I've previously shared the fun I've had making Zen Buttons - and earlier this year I noticed Debbie Moss Colton's Zentastical 3D frames - which use similar principles of shading to add dimension, but take the result in a subtly different direction.
Alice Hendon made a PDF with Debbie talking through the detailed steps of how to make her frames. This PDF is shared freely in Alice's inspiring Tangle All Around Facebook group. But you might be able to get the gist of how to do it from my photos and descriptions.
Some colourful tiles are a good place to start and I coloured mine this time using the bleeding tissue paper technique. I had mixed results when I first started using this way of adding colour, but I think I've finally got the hang of the amount of water needed to make it happen. Not too much, not too little! Also, the paper of the tile impacts on the result. As you can see on the ATC shaped tile the colour spread was very different - smoother and more washed out. I decided to not use that tile for this technique, but tucked it in my stash for another time.
|Colouring the tiles using Spectra tissue paper.|
Make sure you use some robust paper for your tiles so they don't break down
with all the work you will do to them.
Once my backgrounds were dry I tangled a border around each tile - I decided it would be fun to work with 3 different shapes for my frames. We are invited to add touches of additional colour to the frame once the ink is dry. I did that in on two of my frames but not on the other.
|A double band of Zander - with touches of blue on the bands.|
A single Cruffle suspended by Beadlines in the middle.
Debbie encourages us to make the frame the star of the show, so try to choose open tangles to go in the frame. I like spacious tangles so choosing wasn't hard for me. I decided to add a Cruffle to each tile too, to further pull the set together.
|A time-consuming but worthwhile border of Stikz - |
with a minimal Arukas / Cruffle centrepiece.
Once I'd done some basic shading of the tangles in the middle, I started work to add dimension to the frame. Lots of darkening at the edges, smoothing, blending, adding more. I used a number of products to achieve this - watercolour, graphite and black coloured pencil. I worked quite instinctively, adding more until I felt I was happy with the look. On the first two tiles I also added a band of white chalk, but didn't do that on the square tile as when I started to add it I felt it covered the tangling too much. Sometimes you need to follow the rules to the letter, and sometimes you need to listen to yourself when you know something is or isn't quite right.
|A Remo frame, with spiral Barberpole and a hanging Cruffle.|
I like the way the frames really do develop a sense of dimension once you shade them. It's more apparent in the flesh, the scanner struggles to capture it well. The tiles also feel a bit like windows to me - they frame a view onto a tangly treat beyond. And despite adding lots of darkness to each tile the colours seem to shine more brightly. I had great fun tangling these tiles and hope you feel Zentastically inspired to try them yourself!