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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


  • 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

  • I take the ones I love and put them on my bathroom mirror. That way I can see them every day.

    Linda Mensching on

  • Maybe ya’all are the normal ones and I am weird. I don’t tangle as often as most of you do, but I have a few tiles completed. At one point, I had started numbering my tiles as well as dating them (on the back). I apparently didn’t keep up with that though, since I do have some un-numbered tiles too. I only keep the ones I like. Those I don’t like, I’ll destroy… I am my own worst critic. I have that wooden treasure box Jan Brandt mentioned. I meant that box to be on my desk with a few blank tiles and my completed tiles in it, so I could look at the finished ones and grab a blank to start another… Inconsistency bites me on a regular basis, so my Zentangle stuff, including the original Zentangle kit – where most of my finished tiles are stashed – is all over the apartment.

    LadyD on

  • When creating lesson plans I select a technique such as auras or a theme based on a couple of patterns featuring the same strokes. Then I go through all of my tiles to pull together examples from my photo albums illustrating similar and different results to show in class. I have a “legacy” binder for each of our children and six grandchildren. I frequently work on a tile as I think about what is going on in their day. I intersperse the tiles with hand written notes of encouragement, things I admire about them, and shared memories. I wish I had started when they were all babies!

    Mary D'Angelo on

  • I use them as “tuck ins” for birthday cards and my penpals.

    Jackie on

  • I keep mine in a binder, in pages similar to the ones shown in your photo. Sometimes I’ll take one out to tuck into a greeting card, use as an example in a class I’m teaching, etc. – in those cases, I always take a photocopy of the original and keep it in the binder pocket so that I can see everything I’ve created even if the original is missing.

    Laurel Storey, CZT 25 on

  • My sister gave me two hanging wire mobiles with clips that are for photos. She said the tiles were too pretty not to be enjoyed. So, I hang my tiles back to back on the mobiles. I now have four mobiles around the house and one in my RV. I change out tiles from time to time and also use several desk top displays. Just got back to tangling a couple months ago and have been unstoppable. Already finished one spinner and a labyrinth inspired by Melinda Barlow, CZT YouTube postings.

    Judy on

  • I create greeting cards with my tiles. I glue them on either a black or colored piece of paper to give them a 1/4" frame and then glue them on plain white cards that I get at Michael’s. Sometimes it is hard to give away one that I really love, but I take a picture of it and send it on. The problem is that people love and expect them now so I have to keep a big supply ready for sending! I do have to keep myself from creating a zentangle with the card in mind, however. That seems to stifle creativity – that feeling of wanting it to be perfect. So I create my tiles as usual, with no goal in mind, and then see if they would make a great card. I also have small frames around the house big enough for a 31/2" tile and I change them out occasionally with a beautiful tile that makes me smile.

    Judy Maurer on

  • I like to paste my tiles into blank books.

    Susan Arnsten-Russell on

  • I have a little cube box with four display panels and a space inside. It is rotates so that each side can be viewed. Every new tile I create is put in a display panel and the one it’s replacing is put inside the box. Some tiles may not be replaced and put inside the box for quite a long time – not until I create one that I like better. Whenever I wish to enclose a note with a gift, or send a message, I choose a tile from inside the box and send that. So far, the box has never become so full that I cannot add to it, but I guess this will happen eventually. I do also have a picture frame that displays 16 favourite tiles which are renewed now and then.
    I have enjoyed hearing what other tangling artists do with their tiles. Best wishes, Nor’dzin (Wales, UK) (blog:

    Nordzin Pamo on

  • I too am asked this question a lot….I mount my tiles in a journal, dated and with details about the tangles, it serves as an inspiration to me and my fellow tanglers. I also have my tiles scattered about the house. I share my tiles with friends on birthdays and special occasions by mounting them on blank card stock. So many things one can do with these little pieces of art, they bring me joy just looking at them.

    Deborah Murdough on

  • I keep them in albums and frame some, but get the most joy from giving them away. Any card I give is a plain card with a tile affixed to the front. Five years ago I went in for heart surgery and made a bunch of heart shaped tangles that I gave to every nurse and doctor who cared for me. That did so much to lift my spirts!

    Deb Turnipseed on

  • We have an old paint stripped door to our bathroom and I have been meaning to something with it for years but never got round to it. Then about a year ago I had an ‘aha!’ moment……I got some of my favourite tiles together and made up a collage (?) of them and placed it on the inside of the bathroom door… every time nature calls we have a collection of tiles to look at!😄

    I posted a photo of it on the app a while back…….

    Sarah Fowler (Saffy) on

  • I put them in a notebook and I write details about where I did it, when, what were the circumstances, what inspirated me and so on… I like looking at the pages as time goes by and remind me the feelings I’ve been trough while doing them. ;-) Cat from Belgium, Europe

    Catherine on

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