Old Dog, New Tricks - Using Old Stencils For Zentangled Cards - Finished Card 3

Old Dog, New Tricks – Using Old Stencils For Zentangled Cards

You know the saying. ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks’. I’m not so sure.

If like me you have a stash of stencils and templates that you got donkey’s years ago, and that have sat in the drawer since then, why not have a rummage and see if any would be suitable for Zentangling.

That’s very much what I’ve been doing this weekend.

When I talk about stencils and templates, you’ll probably know the type that I mean. The ones that we all bought for one particular technique that we haven’t really had time to explore much.

On my trawl through my template stash I found a few that I thought would be good for Zentangling designs. Two of them were originally designed for Fancy Folding techniques; Iris Folding to be precise. The other was a general brass stencil.

Here is a quick pic of the templates.

Old Dog, New Tricks - Using Old Stencils For Zentangled Cards - Stencils

I tried a few other decorative stencils but they proved to have areas that were really to small for the technique of Zentangling.

For the first try out I thought that I had better try something simple with basic shapes first so I used the square brass stencil first.

First I traced it out with a 0.5mm Pigma Micron pen and then started work plotting out the centre square around which the basket weave design was going to form.

After I had drawn all of the lines. I used a 4B pencil and a blending stump to give the basket weave design some shading.

The final step was to mat and layer it onto a card and then add some strips of card and a bow to finish the look.

And here it is …

Old Dog, New Tricks - Using Old Stencils For Zentangled Cards - Finished Card 1.1

Old Dog, New Tricks - Using Old Stencils For Zentangled Cards - Finished Card 1So that was the first experiment done.


Next I chose the floral Fancy Folding stencil and traced out the design using the 0.5mm Pigma Micron pen again.

For the central shape this time I used another basic shape stencil to add a hexagon to each petal. I then added the lines for the basket weave style again.

For the smaller areas I used a square basket weave style.

Once more I shaded the basket weave design it with a 4B pencil.

I also used the pricking holes, from the stencil, to make pen dots which I later joined up to form another decorative feature on the card.

I added just one layer between the design and the card this time. I felt that the design had enough to give … except that I did then add a “few” gems to add a little sparkle to the design – tee hee :)

And the result …

Old Dog, New Tricks - Using Old Stencils For Zentangled Cards - Finished Card 2.1

Old Dog, New Tricks - Using Old Stencils For Zentangled Cards - Finished Card 2For the next card I reached for the butterfly Fancy Folding template.

In my mind butterflies are NEVER dull, grey and shaded – they are full of colour and excitement.

After repeating the steps that I used for the earlier cards (tracing and outlining the basket weave design – going back to the square style this time) I reached for my box of colouring pencils.

I coloured each of the ‘strips’ of the basket weave in a different colour, blending from darker shades on the outer edges to lighter tones in the middle of each strip to give it a woven look.

To add a little something to the finished card I also drew in and coloured some strips leading out to the edge of the card – a nice touch I think.

Anyway, see what you think …

Old Dog, New Tricks - Using Old Stencils For Zentangled Cards - Finished Card 3.1

Old Dog, New Tricks - Using Old Stencils For Zentangled Cards - Finished Card 3

Finally, here are the three side by side. By the way, they are all approximately six inches square – forgot to mention sizes earlier.

Old Dog, New Tricks - Using Old Stencils For Zentangled Cards - Finished Cards

So there you have it. Three cards from three stencils that may have otherwise not seen the light of day for a while.

Hmmm, I’m now thinking that I should pop onto e-bay and see if there are any bargain stencils or templates about! Lol. Whoopsie.

Anyway, if you would like to know anything more about Zentangle, and what it is all about, why not visit the Zentangle website or do a google search – there are loads of designs, images and tutorials out there to be discovered.

As ever, please feel free to leave your thoughts, comments and questions at the bottom of this page.

Thank you for reading. Look forward to seeing you next time.

J :)

32 thoughts on “Old Dog, New Tricks – Using Old Stencils For Zentangled Cards

  1. loved the cards John and I have got those stencils and sealife and another, never used them but you have given me inspiration, have always loved to doodle as it used to be called so here I go. xx


  2. Hi John, Have been following your travels through the cogs and wheels of the Inkadinkado sets and so far have not bought any. Reason, craft area in total chaos and bank balance pretty much the same after Christmas:-))
    Have finally found your blog and am amazed at just how much you cover. Thanks for taking the time to demonstrate so well on Create and Craft. Even though the presenters are chatting away you still manage to put in a huge amount of demonstrating. Thanks for that. With some others sadly they get a little overwhelmed by the chat of the presenters but you seem to keep a calm steady pace to your voice and to your work.
    Have just been reading your bit about the stencils and using them for zentangling. Have only just started to play with that and so far have not had much success…..really can’t draw a straight line. Point I wanted to make was if there are any stampers out there that remember the ‘Mandala’ stamps that were all the rage a few years ago…….a lot of them would be great for tangling on.
    Just thought I’d throw that thought into the melting pot for all to see and hopefully it might help someone to find use for stash that’s been hidden away for a while.
    Keep up your great work John, we need demonstrators such as yourself so that we get lots of ideas on how to use things we’ve spent a lot of money on. Thank you once more.


  3. can you tell us where you got the stencils from,as I’ve seen small stencils but not large ones. Love the butterfly card you made.


    • I got these stencils years ago from Create and Craft. I have seen them in various online stores and also on eBay.

      The technique can be done with any stencils really though.

      J :)


  4. Love your amazing zentangling, it’s something I’ve only just started with much less positive results! I need a lot of practicing !


  5. I really want to get into “tangling” and love your ideas Watched Mel on C&C and loved what she did. Need to get my wish list together and get some pens, pencils etc


  6. Wow – love them all! I think my favourite is the floral one with the gems …. it could be done in the recipients favourite colour scheme and would look tremendous whichever colours were used. Just shows that having a rummage through our older stash can bring up some lovely surprises. I think the trick is to have a good play and see what you can come up with …. thanks John for reminding us to go and do just that! I love your work and always enjoy your posts. x


  7. Hi John,

    Fantastic cards! I have those exact stencils and I’m going to give them a go and try tangling a design to see what I come up with.
    All the best.


  8. What a fabulous idea. I have quite a few I no longer use so may have to give this a try – it is supposed to be very relazing. I love the butterfly card in particular because I prefer colour to B&W. Thank you for sharing x


  9. I’ve always thought that anyone who said “you cannot teach an old dog new tricks” never had a dog! keep an open mind to a different approach and you will get to where you want to be, not always on the path you expect, but hey! enjoy the journey. Your fresh look at unused equipment has produced something beautiful


  10. I love them all, John, but have to say the rainbow butterfly is my favourite…I’m going through a butterfly phase right now. After seeing Mel do a show on C&C months ago, I decided that I would love to do this…so I got the Sakura pens…got some artists pencils…even got some paper stumps after searching around Hobbycraft for hours and then finding the lovely young man on the tills worked the art section and knew just where they were lol. Now, all I need is a size 11 boot up the backside to get started. Is it against the rules to use a ruler to get a straight line for the first few tries?? x


    • Absolutely not against the rules. I used a ruler on all of these cards.

      I probably wouldn’t attempt a straight line without one.

      I guess it’s an ‘each to their own devices’ on that point.

      J :)


  11. birdgran – Too true!! We all have stash that we have accumulated over the years and never got round to using. My New Years resolution is to find time to do zentangle!! I bought a book of 1000 Glass Painting Motifs from a garden centre and it has so many pictures in it crying out for zentangle.


  12. I watched Mel explaining the basket weave last week and my first try was not brilliant but must persevere especially after seeing your creations


  13. Wow John, The simplicity of the Tangling really makes these cards. I just know I would have done something far more complicated, and probably messed it up in doing so. I just got some metal stencils but I ruined a pen because I lost the tip of it running it against the metal. I’ll have to try a pencil next time and perhaps ink over the lines.


  14. Fabulous cards John, I love the butterfly one I think I may have to go in search of all those old stencils now, thanks for the inspiration yet again :)


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