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But, What Do You Do With Your Tiles?

But, What Do You Do With Your Tiles?

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?

Let us know in the comments below and we will randomly choose someone to receive a prize!

Rick Roberts


  • I cut 2-1/4 × 5 inch pieces and once tangled, laminate them for bookmarks. You could punch a hole at the top for a ribbon if desired. I give them away and put them in greeting cards or thank you cards, birthday. Etc.

    JOan on

  • As a crafter, I love how tangles can be adapted to other forms of crafts. A pattern I do on a tile one day may end up on a painted mug the next, or being scanned and printed onto iron-on transfer paper to go onto a tote bag. Tiles themselves can make great 3-D projects like some of Maria’s ornaments, or small boxes. They would also make amazing inclusions in an art journal, or even make nice covers for a small pocket journal.

    Judith Adams on

  • I started bringing my tiles and zentangle pada to work. One of my coworkers encourages me, and I have a few tile holders displaying current tiles and some are under the glass top of .my desk. Others i gove away as RAOA’s,( random acts of artness) with an uplifting line or two on the back. Thanks for a wonderful year of project packs. HNY

    Judy Morgan on

  • I thought I was different, affixing them to the front of a card! People LOVE them!

    Carol Daniell on

  • A wonderful story as well as great ideas for use of the tangles I create. I had already thought of converting some to machine or hand embroidery designs. But: Christmas ornaments, bookmarkers, greeting cards, etc. what a collection of ideas. Thank you


    Deborah Davis on

  • I display my tiles all over my home, mostly in my art studio using a variety of things to place them in or on. I frame some tiles, use the blue sticky tack to put tiles up on my cabinets, some are in square plastic frames with magnets on the back to place on the fridge, others are in albums and a lot are lying around in my art studio on the counter, in drawers and all over the place either finished or unfinished. I have completed so many tiles, I don’t even know how many! My twins and husband tangle too so there are tiles from them scattered about as well. I love when people come to my studio and exclaim at all the tiles all over the place, I can’t remember a time when my art meant so much to me because when I tangle I feel so great! I enjoy coming up with my own projects and style usually using glitter or sparkle, which has become my signature style on the Zentangle Mosaic App! Zentangle is always in style and I am grateful that I learned this art form in 2013 and became a CZT in 2014!

    Dolly Bolen on

  • I haven’t done anything special with my zentangles as I have just begun the process. As a cancer patient I think I will put together small zentangle kits and take them to the hospital when I go to pass out to cancer patients. Our chemo sessions take about 3 hours. What a wonderful way to pass the time and create something beautiful.

    Carolyn Brown on

  • I stick my tiles on Post it display boards hung on my bedroom wall. They have a sticky surface so I can adjust the placement if I want to. I love walking into the room or waking up in the morning and seeing all the tiles. It fills me with such joy!

    Lynn Fine on

  • I am so glad I attended Rick & Maria’s lecture at the National Museum of American Illustration (?) in Newport, RI in August of 2018! I had heard of it, but was unsure if I wanted to take a class. When I saw Maria tangle as Rick explained how it came into being, I was hooked! I tangle every day, on any surface I find at hand; tiles, sketch pads, drawing paper, envelopes, paper plates, napkins, whatever. Finished designs may get framed, displayed, given as gifts, or placed in notebooks or albums. I include tiles in every greeting card I send. I love to share, but I photograph every piece before parting with them. I just bought a couple old reference books at the thrift store with the idea of either tangling directly on the pages, or using them to mount my tiles. I’m exploring other options for using tangles in mixed media. Zentangle has given me an outlet for my artistic soul, provided solace in grieving the loss of my husband, led me to find so many new friends, and it brings me joy! Thank you, Rick and Maria, for this lovely gift that has become a passion!

    Jessica L Dykes on

  • What do I do with them? WHATEVER I WANT hahaha. In seriousness, that used to be giving them away, but at the moment I am saving up a little collection as teaching aid. I love the Zentangle Mosaic app for giving me an easy way to go over them in one place…that way I don’t need to hold on to the physical copies. At some point I would like to chop a few up and use them “out of context” as part of a bigger mixed media painting.

    Jessica Trantham on

  • I tangle on blank postcards and send them to friends. I have several albums full of Zentangle tiles. I have a string of 20 fairy lights with little clothespins that I use to highlight and display 20 selected tiles. I hang them on the bamboo blinds on my terrace. I tangle with chalk markers on my windows and mirrors. I give away tiles to friends who have admired them all the time. I use Zentangle tiles as bookmarks. Sooo many things to do with them …

    Kathrein on

  • I LOVE to tangle – Every scrap of paper I have around the house has a piece of Zentangle on it. I look at something like the square air conditioner cover up on the ceiling and see a tangle with shading – or a metal screw. I take a picture of it to remember later. My whole word is tangling. wish I lived closer to ya’ll. I’d go to all your classes.

    Nark Royer on

  • I go out to eat a lot and since I am single and eat out alone, I usually sit at the bar and eat and have a glass of wine. I carry a small pencil purse and usually have a few empty tiles (I purchased 100 coasters online at Amazon) and I sit and Zentangle. When someone likes what I have drawn, I put my initials on the back and the date and hand it to them. The smiles it brings to everyone is priceless. I’m also going to laminate some and give them to people for gifts in a set. Thank you for this wonderful gift you have given us. Debi

    Debi on

  • Loved this story. I like to do something a bit unusual with mine. I scan mine into the computer, then upload them into my Kaleidoscope Creator Software. They make beautiful kaleidoscopic (or mandala) images. I then import the images into my embroidery software so I can stitch them out. Lots of fun that makes me smile too!

    Anita Landice on

  • Random Acts of Zentangle, of course!! Or write a message of kindness on it and participate in the Random Note Project. (Check it out.) It introduces new people to this beautiful art form.

    Vicki Bassett CZT on

  • I am currently looking into a way to make them into coasters. I think I am going to laminate them and insert them into something. Still working out the details. :) Most of the time I draw onto bigger paper and make cards with my tangles to give away.

    Melisa Creemer on

  • Here is a list what I do with my tiles:

    Besides the usual, as; pictures on the wall, in photo albums or books, as gifts for friends and families, I also collage them onto tins or containers of every shape and size as well as; onto canning jars that I fill with granola mixes, or cookie mixes, or onto cups and saucers, or cooking ware, and anything that isn’t or is nailed down. etc. Plus, I put them onto clothing as fixed (or unfixed) attachments, or turn them into little gift boxes or gift bags putting other tiles inside or with other gifts. These I call my treasure boxes. Tiles are also, great made into table clothes, napkins, or placemats. The ideas are endless, just be creative and try anything.

    Cheryl J. on

  • I store mine in an album and rotate favorites on a mini easel. But as I’m sitting here reading all these lovely posts at my antique desk with a glass top, I’ve decided to start a new display on my desk under the glass. Thanks for all the inspiring ideas!

    Jeanne on

  • I have a little miniature clothesline with 8 little black clothes pins and I pin it up like a garland with tiles hanging from the clothespins, a change the tiles periodically, like a gallery. Rearrange the clothesline configuration, horizontal or vertical? It keeps on changing and evolving. If I buy enough string/pins I could probably hang all my tiles at once, but then I’d probably be all wound up somewhere in there, like a big spider web.

    Angelina Huard on

  • What a neat letter! I love the comparison of the tiles with the journey, that was really special. I too keep mine in album with plastic sleeves, but before adding them into the album, I journal on the back, write a comment or something I did that day. I told my son the journals will be his, so I write little things for him to read one day when the journals go to him. Great article!

    ENI OKEN on

  • I am not quite a hoArden, but getting rid of things is a problem for me. I have completed tiles in folders, in boxes waiting to go in folders. I have tiles tucked in drawers, stuck in the sides of frames and mirrors, and framed themselves. I have them in every purse I’ve ever carried. I have them in books keeping place of something I want to remember. I have them hanging on the ‘fridge, and on the ‘fridge of every family member and friend I have. And I have them on every flat surface, or surface flat enough so they don’t slide off, in our house. And, yup, they make me smile, too!!

    Betsey Youngs on

  • A welcome trend that has been developing in the Zentangle classes around Pittsburgh is the inclusion of challenged students who attend with their aides. I enjoy four such individuals in the classes I teach at St. Clair Township Library. Sometimes my students love the patterns featured and a “Ta-Da” has been heard when someone catches on before most of the others. Everyone is as joyful and proud of the student as the they are of themselves! I sometimes give one

    of my example tiles as a small memento of the occasion.

    Mary D'Angelo on

  • I have a lovely hardcover book and I use “photo corners” to hold my tiles in place – two per page.
    I also date the tiles on the back and sometimes I go through them and look at the dates because I can see my emotions during a particular time period, reflected in my tiles.
    I have really enjoyed reading what others do with theirs, and have taken inspiration from a lot of their ideas – thank you for sharing!

    Heather Moffatt on

  • I have some in my little black zentangle box, others displayed around the house, and some displayed at school in my classroom. I have given them away to friends, and also left some as Raz, random acts of zentangle.

    Kate Ahrens on

  • I tried a new tangle (new to me), cat-kin, on a grey tile for practice as a border. In the middle, I wrote “thanks”. I liked it so much, I wrote a note on the back of the tile, stuck it in an envelope and gave it to my neighbor who showed me some kindness.

    Blythe on

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