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What is Zentangle?
Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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Guest Contributor: Sandra Strait’s String Templates

Linda’s Introduction: This is the second “Guest Contributor” post on tanglepatterns. You may know Sandra from her patterns on this site (tagged sandras), and from her many contributions on flickr where she is known as Molossus. In Sandra’s first post (yes, there will be more!) she shares her great idea for String Templates. Check out more of Sandra’s art on her blog,

I’ve been tired lately, for various reasons, and when I sit down to tangle I often go blank. None of my usual string methods seems to get me going, so I came up with a new one. Quite simply, I made string templates. I drew 12 squares on a piece of paper, and broke them up into vaguely geometrical string sections.

Now, when I can’t decide how to get started, I pull out my template sheet and choose one of the squares to use as my string. I don’t feel bound to follow them exactly.

Sandra Strait's String Templates

If you will note in the example below, Kitty Quilt, I used Square 10 with wavy lines instead of straight.

"Kitty Quilt" by Sandra Strait

“Kitty Quilt” by Sandra Strait, using String Template Square #10. Copyright the artist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Used with permission.

I like using Square 4, as in Landscape with Two Moons below, because you can keep repeating the pattern — draw a square, halve it — in different sections, giving an entirely different look to each zentangle-inspired drawing.

"Landscape With Two Moons" by Sandra Strait

“Landscape With Two Moons” by Sandra Strait, using String Template Square #4. Copyright the artist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Used with permission.

The main idea here is to have a template. You can use mine [*see  below], or draw your own. And because zentanglers are such a generous group, I think it would be fun to share templates. Then none of us would ever run out of string ideas!

*  *  *

Free Template Download

* For a full size download of Sandra’s String Square Template shown above, visit the tab at the top of the page: TIPS & TOOLS > STRING IDEAS > STRING TEMPLATES.

More String Ideas

And be sure to check out the page: TIPS & TOOLS > STRING IDEAS for even more string ideas.


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9 comments to Guest Contributor: Sandra Strait’s String Templates

  • Deb

    Love these string patterns! I’ve been going about it all wrong by not using strings at all or by using strings with too many small pieces and too much asymmetry. I haven’t been getting the results I see here and in the flickr groups and this is partly the reason. Thanks for sharing!

  • What a great idea. Thanks for posting this one.

  • Thanks for hosting my tip, Linda. I can’t wait to see what other templates people come up with. Using another person’s templates will stir the creative juices even more!

    • Linda Farmer

      Thanks, Sandra. Judging by the comments left here (and on the other two pages about strings) our Gentle Readers are finding this very helpful.

      Another related point to make here is that the main outer border doesn’t have to be a square shape either. Circles, ovals, triangles, diamonds, and any other geometric and freeform shapes can also be the main “container” for Zentangles.

      However the string template dividing lines within can be applied to any of those shapes.

  • Jrat

    As a quilter I especially like your use of quilt block patterns as strings.

  • beeblecat

    Thanks Sandra. I’m new to zentangle and this helps a lot. Love the kitty quilt.

  • Susan Sauls

    I bought some small unfinished wooden shapes online and at the craft store. I have traced those into my sketchbooks and tangled inside the shapes. Sometimes I’ve drawn additional strings inside the shapes, and other times I’ve done one tangle pattern to fill the shape. I’ve used an apple, a pear, a heart, a mug, a tree, etc.

  • Bev Sprague

    What size are these completed tangles? They look much longer than the regular 3 1/2 tiles. Are they two tiles put together?

    Thank you


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