Sunday, November 3, 2013

Cut-paper stencil mandalas

I've been doing more cut-paper stencil mandalas as a bit of testing for part of a workshop I'm developing. It's amazing how many different results you can get using the same stencil as a template. I show some in the recent book "The Art of Zentangle" - page 118 ;) - from Walter Foster Publishing. Some have referred to this as a 'snowflake' mandala but I'm a bit of a stickler for accuracy and a snowflake has six or twelve points and these generally have four or eight.

I wanted to work on a zendala tile, although in the end this project will be done in a larger size. Here's the stencil I cut:

Below is one of infinite possible outcomes. Perhaps this is an odd thing to say about a zentangle, but I think it's a little busy! Or maybe it needs more solid blacks and fewer mid-tones (grays)?
Tangles: Black Pearlz, Zedbra and elements
of Munchin, Tortuca, and Tripoli

I've mentioned that I enjoy overlapping images. I selected a pre-strung zendala tile with two large squares in the design and traced my template onto it. That gave me two overlaid mandala designs. I used some gray inks here too and I think turned out rather nicely.
Tangles: Black Pearlz, Crescent Moon, Pearlz, Striping,
and elements of Munchin and Tripoli

I decided to try one in color. I laid down a random acrylic wash using red, green and yellow and let it dry. As I worked on it, it started to look like yellow tulips so I developed it in that direction. It took a few tries to get the middle to be something I was happy with. That's a rather crucial part of a mandala!
Tangles: Black Pearlz, Tipple, Wud
plus stripes, spirals, and some grassy stuff.

Here's another in black and white. I can't decide whether I prefer it oriented as a cross or an 'X'. What do you think?
Tangles: Betweed, Caviar, Crescent Moon, and stripes and more


  1. These are gorgeous! I'll have to try some mandalas! I just worry that I'd obsess about getting all of the areas to match. By the way, I see 4 sea lions on the left one! Lovely!

  2. Margaret, I love these! You produce such amazing and interesting work!

  3. Margaret, ... I haven't tried this paper cutout template yet, but it looks like it could be fun ... every piece here is just beautiful ... as to the last one & a preference, they are both so well done that I just could not make a final decision either way ... In all of the pieces that I have seen from you (& that's a lot) I've never seen anything that I would do any other way than the way you did them, they all look perfectly done to me :)

  4. I like your way to prepair a workshop! So beatifull work! I have been quit bizzy? working for the printing mueum in Holland and look forward for more spare time tot tangle or draw.

  5. These are simply amazing. Wonderful work, beautiful execution and eye catching detail. You rock!

  6. the "cross" seems more regal. . . m

  7. Margaret, No matter how YOU start a mandala, the end result is always stunning!

  8. These are just lovely, Margaret. I like the cross because it seems to be more organic, more mandala like. Thanks for sharing :)

  9. Either way would do I think. Remember there are no up, down right or left! Just beautiful art once finished!! Yours certainly is!!!!