DIY Mandala/Zentangle Wall Art

I am really excited to share this art project with you! You remember the bright color I chose for the front door? Well I wanted some wall art for the dining area that was equally as bright and fresh since the two areas are connected.

I love the latest trends in mandala coloring pages and zentangle art, so I wanted to use that technique for the wall art.  I say this is the latest technique, but I remember in high school (yep, back in the 70’s) when all my notebooks were covered with these types of doodles.  Except I used flourescent makers that glowed under black light.  🙂 We don’t need to go there, but you get the picture. What’s old is new again!

I decided I wanted 5 framed pieces of art to stretch across the enormously blank wall that ran the length of the dining table.  I bought my frames and art supplies online and cut my own mat boards.  I’ll show you how this is done in a later post.

The whole idea behind this technique is to trace a design/pattern in black and then color it.  Who doesn’t like coloring??

First, I cut my paper to the size I wanted – in this case 10 X 14, because I wanted them framed to 16 X 20 with a 3 inch wide mat all round.

Next do a search for “free mandala coloring pages” on Google and you will find thousands of free designs for your personal use.  Pick out the designs you like and print them out on your printer.  If you are printing on the same paper you will use for your artwork, you can skip the next step of tracing your design.  But since I wanted to use an acid free, watercolor paper and because the paper was too large for the printer, I had to trace my designs.

Ideally, using a lightbox to trace your designs is easiest.  But not everyone, myself included, has a light box laying around for this purpose.  So, I used the ghetto lightbox method…just take your art paper along with the page which has the printed design to the patio door on a sunny day.  Place the printed design under the page your are tracing onto and you have a free sun-powered lightbox.

It really does work…


Start tracing the design.  You don’t have to be exact and feel free to add you own flavor to the design. don’t stress iof your tracing isn’t identical to the original – you’re the only one that will know. I used and ultra fine black Sharpie for my tracing.  Be sure to use something that is waterproof or (depending on your choice of coloring materials) you could end up with a big, hot, runny mess.


With the mandala tracing complete, it’s time to add your own touches.  Not necessary, of couse, you can certainly use just the mandala!  Mandalas, by their nature, are circular.  I wanted some variations so after I had traced the circular mandala, I added my own zentangle elements to “un-circulartize” the shape.  In this case I added a three leaf element similar to the ones in the design and a vine.  The whole idea behind zentangle is to just let your pen take you where it will!  So have fun and experiment.

Next step is to color your mandala/zentangle.


I wanted very bright vivid colors so I used Sharpies as my weapon of choice. Again, here is where you can be creative – you might try watercolors, gouache, colored pencils, crayons…whatever!


Now comes the fun part.  Coloring! Pick colors you like in whatever combinations you like.  Blend colors and don’t be afraid to color outside the lines. You don;t have to solidly color the tracing either.  Leave one white elements for visual interest.


Here is where I have blended a pink and a blue on my extension”petal” to make a purple that I loved, but was not native to the Sharpie set.  I also blended some of the greens to give the vine element some depth.


When adding your zentangle elements, try to keep within the same style as the original mandala.  On the one on the left I added chevrons and weaving that was in the original mandala, but I also added other similarly styled elements.  On the one on the right I added some Fleur de lis and enclosed dots and such.


On some of the mandalas I tried to keep a color theme going and on other just mixed it up.


I love the way the look on the wall and they bring that punch of bright color that I wanted.


Total cost for all 5 pictures was less about $100. That was for the frames, glass, mats and shipping.  I had the watercolor paper and Sharpies already on hand. I bought the complete frames from ArtToFrames and bought my mat boards from Dick Blick Art Supplies online. At $20 per picture you can’t go wrong!


Have fun making your own artwork!


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