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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 have found my tribe here! I think the same and can’t tell you how much I value zentangling.

    Dede on

  • I use to keep my tiles in an album. Then I ran out of room. I started to give them away which makes me feel good! Since the pandemic, I have been tangling more than ever. I tangle every day. I have a plastic pencil box that I have filled with what I have been working on during this time. When this box gets filled (like the last one), I will use another box. I also scan each tile so I have them on my computer. I love to go back and see what I have done and see the improvement that I have made.

    Barb B. CZT on

  • Zentangle is new to me this year, but I’ve found a small frame to display my current favorite in the living room. On the back of my tiles I sign my name, write the date – and a small note about what I was doing when I did the drawing – maybe sitting at an outdoor concert or watching a movie with my sweetie in the evening. I write the name of the performance/movie, etc. Sometimes the activity greatly affects the choice of tangles. But, they seem to mount up in stacks around the house – on my desk – on the coffee table – falling out of my sketchbook. I’d planned to put them in a box, but I really like the idea of putting them in binders. Thanks for this really informative blog topic!

    Karen Talboys on

  • I keep any of my tiles in albums, or favorite boxes to take out and look at whenever I want. My favorites I display around the house. I retire then when I have new favorites. I’m working on taking my best ones and framing them for a small art show. I also try and work tangles into my Christmas cards for the year.

    DIane Trew on

  • For me, my finished tiles are like a snapshot of my journey and each one has a story that goes with it. They are in binders, in boxes, on my walls, everywhere in my house and I’ve given many away. I also have a collection of tiles I’ve received from others that remind me of who they are and their Zentangle journey. Tiles tell the story of the Zentangle Method.

    Lynn Mead on

  • I give them as cards for special occasions, in cards as a small thank you gift. Most recently a woman I know has her grandmother in hospice and they can’t go in (Corona Virus -2019) but said gramma loves cards. She asked her friends if they would join her in brightening gramma’s day. I made a special tile for her grandmother and sent it. I wrote a special inscription, signed, and dated on the back. 10-27-2020

    Ann Fuller on

  • I am tangling a box (that might once have been a shoe box) the color of renaissance tiles with paint marker to store my tiles in.

    Jessica M on

  • Mostly, I have them in albums within plastic photo sleeves. Before Covid, when doctors, dentists, hairdressers etc always had magazines to read, I carried a pack of tiles in my bag and always popped a couple of tiles between the pages for people to find……Now I do it at my local Library. I use the Zentangle ‘hanging thingey’ to dangle from my art room ceiling. I have a laminated set hanging from the ceiling outside on our patio, which twists and turns in the breeze…… it was great to see what other Tanglers do too!😁👏👏👏👏

    Sue Zanker on

  • I get the same question and I reply. “What do you do with all the hours you watch tv?”

    I do this for me, as I must create something.

    Brenda DeBock on

  • 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

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