Zentangle-Inspired Photo Frame

By  Linda Hollander 

Recreate the look of zentangle, the art of drawing structured patterns, by using clay, texture sheets, and black and white paints. Square clay cutters aid in creating the look of mini tiles which mimic mosaic art.


  • Flat-front wooden frame
  • Polyform Sculpey Premo! Oven-Bake Clay: White, Black


  • Polyform Sculpey Tools: Texture Sheets, Edgy, Landscape; Super Slicer; Acrylic Roller; Clay Conditioning Machine; Satin Glaze
  • Makin’s Clay Square Cutter Set
  • Stamping brayer (or roller)
  • Royal Black Gold Paintbrushes: Series R700 1”; Series R595 Monogram Liner 10/0, #4; Series R150 Shader #6
  • Plaid FolkArt Enamel Glass and Ceramic Paint: Licorice, Wicker White; Wicker White Acrylic Paint; Gesso Surface Prep
  • Imagine Crafts Tsukineko StazOn Jet Black Solvent Ink Pad
  • Parchment-lined baking sheet and oven
  • Delta Sobo Glue

Basic Supplies

  • spray bottle of water, sandpaper, soft cloth, craft knife, baby wipes, wax paper and newspaper (to cover work surface)
  • Note
  • 1. Use clay conditioning machine to condition all clay. Pass conditioned clay through machine on thickest setting for all tiles. Use baby wipes to clean hands and all surfaces before and after using clay.
  • Frame
  • 1. Cut slice of White clay from block and run through clay conditioning machine. Gently spray texture sheet with water; shake off excess. Working on wax paper, position conditioned clay on work surface. Position texture sheet upside down on clay. Use acrylic roller and even pressure to emboss clay. Remove texture sheet. Use small and medium square cutters to cut tiles in desired patterns. Cut 16 medium and eight small tiles. (Note: Cut several extra tiles in case of defects after baking.) Use Edgy and Landscape texture sheets for variety. Use side of square cutter to reshape outer edges of squares. Use light finger pressure to smooth edges as needed. Follow manufacturer's instructions to bake tiles on parchment-lined baking sheet in oven. Let cool.
  • 2. Position clay tiles on newspaper-covered work surface. Load brayer with Jet Black ink; carefully roll over tiles. Roll in different directions until all or most of raised areas are covered. Let dry. Fill in any areas with Licorice using liner brushes. Let dry. Fix any errors in black using Wicker White enamel paint. Let dry.
  • 3. Position embossed tiles on frame using photo as guide. Cut and condition White clay to create 10 blank tiles. Use large cutter to cut squares; resize with Super Slicer to ensure proper fit between embossed tiles. Repeat process with Black clay to create 14 tiles. Bake White and Black tiles on parchment-lined baking sheet following manufacturer's instructions. Let cool.
  • 4. Lay blank and embossed tiles on frame using photo as guide. Use craft knife to trim tiles if needed to ensure proper fit. Wet sandpaper lightly; smooth top tile edges and surfaces of blank tiles. Wipe with soft cloth. Remove tiles from frame, keeping same layout, and place on frame insert.
  • 5. Apply gesso to frame using wash. Let dry. Lightly sand smooth. Basecoat frame with Wicker White acrylic paint. Let dry.
  • 6. Apply small amount of glue to back of clay tile; press onto frame beginning in corner. Continue adhering clay tiles to frame until entire surface is covered. Let dry.
  • 7. Apply thin layer of Satin Glaze to blank clay tiles. Let dry. Insert photo into frame.