one giant frame on the wall strung with wire, a smaller one on another wall, ribbons hanging from all my cabinet doors, and some in photo books. If I really like them I might frame and sell them at the gallery. If I am practicing, or want to take notes, I draw a tile in a multi-media notebook for reference. Some are just in a box waiting for a decision.

    Clara Brunk on

  • I’ve been tangling for a LONG time. I am CZT15. My favorite thing is to put a little note on the back of my tile saying “this Zentangle is for you…enjoy”. I don’t sign the back. Then I leave them tucked into the stacks at a library, I leave them in waiting rooms in hospitals. I hand them to waiters and waitresses who go above and beyond. I put them in the pew or chairs at church. Drop off a thank you for the church secretary. Drop them into get-well cards. I tuck them suitcases of guests who visit.

    Ginny on

  • I truly love and admire all of my tiles! I once asked a dear friend which tile of mine he liked the best and he smartly replied that he was unable to choose because that would be like picking which child was the prettiest!! I loved that answer and he was right… they are each beautiful in their own way.

    Linda Hunter CZT 31 on

  • Ah yes – what to do w the tiles! Mine have gone to people at the hospital, nursing homes in cards, sketchbooks, hanging mobile, frames, binders and coasters for the table. With gratitude!

    MaryEllen Ziegler on

  • Wow! Some great ideas here. I made a few small books from cardstock where i place my best tiles. Bijous are in a binder in plastic sleeves. Sometimes i leave them in restaurants for the server. But mostly i make cards and bookmarks to send to my friends and family. Sadly most people communicate through text and emails these days and not so much through snail mail. Because I find it exciting to find something special in the mailbox just for me, I try to pass that forward to others.

    Blythe Nicassio on

  • I was just looking through the 200+ tiles from the past three years. I really need to start displaying some. I have the little mobile, so that will be a starting point. I also recently found some 4×4″ frames.

    Kendra Page on

  • I have small storage boxes for my tiles that are organized by date. And I also send tiles to my pen pals.

    Jackie on

  • I keep most of my tiles in a special map. I also have one for bijous. I don’t have as much as Ella Rieger, I only have 1% of her collection. Somtimes I give a tile away on a special occassion.

    My seminar tiles I keep in the special journal we got, together with photographs and a handwritten summary of the Seminar notes. The journal is still growing.

    Mariska Zevenbergen CZT on

  • I am the least consistent person I know in some areas and this is one of them. I have some in albums under plastic, I have some in frames, and some just out on display. I’ve left them in shops, restaurants, and other random places and my favorite thing to do is give them away. When I focus step one on someone, perhaps someone who’s celebrating something, I will sometimes send them the tile. It is for sure about the journey!

    Brenda Campbell, CZT 29 on

  • They are all treasures and I love leaving them in public places like the library, city bus, store fronts downtown. I get so much from creating tiles that I feel that I don’t need to keep them, although some are hard to say goodbye to. Our world could use a smile from time to time.

    Kathy Y. on

  • A few years ago I purchased one of the Zentangle mobile holders. I interchange the tiles hanging off the mobile on a weekly basis and put the old tiles in a Zentangle decorated box or into one of 3 storage books I purchased (one of them from Zentangle). I look at the old tiles for reference and ideas when working on a new tile. I also took some of the designs and made them into Christmas tree ornaments and a garland (1/2 tangles folded in a triangle and 1/2 beads then strung on a string) that I save and use every year on my Christmas Tree. I LOVE doing Zentangle. It was created just for me, I swear.

    Dianne Riva Cambrin on

  • I tell people I tangle everything that doesn’t move! Gourds, plates, mugs, gift boxes, wrapping paper, bookmarks, etc. But I don’t keep any of them. I give everything away. I always make all of my own cards for every occasion and my friends and family enjoy and now expect them. For a few years I have been punching a hole in one of the corners of a tangled 3 1/2 × 3 1/2 tile and slip a ribbon or twine through it, then knot the end about 3 inches from the tile. I call them door knob cards. I started doing that years ago because a friend wanted a way to display them, and now so many of my friends keep them hanging around the house. That makes me happy!

    Ruth Osborn, CZT 36 on

  • I have one binder that I keep tiles in and show as examples when people ask but they rotate in and out. Those that come out are usually given away as “art abandonment” with “Learn to tangle at” written on the back. I like to think that some of the bookmarks, coasters and tiles I’ve abandoned will catch the fancy of the finder and start them on a lifelong journey and love of Zentangle. I normally live in a small motorhome with almost no wall space so storing or displaying quantities of art doesn’t work for me. I miss some of the ones I’ve created (though I have digital photos of most) but I do love setting them free!

    Holly C on

  • When my first grandbaby was born, I purchased a Skylight Frame. This inspired me to purchase another frame to display my tiles. I did not want to buy/use the plastic sleeves nor the binders in which to store them. Although the physical tile is grand to hold and really appreciate, I love glancing at the frame and remembering the time the tile was created. I also have a travel tin of supplies to tangle when waiting at the GP’s or at a restaurant as my husband eats so slow. I then give the tile to my NP as well as the server and they love them!

    Beth Lovelle on

  • I started tangling in 2017 and haven’t stopped. Won a journal size sketch book in a monthly library class & started putting my tiles in it with mounting squares or just tangling in it. Have framed some larger Zendalas. Was gifted a Mobile from your shop and now have it hanging in dining room with the Translucen-Z tiles from project pack. Also have some in photo binders. I too give as cards, or they are the card and also use Bijou for making gift tags & I tangle on other crafting projects. I carry tiles & pens/pencils, tortillon when on the go.

    Johnifer on

  • I have framed a few of my tangles, some are in albums, some are in boxes and many have been given as gifts. Zentangle has brought me peace in some of the dark times in life. Occasionally I go back and look at some of the finished tiles, it’s a great way to have a quick refresher of patterns you might not have used for a while.

    Donna Stanchfield on

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