Adding @Zentangle to Your Bullet Journals #Arts #Crafts

zentangleI’m a sucker for anything creative and was instantly attracted to the recent blog series posted by Suzie Speaks about Bullet Journals. If you missed these posts then take a look HERE. I haven’t gone to the artistic extremes that Suzie has, but I did dabble with my notebook, pens, and washi tape over the weekend!
Enjoying a creative time out reminded me of a blog post I wrote back in 2013 when I took part in my year-long resolution challenge.
As part of my ‘Do Something Creative’ month I had a doodle fest, using the American Zentangle method which is a creative art form where all you need is paper, pencil and a pen. I thought this format would be a perfect accompaniment to any bullet journal so here’s that post again.
Don’t panic if you can’t draw or paint, if you’ve never used acrylics or pastels or if you think a canvas is something you sleep under – which of course it is but that’s for another blog post!
A couple of years ago I discovered this creative art form which is not only simple to do, but also therapeutic and meditative (huge tick in the box for my holistic alter ego).
Cast your mind back to your school days for a moment. Did you cover your school books in little doodles? Spider webs drawn across your maths book or eyes, bubbles, and snakes sketched on the homework diary, and, of course, the occasional love heart – complete with initials – on your French text book.
We all ‘doodle’, whether it’s on school books, drawing a moustache on Simon Cowell’s picture in a magazine or on the gas bill as you wait in the phone queue “You are TENTH in line, your call is important to us…” doodle, doodle, doodle and oops your love hearts have horns and breathe fire!
zen alison from old hall craftsI’m a regular visitor to the Hobby Craft Exhibition at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham and it was there I met the inspirational Alison Thompson from Old Hall Crafts. I pop along to say hello to Alison at every show and she loves to see returning customers and their creations.
She was the woman responsible for my addiction to Zentangling. Of course this particular addiction has helped me to become better at meditation and calm any anxieties that crop up day to day so I genuinely thank her for bringing this into my life.
Q.  So what is Zentangle?

Zentangle was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. Maria was working on background patterns for a manuscript and mentioned to Rick what a feel-good experience it was and how she was able to focus without thought or worry as she worked. Rick realised she was describing the feeling you achieve during meditation. They put their heads together and hey presto!

Don’t worry if you can’t even draw a straight line, this could be the creative pursuit for you.  There is no right or wrong way. In fact, if you did ‘go wrong’ then chances are you’ve just invented a new ‘tangle’ pattern.
There are some wonderful videos on YouTube to help you create fantastic patterns or for inspiration.
I would recommend logging on to the Zentangle website for top tips and amazing designs and ideas, Rick and Maria’s blog is a wonderful read and you can also subscribe to their newsletter and be kept up to date on Zentangle news and events.
Q Why do it?
zen examples 2You may wonder why I bother spending time zentangling but I can say it has helped me on many occasions.

Insomnia – We’ve all had sleepless night for one reason or another.  Having a blank notepad and pen by the bed means I can tangle for a while, calming my thoughts and drift easily back to sleep.
Sausage & Mash moments – The ladies on my meditation classes understood all about my sausage and mash moments. You are drifting into a meditative state, concentrating on your breathing then – wham! – ‘did I put the cat out?’, ‘have I locked the back door?’, ‘shall we have sausage and mash for tea?’
Zentangling helps you to concentrate on being in the moment and allows you to leave your sausage and mash moments for later – reducing stress and anxiety and improving your focus.

You don’t have to keep your new found creative talents to yourself either. Frame a tangle, make cards or book marks. You can even tangle on furniture, MDF letters and fabric to enjoy at home.
Q How do I Start?
As I mentioned earlier, Tangles can be drawn on anything, but traditional tangles are drawn on ’tiles’.  (3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ smooth art paper square).
·    Draw a dot in each corner with a pencil
·    Join the dots, don’t worry if your line is wobbly, it adds to the uniqueness.
·    Draw a zigzag, a loop or a swirl across the centre (see the picture)
·    Using a pen (Micron are recommended) draw tangle patterns in each section.
Zen how do i startThere are many books available as well as the online resources to find tangle patterns but look around you, at your wallpaper, the pattern on your socks even the tread on your trainers, they all make perfect tangle patterns to use on your art.
Why not give it a go and let me know how you get on, I would love to see your creations so please either tag me in your blog post showcasing your crafty creations, or share them on my Facebook page. You could also check out my ‘Tasty Tangles’ board on Pinterest for some inspiration.
Finally I would like to express my thanks to Rick and Maria for giving me permission to share their wonderful creation with my blog readers. Please do stop by their site and say hello.

zen logoNB:  “Zentangle”, the red square, and “Anything is possible, one stroke at a time” are registered trade-marks of Zentangle, Inc.

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me on Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook page


  1. That looks like a lot of fun. I wish people would stop going on about decorating bullet journals, though. It completely misses the point and distracts people who really need something to put a bit of order in their lives. It can waste their time and make them feel inadequate, if they feel they have to decorate in order for it to be a proper bullet journal. If decorating is an outlet for someone’s creativity, wonderful. If not, they shouldn’t feel pressurised to decorate.

    1. Oh, I’m so glad you said that, April. My bullet journal has zero decoration! It’s practical, plain, and I love it! The zentangling is great for enjoying a creative afternoon when it’s wet and windy outside.

    2. I get your point April, I’m no artist and just follow a couple of bullet journaling sites for inspiration (and occasional envy!) but I know I’ll never have the talent to reach the levels of creativity that some do but I don’t let that bother me unduly. However, they have encouraged me to go back to practising calligraphy again which I find incredibly soothing – bit like zentangling I guess.

      1. I also follow some bullet journalling sites, but I’m bored now. Too many emphasise the decoration at the expense of creating something useful and so many seem to believe that you have to have the ‘correct’ pens, often at a substantial cost, just to get started. I don’t think they, and all their followers, are aware that what they have is a creative hobby and not an effective bullet journal. There’s nothing wrong with having a creative hobby, I think we all need one, but I also think we should understand why we’re doing something, otherwise we won’t get the results we’re expecting.

  2. The bullet journal is a new one on me and it looks like it takes far too much effort. I might have a play with the Zentangle, though.

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