Creating New Zendala / Mandala Strings from Coloring Pages

Make Unique Mandala Templates From just ONE Coloring pageAre you looking for new ways to make mandala templates? Tonight’s Zentangle mandala experiment was prompted by all of the wonderful complex mandalas for coloring that I’ve been finding on Pinterest.  It occurred to me that it would be fun to try and deconstruct some to simplify for using as a Zentangle mandala string and offer up a quick tutorial.

This process is remarkably similar to working with a paper snowflake mandalas, in that you get to remove or add lines as you see fit to make unique, new mandala frameworks and strings, with endless possibilities.   It also makes use of the traced graphite technique to transfer an image from one piece of paper to another.

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So step by step, here’s what I did…

start with a mandala coloring image

Start with a mandala coloring picture. This one feels a bit too complicated to use as a Zentangle mandala string so I will trace it and then simplify it a bit,  perhaps changing some elements altogether….

Next overlay a sheet of paper and trace the mandala with a pencil:
Tutorial to alter a coloring page mandala by overlaying a sheet of paper and traced the mandala with a pencil

Here I started to erase some lines and modify others.  My goal with this mandala was to simplify it enough to make more room for adding tangles.  If you were doing this to just create a new mandala design that you might color and not tangle, then you might actually add new lines:
Time to erase some of the lines

I ended up with this as my first pass.  You’ll see here that I erased quite a few lines:
Modified tracing

Then I traced over the modified tracing a couple more times and made different modifications, such as changing the little arcs to full circles.  I ended up with these three different templates. I could have easily made so many more variations, but I needed sleep (and to get back to packing!):
3 different modified tracings

I chose one of the tracings, darkened the pencil lines some more to build up the graphite and then flipped the paper over – pencil side down and taped it onto my journal page with painters tape.
Tracing taped into journal

Using a ball point pen, I traced over the lines from the back with pressure to transfer the graphite onto the page:
Using a ball point pen, I traced over the lines with pressure to transfer the graphite onto the page

The transferred tracing revealed a mirror image of the mandala framework.  I then filled in line connections that didn’t transfer well.:
The transferred tracing revealed
Here’s the finished mandala, tangled in my taupe colored journal page, with black and brown Micron pens, pencil shading and white gel pen touches for highlights:
Finished mandala tangled in taupe colored journal page, with black and brown Micron pens, pencil shading and white gel pen touches for highlights, (c)2015, Sadelle Wiltshire, CZTCloseup of Zendala from modified coloring mandala design, (c) 2015, Sadelle Wiltshire,

St. Patty’s Day update  3/17/15: Last week on the 100Mandalas project we were given a Celtic knot work mandala prompt.  I thought I would use this same template to create a knot work mandala –  I will do another one with a tutorial in coming weeks, but for now wanted to show you what else can be done with this technique.  I further simplified one of Celtic Zentangle-inspired mandala created using a modified template and then interlaced, © 2015, by Sadelle Wiltshirethe mandala strings I created, then I made sure no more than two lines crossed at any one point and proceeded to turn this into a very simple interwoven knot piece. (ala the knotwork method Patrick Gallagher shows here).   Can you see the similarity in basic shapes between this one and the mandala above?

The colors in my phot0 are a bit off and the metallic penwork doesn’t show very well, but here it is…


With the thousands of available, complex mandala coloring templates you can find online, you won’t run out of new ideas for zendala strings ever! Below is a link to my Pinterest board where I’ve collected a few..   A good jumping off point. Follow the board as I will be adding more!


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9 Responses to Creating New Zendala / Mandala Strings from Coloring Pages

  1. Karen Izzi says:

    Hi lovies!!! Hope you’re having a great 2015 so far!! Please add me to your mailing list…. Miss you

  2. Beautiful Zendala. Thanks for sharing your technique!

  3. great use of easy to get materials, LOVE it ! 🙂

  4. I love this! What a great post!

  5. Carol says:

    Thanks for this tutorial! Photos and explanation are easy to follow – and love that there are so many options. Must admit that as I started to read your post and saw the first picture of the mandala you were going to use, I thought “meh, not crazy about that design” . . . but by the end I was, like “Whoa!” Great job!

    • Sadelle says:

      Thanks, Carol! I really appreciate the feedback! And actually, yes, I deliberately chose a mandala template that I felt “needed work” just to see what I could do with it. I was really pleased with the variations I came up with, but more so, the end results. I’m going to do update this post today and show a Celtic knot work mandala I created using the same template as a base framework. 🙂

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