Saturday, December 8, 2012

Zendala Dare #35 - Where's my template?

Whew!  What...a...week!  I know I say that every week is a busy week, and while that is a truthful statement, this week has been a killer.  I have worked an ambulance shift every day for the last 9 days and today is the final day.   I love my job but am through with this hellish week.  Tomorrow I will rest, watch movies, go to the boat lighting in Petaluma, hang with family, and then head to a friends house for a little holiday cheer.  And yes, I can't wait!

I know what you are thinking, "Why do you do this to yourself?"  Well, there's a couple reasons.  A)  I like to pack my days together to maximize my overtime and allow for longer stretches of days off.  B)  I need to make all the money I can before starting nursing school next month.  C)  Two months ago my husband was laid off and I was forced to make a sudden and not so pleasant change to my work schedule.   Luckily, we got word this week that he has secured a new job!  It's been a rough two months but I keep reminding myself that the challenges we faced were not only brief, but are also minimal compared to what many others are going through.  Sometimes it takes something negative to show you just how much positive you have in your life.

To celebrate the end of my nine day work week and the hubby getting a new job I think we should have an extra special Zendala Dare!

Zendala Dare #35 - Where's my template?

As I explained in last weeks post, I got my dates a little mixed up and forgot to post a Dare with an extra challenge last week so we are going to have one this week, and it's a doozy.

Since starting the Zendala Dare eight months ago the question I get most frequently is "How do you make the templates?"  There are no easy answers because it's a combination of instruments, computers, drafting templates, and handwritten lines.  I know this is frustrating because many of you desire to have the ability to make your own templates on a whim.  I know this because it's feelings like those that led me to start the Dare.  So I wanted to give you an easy way to make your own template.

I first discovered snowflake templates at CZT training last October.  You can read the full story here.  Snowflake templates require very few supplies, are easy to make, and offer infinite possibilities.  I learned this technique from the book Zen Mandalas by Suzanne McNeill, CZT.

Snowflake, the only known
albino gorilla. 

To make a template you will need a piece of computer paper, a pair of scissors, and a pencil.  Let's get started.

Begin by folding the computer paper in half.

Now fold it in half again in the other direction.

Fold the closed edges together so that you form a point.
Then repeat this step one more time.
This is just like the snowflakes we used to make
when we were kids.

You should now have something that looks like this.

Place the tip of your folded paper in the middle of whatever you choose to draw on.  I have used a Zentangle Zendala tile in the 

Cut your paper so that it fits within your tile.  You can make it 
a decorative edge if you like.  Mine has a little bit of a wave.  

Add a few more cuts along the sides and, if you choose, snip
off the tip.

Lets open it up and see what we have!

Do your best to smooth the creases from your snowflake.
Place the snowflake on your tile and trace lightly with a pencil.

Now the fun begins.  If you like, create some smaller spaces
by adding a few additional lines.  I find it easiest to connect points
but be creative and do what feels right.  You can use a ruler or 
french curve but I find it easy to just freehand my lines.

I don't usually outline my entire template at the beginning 
because I think it sometimes stalls my creative flow but
I have outlined it here so you can clearly see the outline of 
the template.

Tangles:  Courant, Paradox, Tink, Hollibaugh, 
Katahdin, AuraKnot

Here is my completed Zendala.  Pretty cool, don't ya think?

Here is the second template I made.

The squareness of this template was achieved by folding
it three times instead of four.

Tangles:  Printempts, Squiggles, Charlie,
Fescu, Weave

I find the finished project intriguing because it looks nothing
like the original template.

A few tips about creating your snowflake mandala:

  • When you make the first cut to get the template to fit on tile, it's probably going to be too big. It's important to open it after this step and check.  I don't know why this happens but nine times out of ten mine is to large.  Don't fret, just use your scissors to cut a little more off until you get it to fit.   These extra cuts have led to some interesting shapes in the end.  
  • Don't worry about symmetry.  Your snowflake may have a few little missteps  and that's ok.  Once you fill it with tangles you won't even notice.  
  • Simpler is better, at least in the beginning.  When you are just getting started, make fewer cuts and you will end up with larger spaces.  You can always create smaller spaces using your pencil  
  • If you decide you like your template and want to reuse it I recommend ironing it.  It will make it easier to use it for multiple tracings or to create a master copy.  

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and I can't wait to see
what everyone come's up with.  
Please remember to link up below.


  1. I love this idea, and fits in beautifully with my advent countdown. I am due to draw and tangle snowflakes today! So I'd better get cracking...

  2. At first I thought....not going to happen...but it did and it was fun! Thank you Erin. Yours are gorgeous Erin!

  3. I need some new scissors. That is the first conclusion I reached trying to get the design ready. Eventually I got some sort of skeleton cut and fabricated my usual twirls and swirls to make it doodlable.
    But it was fun (on reflection).
    Thanks again, Erin, for taking the trouble to feed us with such great projects when you are so busy.
    I love what you've done with your own design.

  4. PS I don't think my link was published. I'll try again.

  5. WOW!! Thanks so much for showing us how to do this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm going to consider it my first Christmas gift!! :)

  6. Great tutorial, Erin and fun dare!

  7. Nice challenge. Definitely took me out of my comfort zone and I definitely like the templates. I used your fold which was a little different from the way I remember making snowflakes as a kid. Hard part was deciding what to use.

  8. This was so much fun. Of course, I didn't pay attention to your advice on the first one and it was a mess, but I really like the second. Thanks for a fun challenge and an idea for a new technique. Always love learning new things.

  9. Check out this video by the wonderful Vi Hart for more shapes you can do with paper snowflakes...



The Bright Owl All rights reserved © 2012

I am a HowJoyful Design by Joy Kelley