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Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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Tangle Refresher 88

Tangle Refresher!I’m calling today “Frugal Friday” because I have a couple of great tips by fellow tanglers to share with you.

And who doesn’t like to find ways to be frugal?


The first tip is how to squeeze a little more life out of your Micron Pens.

Nib of a Sakura Micron 01 Pen

Nib of a Sakura Micron 01 Pen

As you may know, when you’re not using them Microns should always be stored flat (i.e., horizontally, not vertically). This prevents the ink from pooling at the bottom of the pen and creating one nasty and messy surprise when you uncap it.

Also the “nib” is actually a delicate, thin plastic tube that requires a very light touch. If you haven’t seen those tips before, please see this article here on the site.

At CZT Kathy Redmond’s training seminar, Zentangle® co-founder Rick Roberts demonstrated how to perform surgery on a Micron to coax a little more mileage out of it.

As a result of what she learned, Kathy posted a step-by-step tutorial on her blog entitled “Long Live My Sakura Pen!” In it she shows exactly how to take apart the pens and reverse the sponge that stores and delivers the ink. Kathy writes,

Even if you follow all this advice [about how to store and use the Microns], there will come a time when your pen really does run out of ink. You will notice scratchy lines and some skipping – sometimes I like the look, but not always. There is a way to get a little more mileage out of your Sakura pen.

Here’s the link to Kathy’s tutorial. Honestly, I like to be frugal but that’s not an operation I relish undertaking. I’d undoubtedly end up covered in the ink that was left in the pen. Nevertheless I know there are many of you who like to become one with their tools, and now you have the information to have at it!


Tangler Lora Morris alerted me to this video on making your own blending stumps, and she also very thoughtfully provided a downloadable template for your convenience. Many thanks, Lora.

Here’s the video, and here’s Lora’s template.

Lora writes, “If you want to make a thicker Blending Stump, roll one or more pieces together. Getting the angle right takes practice, but you learn pretty quickly what works and what doesn’t.” You can get different effects with different paper stock too.

Please let me know in the comments if these tips were useful for you! And feel free to share your own too.

Oh, and enjoy these tangling gems …

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The Tangle Refresher series, aka Buried Treasure, spotlights hidden tangle gems from the past. It can remind you of tangles you might not have used for a while or introduce you to some you haven’t come across yet.

Here are five more tangle pattern gems and a Tangle Refresher from a year (or two) ago for your tangling pleasure. Remember to check out the “More Good Stuff” links below too. Zenful tangling!

BTW as you visit these tangles please Tweet or “like” them on Facebook so they get shared with a wider audience. Sharing links are on the left side of each pattern’s page. Thanks!

Buried Treasure from a year ago
Zentangle pattern: Xyp XYP
Zentangle pattern: Plates Plates
Zentangle pattern: Nine Patch Nine Patch
Zentangle pattern: Riki Tiki Riki Tiki
Zentangle pattern: Triadz Triadz
Revisit the Tangle Refresher from a year ago Tangle Refresher 60

More good stuff …


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4 comments to Tangle Refresher 88

  • Suzanne

    Just discovered this tip on Micron surgery and I have a couple of 01 pens I’ll experiment with. Thanks, your Refreshers are a bonus with all the extra info!!

  • Mary Helmers

    Linda, when I discovered Zentangle, I dug out a Sakura Micron pen I had used about 10 years before when I was doing a newsletter for a group I belonged to. To my delight, it is an 01, and to my amazement, it still worked! So that, a Dixon #2 (HB) plain old regular school pencil, and some tiles I cut from a book of 140 lb watercolor paper I found at Walmart is what I started tangling with.

    The pen lasted through several tiles, then began to show signs of running out of ink. I had found your site and this tip on Micron Surgery, and tried it. It worked beautifully, and I even stayed clean! The surgery is really easy. Just take it slow and don’t use a lot of force. Treat the nib end very gently, and don’t use any more pressure on the needle nose pliers than is necessary to hold it gently.

    Try it–you’ll like it!

    Happy tangling!

  • Jennifer Hammersley

    I want to unsubscribe please. I can’t find the link on here. I haven’t done zentangle for years as my hands are too arthritic now to hold pens

    • Linda Farmer, CZT

      Hi Jennifer, sorry to hear about your arthritis, unfortunately it’s a widespread affliction. There are devices available to make holding pens and pencils more comfortable so you might like to check those out.
      There’s no record of your email address in the database, perhaps you used another address? In any case, please use your UNSUBSCRIBE links at the bottom of any email newsletter. If you subscribed to all three newsletters (Daily, Comments, Weekly Digest), each one is a separate subscription and must be unsubscribed individually.
      Note: All electronic subscriptions you sign up for, regardless of where they come from, contain the links to UNSUBSCRIBE in every email you receive.
      Best wishes!

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