Treasured Bits of Tangles


I’m going with ‘tangles’ because I am mostly a tangle artist. The ideas presented in this post will work with any kind of art you enjoy making. If you can paint it or draw it on a piece of paper – this will work for you! And apologies (not really) because this is going to be a photo heavy post. But definitely worth the read/look. Promise.

Are you stuck for ideas on how to organize all those pieces of art you’ve been working on? Do you want to have a collection of papers ready that you can just grab up and start drawing on? Papers with beautiful backgrounds all ready for tangling? Bits of scrapbook paper or mixed media or watercolor paper? Seriously, there are so many ways to adapt this idea. Let me start by drawing your attention to a post I made back on August 11, 2018. Almost a year ago.

I used four sheets of Hahnemühle’s Harmony hot pressed watercolor paper and cut each sheet down to 4.5″ x 6 ” sections. This gave me a total of 16 sheets to work with. I used my trusty little hole puncher from Create 365 The Happy Planner and punched holes along one side. Those cool little pink circlets are called discs and they serve to hold the book together. In artsy terms this is called a disc-bound journal.

I used a variety of methods to add color to both sides of all the pages and placed them in the order I wanted them to appear in the book.

Many of them I tangled on prior to putting them into the disc-bound journal.

But don’t worry if you don’t want to tangle all the pages first. The beauty of these disc-bound journals is you can remove those pages at any time, work on them, and add them right back in. With no damage to your pages. This post shows you exactly how I made this book and there is even a flip through video at the bottom of the post that shows you how to remove the pages and add them back to the journal. These books are easy to make. I will show you another one lower down in this post and I will give you options in case you don’t have access to one of these cool hole punches.

You already know that I use a lot of Tiles from Hahnemühle for my tangle activities. I love them! They are 3.5″ square and that is an important thing to remember as you look through this particular section. Primarily meant for pen or pencil – I use all manor of wet product on these tiles and I have great success. These tiles can take it. To make this cute little tangle journal using Hahnemühle’s tiles, I began with ten tiles and folded each of them in half. If you score along that fold line with a bone folder the crease will go smoother. I did not bother with it because I am impatient. Yep!

I used a bottle of PVA glue to adhere them together. This particular bottle came from Amazon. Click that pink link and you’ll see it.

Start with two folded tiles. Paint the glue on the back flap of one tile, then holding the tiles firmly adhere a second tile to the first. You can see three of them glued together above. I just use a paper plate to pour out some glue and an old paintbrush to slap that glue on. Remember to tap the tiles down on the table top to make sure the tiles are flush at the bottom.

Keep gluing the tiles together until you have your booklet. Make sure your glue is holding by pressing the pages together with one hand while you work with the other. Then, I secured the whole chunk of pages together with a couple tight rubber bands wrapped lengthwise while I added 3 – 4 layers of glue along the spine – where all the folds of the tiles meet.

To allow the book time to dry while continuing the pressure on the pages to adhere together – I used two of these binder clips and a rubber band taut around the middle. The Hahnemühle book is on the left. Isn’t it cute? Leave this overnight to dry, you don’t want to test the glue too quickly. I did that with one and it was not cool.

For a second book I used the 4.5″ Apprentice tiles from Zentangle®. It took me awhile to figure this out – when you fold these particular tiles, fold them top to bottom and the grain of the paper will lay nicer in the fold. I folded 10 pages and threw in this one I had made during a video for my YouTube channel.

Here is a shot of my work setup. And you can see what I mean about folding the Zentangle tiles top to bottom, not side to side.

Just paint that glue on in a good layer. Not so much that is squishes out the sides when you put your tiles together, but good enough to cover and grab the next tile.

Then add a second tile to that painted area. One thing I neglected to do when I made this particular book – I forgot to tap the pages on the table top as I put them together. You can see in this photo that the two tiles are not flush at the top. Doesn’t really cause a problem for tangling but it looks nicer if they line up on the edges.

I already showed you this photo once, but here it is again. Rubber bands and clips to hold the whole book tightly together so it can dry. Overnight or at least for several hours. I’d guess 6 – 8 hours, but it is totally a guess. And yes, they are small. The one on the left is the 3.5″ Hahnemühle tile folded in half. That makes the overall book 3.5″ tall but only 1 3/4″ in width. Cute and fun! The Apprentice book is 4.5″ tall and 2 1/4″ wide. But the beauty of folding the tiles and gluing them together is that when you open a page – you have a full size tile to draw or paint on! And the mere fact that the tiles are glued together means the book will hold together as you work in it.

The next morning. Take off the rubber bands and clips and you get a cute little journal. I love it! But you can see that cover is pretty boring and plain. What’s a girl to do? Hahahahaha! There are many ways to treat this cover. You could cover it with scrapbook paper, or fabric, or tape, or handmade paper, or collage it, or paint it. So many ways! I wanted watercolor! So that’s what I did. By the way, this is the Hahnemühle book.

I watercolored the front using my Schincke pans. Any kind of paint will work just fine.

For the back side, I pulled out two Dyestress ink pads and just rubbed the color on. You know the drill. Then I sprayed some water onto the cover and let the colors blend.

Here is the front dried . . . and . . .

. . . the back once dry. So the covers now looked great but there was still the binding/spine to consider. If you applied your glue smoothly the spine may look alright as is. But if you want to cover the spine, there are several ways to do that.

I wanted to keep things as simple as possible, so I opted for a strip of teal duck tape. I learned this from my friend Robin Mead. She has duck tape in every color possible! Hahahaha! I aim to be just like her! Center the spine of your book in the middle of the tape and adhere it.

Just wrap the tape over the front and back covers and smooth it down. I found that my duck tape was too wide, so I had to trim about 1/2″ in width off one side to make it fit better. I didn’t want to cover up half the width of the book with duck tape. I wanted to still be able to see a good bit of the watercolor.

Then just go in with a pair of scissors and trim that excess tape away. Easy peasy.

And you have a beautiful finish for your little treasured bits of tangles book. All ready to add tangles, doodles, patterns, paint, drawing, sketches – whatever you wish!

Now let’s go back to the book made with Zentangle Apprentice tiles. Remember there is writing on the back of these tiles. I wanted to cover all that writing up so it couldn’t be seen and I didn’t want to add fabric or scrapbook papers. I wanted to just go with what I had to keep this even simpler. Gouache paint is what I decided on. Acrylic paint would work just as well. Look for something opaque, not transparent. I painted on one coat of Arteza’s purple gouache and it completely covered up all the red and black ink in the Zentangle wording. Look closely at this photo. I tucked a piece of craft mat in between the first page and the cover. The thought was it would keep me from getting paint on the inside pages as I painted the cover. Mostly it worked but I did get a little over the edges of the cover – probably because I used too much paint to start with.

And I wanted the cover to have something other than a solid color. So I just stroked on a couple other colors and called it awesome! Hahahahaha!

Same thing for the back cover.

Inside the first and last page I had a little purple along some of the edges because I used too much paint on the covers. I could have left it, but I didn’t like the purple being the only thing on those pages. I fixed that by painting on some watered-down gouache in the same colors. And then I was happy.

To complete this book, I opted for the pink duck tape.

Applied the same way as I showed you with the Hahenmühle book. And here it is finished. I love this one as well! And again – when you open a page in this book it is a full 4.5″ tile that you can make art on.

Over the past few months, I have been using the Bamboo Mixed Media tiles from Hahnemühle for various color techniques. This paper is pretty fantastic for handling lots of color and I had a stack of papers I had been saving. Some are tangled on already, some are not. But they all have color on both sides and I wanted to save them in booklet formation. I began by dividing my pile into two stacks. There are 22 tiles in each set.

Here’s an idea of what will comprise these book pages – but with one major difference from the first two books. These tiles are not folded. And I did not want to fold them. These bamboo tiles are roughly 3″ x 4″ and I wanted to keep them that way. Which makes the glueing a little more challenging.

I lined my pages up, tapped them down on the table top to make sure that spine edge was flush, and I added a binder clip to each end. Then I took the PVA glue and ran one good layer of it along the spine edges of the pages. Try to keep the glue on top of the edges. If it runs down between your pages they will stick together as the glue dries and you won’t be able to open your book up with the pages flat. I held the center together with my hand for a couple minutes while the glue started setting, then I added another layer of glue. All total I put 5 layers of glue along that spine edge, leaving the binder clips in place.

Then I also added a cute little Hahnemühle clip on that middle section and sat this aside to dry overnight. Fingers crossed it wouldn’t fall apart when I removed the clips. Because these pages are not glued together like the previous two.

Here is the second of this type of book. I added rubber bands around the rest of the book to just help hold it all in place.

This is what it looked like the next morning. That glue dried to a really nice white thick layer and it held wonderfully.

I took each book and centered it on a strip of duck tape and covered the spine the same way I did with the previous books. Easy way to go!

And you can see the pages open flat for tangling. Just be gentle with the book and you should be fine. You can also see – if the glue had run down in between the pages, I would not have been able to open the book all the way up like this.

I did have one page that wasn’t flush to the spine when I added the glue, and I didn’t notice it until the next day. That page totally came out of the book. I took a toothpick and ran a thin line of glue along the spine in that opening between the two pages and stuck the page back in. I let the book sit overnight – again – and the page held. So, if you happen to have a page that didn’t get glued well it is easy to fix it.

The front of these two books finished . . .

. . . and the backs. They are roughly 3″ x 4″ in size. All full of beautiful color and ready to hold 84 pages of treasured bits of tangles. Which doesn’t count the covers.

Here are both books. Clipped together in the middle. I love all the color!

This is what we’ve done so far! The start of a nice little collection! But remember I told you there are other ways to make little books.

I went back to my stack of colored tiles – these are all Hahenmühle’s Tiles – and I chose 20 that I wanted to put together in a book. And this is the Create 365 hole punch I use to make the holes to bind them together.

You can see the punch has the ability to punch a whole line of holes. Three holes fit well on these 3.5″ tiles, so that’s what I chose to do. And I eye-balled where to place each tile to make the holes line up on a stack of them.

I punched each tile and decided what color discs I wanted to use. Yesterday I talked about purple, teal and pink. So that’s what I chose. Hahahaha!

Line up the tiles and pop those discs in place. Remember, I have this video to show you how to do that. And it shows you how to remove each page to work on separately from the whole book if you should want to do that. It’s really easy to do and it doesn’t damage the pages at all.

And here is this 3.5″ square book ready to hold all those treasured bits of tangles in one place! And they don’t have to be tiles you haven’t drawn on yet. You could make a book of tiles you have already tangled! They could already have all the artwork done on them! It could be a coffee table display book of your art!

And if you should want to tangle directly in the book – you can! It lays flat! But what if you don’t have access to a cool hole punch like this? Or don’t have the nifty little discs? You can still make this type of book. Use any hole punch at all. It doesn’t have to be this kind. And instead of discs, use ribbon, or twine, braided yarn, or crocheted loops, or individual rings you can get at an office store or maybe Walmart, or bread ties. There are endless ways to hold this book together. Just use your imagination!

I was going to be done with the post at this point. It’s a nice little collection of art books and makes a great post and gives you plenty of ideas. But last night I remembered one other book I made and could include.

This is a book I made using scrapbook paper, mixed media paper and watercolor paper and I bound it all together with a machine called a bind-it-all. I sell these books in my Etsy store. Since the book has the spiral, the pages open and fold back under itself. The pages lay flat.

There are so many types of papers you can make art on. If you don’t have access to a cool machine like the bind-it-all (and most people don’t) an office or copy store can put these spiral bindings on for you.

There are so many ways to make little books to store your treasured bits of tangles. Or any kind of art really. I hope these ideas will inspire you to find ways to put your collections together. They are fun to carry with you for tangling on the go. And they are fun to sit around your house for other people to be able to pick up and see what you are working on. Treasured bits of tangles. It’s starting to grow on me! Tiles and other Hahnemühle products with purchase links
Zentangle Apprentice Tiles
Create 365 Happy Planner Punch
PVA Glue
Bamboo Mixed Media Tiles from Hahnemühle

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20 thoughts on “Treasured Bits of Tangles

  1. WOW❣️They are all awesome and of course the colors fabulous! Thanks for sharing these lovelys.

  2. You’re so creative, Alice! These are wonderful! Have you seen the Bitty BookZ from Chris Titus, CZT? Though more complicated, they serve the same purpose. I’m seeing them on Facebook and Instagram. We tanglers are always ready to try something new! So I think it’s good timing that you posted this today. 🙂

    • I have been seeing them, too, but I am too impatient to put all that work into the covers they are doing. this suits me better. they are lovely, though! always looking for something new

  3. Beautiful books! I made s disc bound one a while ago and carry it with me! I have harder covers on it and I change out the paper as I tangle. I like the water colored ones! May have to insert some! Need a new punch though first I only got a single sheet one. Does yours do heavy water color paper? It looked like it does. Thx again!

    • it does do heavy paper. no problem at all! the are really fun and yes, I have several with watercolor paper and mixed media in them

  4. Your teal, pink & purple duck tape works superbly on each of the covers you’ve matched them up with. I can see the fun you have matching the designs up, especially when you’ve Madde the tiles or paper in the first place, Have great fun. I’m slowly finding I need little folded mini books or journals.

  5. Wow these are beautiful! I was just wondering today what to do with my finished tiles. You read my mind, haha. I also have many painted tiles just waiting to be seen! Thank you so much for the inspiring ideas! ?

    • it’s a really fun way to collect your art together and make it all ‘viewable’ at once <3

  6. What a great post, Alice! Helpful and informative as always, with steps that are easy to follow. Thank you for sharing your wonderful art and ideas.

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