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Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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How to make beautiful ZIA travertine coasters, a tutorial by Cyndi Knapp

cyndi-knapp-zia-coaster-using-5D-as-a-stringWelcome back to this “special edition” of this week’s Zentangle® inspiration.

Today Canadian tangler Cyndi Knapp shares her steps for making beautiful Zentangle-inspired tangled coasters. She writes, “Tangled coasters make great gifts…perfect with Christmas coming up!

In this wonderful example Cyndi used yesterday’s 5D tangle as a string to fill with other tangles.

Here is Cyndi’s list of supplies and her steps and for making ZIA coasters.


  1. a Travertine stone tile (3.7 x 3.7 inch/9.4 x 9.4 cm) – available from Amazon, and from home improvement stores such as Home Depot (see Cyndi’s tip below)
  2. normal Zentangle drawing supplies – Sakura Micron pen, graphite and white charcoal pencils, tortillions
  3. spray can of matte varnish, eg. Krylon Spray Varnish
  4. sheet of self adhesive cork (if the tiles are not already cork-backed)


  1. Wipe off the tile to get rid of any powder residue.
  2. Tangle as normal, albeit a little awkward on a Travertine tile. (See tips below.)
  3. Spray with varnish and let the tile dry.
  4. Repeat Step 3 two to three times – when you feel the tile is thoroughly protected.
  5. Cut a piece of cork to fit the tile, peel off backing and attach to the back of the tile.


A box of nine 4″ x 4″ ivory Travertine (tumbled marble) wall tiles was under $10 Cdn at Home Depot. Not sure if they carry them now but other stores do. These tiles vary in character. While a little character is nice, some tiles may have too much character to tangle on. If possible, buy 2-3 boxes, pick out the best 9 tiles for tangling on and return the rest.

Ink may not dry immediately – strategically tangle and give solidly filled areas extra drying time before continuing to tangle.

Varnish may wear with use/time – spray again if/when needed.

Repurposing Travertine Tiles 

A number of years ago, I made Travertine coasters by stamping images on the tiles with permanent ink. But being outside summer after summer, they faded. I hated how they looked but hated to throw them out.  

I wanted to try tangling on Travertine but didn’t want to waste a new tile if it didn’t work, so I got out a piece of medium course sand paper and used a little elbow grease on the faded tiles.  Voilà … 95% of the remaining ink and Varathene came off and they were ready to tangle on!  


And there you have it. Another project to add to your list of ZIA ideas to create beautiful handmade gifts for friends and loved ones, or for your own self.

Many thanks for sharing your tutorial, Cyndi!

Check out the tag cyndik for Cyndi’s tangles on

PS – Got a tutorial you’d like to share? I’m all ears, send me an email!

Related Links

  1. Looking for tangles by Artist or Type? For details visit the ABOUT > HOW TO FIND TANGLES BY ARTIST OR TYPE page on the top menu bar of any page on the site.
  2. What is a Zentangle? — if you are new to the Zentangle Method, start here for the fundamentals.
  3. Zentangle terminology — a glossary of terms used in this art form.
  4. How to use the site — an excellent free video tutorial showing how to use the site as well as pointing out lots of useful features you might have missed.
  5. Linda's List of Zentangle-Original Patterns — here is the complete list of original tangles (aka "official tangles") created and introduced by founders Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, including those not published online. If you are new to the Zentangle Method I highly recommend learning a few of the published Zentangle classics first.
  6. "A Zentangle has no up or down and is not a picture of something, so you have no worries about whether you can draw a hand, or a duck. You always succeed in creating a Zentangle." Thus patterns that are drawings of a recognizable naturalistic or actual object, figure, or scene, are not tangles. A pattern is not always a tangle — here's what makes a tangle. TIP: tangles never start with pencil planning.
  7. How to submit your pattern deconstruction to TanglePatterns
  8. For lots of great FREE tutorials on TanglePatterns, click on the TUTORIALS link in the pink alphabetic menu bar below the tangle images at the top of any page.
  9. Strings! Have we got STRINGS! Click on the STRINGS link in the pink alphabetic menu bar below the tangle images at the top of any page for 250 different (free) Zentangle-starters. More than enough for any lifetime!
  10. Never miss a tangle! FREE eMAIL NEWSLETTER - visit the SUBSCRIBE page on the top menu bar of any page on the site and sign up to get notices delivered free to your inbox.


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2 comments to How to make beautiful ZIA travertine coasters, a tutorial by Cyndi Knapp

  • Lianne

    Love your coasters Cyndi. Thanks for sharing your instructions with us. Thank you Linda for adding this tutorial to your site

  • Jenn Brayton CZT36

    This is EXACTLY what I was trying to find! A straightforward tile project using the classic Zentangle tools <3 And the tiles are easy enough to get even in rural Ontario 🙂 Great tutorial!!

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