TUTORIAL: Zentangle Inspired Heart Charm

Although clay is my favourite hobby, I’ve recently become very interested in the art of Zentangle. Never heard of it? Well, here’s how it is described on the website:
“The Zentangle Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. Almost anyone can use it to create beautiful images. It increases focus and creativity, provides artistic satisfaction along with an increased sense of personal well being.”
I have to completely agree! I’m still a complete beginner and barely know what I’m doing half of the time, but even when my drawings turn out terrible it still helps me feel relaxed. I also have to say that the Zentangle online community are a lovely, peaceful bunch of people who help to keep me inspired.

Anyway, as my boyfriend was leaving for the night, I asked the usual question, “Shall I clay or tangle tonight?”, to which he replied, “How about both?” 
So, I decided to combine my two favourite hobbies and make this little heart charm ready for Valentine’s day. I won’t be using any official tangle terms or names because I want this to be a completely basic tutorial which can be used by anyone, whether they are a tangler trying their hand at clay, or vice versa. I hope you enjoy!

What you’ll need: 

  • Polymer clay (white and black)
  • Rolling tool
  • Cutting tool
  • Varnish (I use regular Fimo gloss)
  • One clean paintbrush
  • A large heart cookie cutter
  • An oven
  • Links and a necklace chain (optional)
  • Patience!

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Step one: 
Roll out a sheet of white clay at approximately 2cm thick all over. Make sure you’re working on a VERY clean surface when using white clay! Any pieces of lint or hair will creep out and attack the whole surface.
Use your cookie cutter to cut out a heart shape.

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Step two: 
Roll out a long, thin piece of black clay and wrap it around the heart shape. Cut off the excess.

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Step three: 
Now roll out lots more long, thin pieces of black clay and place down some squiggly lines. These lines will break up each pattern. I placed them fairly randomly, but it’s completely up to you!

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Step four: 
Begin to fill in your sections. I began with some polka dots, which I made by simply flattening some small balls of black clay, and some simple stripes. Push them down so that they feel secure.

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Step five: 
Carry on placing down your patterns. I cut out some black diamond shapes and stuck them into one section. It’s totally up to you which patterns you use. In fact, if you’re not a big fan of the ones I’ve used, you could even use the Zentangle website for more inspiration!

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Step six: 
Continue to fill in your sections until the whole heart is filled up with lovely, delicate patterns. As you can see, I doubled up most of my patterns to keep it as simple as possible.

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Step seven: 
Now, roll out some more black clay, but this time you want the “snake” shapes to be much thicker. Use it to frame the heart, then have the bottom trailing off into a spiral shape. Create two more spiral shapes and connect them to the sides of the top of the heart, pressing them down to the back until they feel very secure. Poke something small through the centre of the two top spirals so that a link can be attached later if required.
Bake in the oven until hard. This should take approximately 30 minutes on gas mark 4 (180 degrees Celsius).

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Step eight: 
Once cool, apply a layer of varnish all over. Leave to dry, attach to your necklace and you’re all finished!

Thanks for reading! I’m looking forward to experimenting some more with combining clay and Zentangle. 
Check out the rest of my site for more tutorials, and feel free to follow me on Facebook
Have a lovely day! 

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