IT Gathering #32 Update.

We gather on the Second Sunday of the Month.

Date:May 21st, 2017. (Sunday)

Time: 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Place, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store (Click this link for Map)

Please R.S.V.P.

Reserve a seat at the next Gathering by filling out the contact form at the left.

Article #1-Producing your own Tiles...

My Zentangle® Tile making process.
by David Hunter, November 14, 2014. (Updated Dec 31, 2014)

A bit of background first.

We all love to Tangle. There are lots of stocks that are available on which to create our masterpieces. I used my sketchbook for a long time and still do for practice and experimentation.  I tried 100% cotton 24 pound paper. Though the cotton paper worked well, and took the ink and my colored pencils beautifully, it was way too thin, and easily wrinkled while moving it around. I tried making 3½" square tiles from Smooth Bristol stock, and that works really well. It was stiffer than the Cotton paper. I really wanted to try the stock used by Zentangle®,com. Well, this post documents how I made my own Tiles using this wonderful paper. (Please realize that most of these instructions can be used on any paper of the size 22 x 30 which is a standard size in these special paper categories.)

The paper used is Fabriano Tiepolo, and is mould made in Italy. This company has been making  papers for 750 years. (They began their history in 1264. They know how to make paper.)

So, where can one get their hands on some of this exotic paper?

Google "Fabriano Tiepolo" and you can find sources that sell this paper. I found it on I would have ordered from them, but they were out of stock. Their price is $6.79 per sheet, at this time and there is a minimum order of 10 sheets. Very expensive from this source.

I wound up ordering from Graphic Chemical and Ink Company. They charge $4.60 per sheet. (There are quantity discounts.) No Minimum number of sheets is imposed. This was a new online company for me, so I made a small order to check them out. Everything went fine. My order was filled and shipped promptly. Their online store is a bit quirky, and it takes a minute to figure out how to place an order. Shipping was about $13, and would probably be the same for more than five sheets. That would make the shipping cost per sheet smaller and more palatable.

The paper was shipped in a large, very strong, shipping tube. Yikes, there was a curl in the paper.  I placed my five sheets on a table curl side down and in a few minutes it began to relax and flatten out  nicely--all on its own--without placing any weight on it. This is good stuff. It was soon flat as a pancake. It has a deckle on all four edges. This paper is 22" x 30" and I was glad to find that the deckle is just outside the 20 x 30 inches. It can be carefully trimmed off and you still have 22 x 30 inches of stock to cut into tiles.

Detemining the top of a sheet of stock.

If you didn't know, paper has two sides. One side is called the wire side, and the other the Felt side. During the paper making process, the wire side of the paper rides on a support grid material that allows water in the paper pulp to drain off. That is the bottom side of the paper and the top side is the Felt side. The Felt side is the best side to draw on. I found that the Tiepolo paper is a bit difficult to tell the Felt from the Wire sides. You have to pay very close attention. I found that holding the paper so that a strong light can shine across the surface from the side or edge of the stock makes it easier to determine one side from the other.The wire side will have a very fine grid pattern embossed in it. This embossing does not cover the entire back side but is in splotches. The areas between the wire splotches look just like the felt side. That is why it is so difficult to determine which is the wire side. You can do it. Once you determine the felt side of all our sheets, place them in a pile with the felt side up. Keep this orientation through out all of the cutting steps. Your Tiles will all be right side up.

This wire/felt surface business is applicable to all paper. (Hand made papers may be a bit different. I'm unfamiliar with them.)

Let's get Cutting....

You are now ready to cut your Tiles our of these big sheets of stock. There are various ways to do this, and each method will get the job done.

A few ways to consider cutting these big sheets.

1- Take you sheets to a commercial printer and have them cut them down to Tile size. The will charge you a bit. Could be by the hour, or by the cut. But they will be accurate and save a lot of time.

2- Draw lines on your sheets with a pencil and cut them out with scissors. This is very time consuming and terribly inaccurate, not to mention tiring.

3-Use a steel straight edge and an exacto knife. You'll need a cutting mat made to be used with razor knifes. If you already have these tools, you're all set.

4-Use some Quilters Tools. This is what I used. It worked out extremely accurately if you are careful and have experience using Rotary cutters, Acrylic Rulers, and quilter cutting mats. (A little practice and you can do this.)

More on the Quilters Tools and where to get them later.

The Cutting Layout for 22" x 30 " Stock.

TiePolo stock is expensive. To get the maximum number of tiles out of each sheet with the minimum waste trim, you need a plan. Here is a layout plan that I put together and used in cutting out my Tiles.

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 1 layout plan is the cut lines to be made on the original sheet of stock. (This stuff is thick. 240 lb). Cut your sheets one sheet at a time to insure accuracy and give your rotary cutter a break, not to mention your wrist.

Figure 3 layout plan is for the NEW Tile announced by®  in November 2014. Opus is a larger format Tile and measures 10½" x 10½". Four Opus Tiles, 2 standard Tile strips, and one Bijou strip can be cut from one sheet of stock. Yield: 4 opus Tiles, 11 Bijou Tiles, and two Standard strips which will yield Tiles based on how you cut each standard strip. (See Fig 2).

Step One: The very first cut you want to make is to trim off the deckle edge along the top (22" edge") of your sheet. Do this very carefully, and cut as close to the deckle as you can get so you will have the 2" trim at the bottom of the sheet when you're done. Leave the deckle edge on the other three edges for now. The bottom strip, 2" can be used to cut eleven Bijou Tiles.

We now cut 3½ strips from our stock sheets. 

If you want some Bijou Tiles (2" x 2") you can alter the bottom two 3½" cuts so that you cut three 2" cuts, yielding 4 2" strips with only 1" trim waste. (2 x 3½ plus 2" trim = 9" which can be cut into 4 2" strips with only 1" waste trim.) Four 2" x 22" strips will yield 44 bijou tiles.

Step Two:

Once you have your 3½ Strips cut from the mother stock, you can begin to cut the individual Tiles.

Like step One above, the first step in step two, is to carefully trim off the deckle edge on each side of the strip. You must tim carefully so that there is a full 22" pieces of stock remaining, or you will not get the full count of Tiles our of it.

The Figure 2 planner image above, shows some examples of a cut-out scheme for your strips.

The top strip of Figure 2 shows all of the cuts made at 3½", Yielding six full size Tiles. Cutting a whole mother sheet using these dimensions will yield 48 full size Tiles. Yielding only 8 3½" x 1" pieces of trim waste from the side. These can be cut into 24 Inchies. There will be one 2" waste strip at the bottom which can be cut into 11 2" Bijou Tiles. Hardly no waste at all. That is 73 Tiles of various sizes from one mother sheet.

The middle example in Figure 2 shows the cut out yield of  4  3½" x 3½" full size Tiles per strip and 32 Tiles per mother sheet.. There will be 14 ATC cards (2½" x 3½"), and 11 2" Bijou Tiles. That is 57 Tiles of various sizes from one mother sheet.

The bottom example in Figure 2 shows the cut out yield of 6 ATC Tiles, yielding 48 ATC Tiles and 2 Full size Tiles yielding 16 full size Tiles. There will be one 2" waste strip at the bottom which can be cut into 11 2" Bijou Tiles. That is 75 Tiles of various sizes.

These cut out examples in Figure 2, can be used in any combination on the ¢ strips from Step 1. The yield per mother sheet will depend on the combinations employed. The cost per tile is roughly $4.60 divided by the yield of tiles per sheet. Using just the 48 full size Tiles from the Top Cutting example in figure 2, the cost will be about 9½¢ per Tile. That is pretty reasonable.

Figure 3

Having muddled through all these numbers, you can see that there are lots of combinations you can try. I have tried to create cutting lines that yield the least amount of waste.

Then there is the situation where you want lots of ATC Cards. In that case eliminate the two 3½" cuts from the third cutting example in Figure 2, and replace them with 2 2½" cuts with a 2" trim that can be cut into one Bijou Tile. This would yield 64 ATC Cards and eight 2" square Bijou Tile per sheet.

You can realize from the large number of Tiles and cards that can come from one mother sheet, cutting these tiles is a time consuming process. After cutting all of my initial strips in Figure 1, I would cut a few strips into their final size each day. This spread out the tedium over time.

Tiles and their sizes.

Inchies 1" square
Bijou Tile: 2" x 2"
ATC Tile: 2½" x 3½".
Basic Tile: 3½" square.
Opus- 10½" square. (NEW)
Zendala- 4 5/8" dia.

Have fun Tangling on your very own home made Tiles.

Links to sites, Tools and Accessories for your Tiles.

The Fabriano Paper Site

Graphic Chemical and Ink, Company 
Fabriano Tiepolo Paper 22" x 30"-($4.60 per sheet.)
(Please note, the above link resists working properly. Please type Tiepolo in the search field at the top of the Graphic Chemical Company's Page and click on Search. This will present the Tiepolo page correctly.)

Round Corner Punch: ($12.99 Amazon)
Dress up those square corners. (Small, medium, and large corners.)

JoAnn Fabric and Craft Store
(Fiskar cutting mat, rotary cutter, and acrylic ruler 24") ($54.99)
Note: look for frequent coupons and sales to get this kit for around $35.

Tin Boxes ($2.99  JoAnn's)
(Stores and protects your new tiles perfectly).  $8.93 + shipping

All prices in this article are subject to change. (Prices mentioned are as of Nov 2014.)


  1. Thank you David, for your very informative article. I have just been to the Fabriano paper site and lusted mightily over the beautiful paper (but I have been in love with paper since I was a very young child). Anyway, thank you very much for your cutting layouts and I hope to be able to attend the Tanglers group in January, if I possibly can keep from getting hurt or sick. Thank you again!

  2. I'm glad I re-read this. I had only skimmed it before, and didn't catch that terrific layout for making opus tiles, along with a line of regular Zentangle tiles, and even some bijous! I hope someday to have the courage to try a work on an opus tile.

  3. Thank you for the cutting layouts - I hadn't thought of creating Bijous!

  4. Dave, your research and writing are truly impressive. Thanks so much for this. I'm glad to know about Graphic Chemical. I've been getting my supplies from Dick Blick. You can use the same technique for Renaissance Tiles using Rives BFK paper, tan, I think.