Zenplosion Folds Tangle Pattern

I went to the 212 Cake Eater's Group last Friday and saw some wonderful fabric art. One of the fabric artists presented some lovely felted pillows she created using old sweater pieces as her medium. The pillow centerpieces were these wonderful little textured birds, they were great. It made me want to cut up my old sweaters and try them, I don't sew. Lot's of fun creative stuff. I also got to see one of the pen's (in person) that Maria Thomas uses for the introduction to the Zentangle Mooka video. I'm sure she also used it to address my lovely CZT packet! It is sooo cool.  Seeing it on the video, I thought...  if only I had that pen, I too would be able to immediately do the wonderful letters that I've seen her create. Then, reality struck, Maria, who has been a calligrapher and artist for most of her adult life, yeah, it's just the pen... Not!
Anyway, the day began with fabric discussions and beautiful quilts and that fabulous pen, then I went to my friend Diane's home and she showed me a book she had gotten from her sister in-law. The book is 3-D Explosion: Simply FABULOUS Art Quilt Illusions - by Cara Gulati and had templates and patterns for this 3-D quilt. Cara has wonderful free patterns online for you enthusiasts at doodlepress.com. I was so impressed and inspired and I saw a lovely tangle coming to life...

Quilt patterns by Cara Gulati
for Doodle Press
I can't sew, as I've said, but I can tangle. The templates in the book were simple and beautiful. Then I looked online at Doodle Press and found these student 3-D Explosion quilts pictures for inspiration, talk about INSPIRING! Beautiful.

This tangle has a nice even flow with lovely curves. The folds are created with simple straight connector lines. I've been Mooka crazy all week, Mooka, Mooka, Mooka, I'm hooked. But  I have to say this tangle has got me now. It's Explosion Away!!!!! I've been working on it all evening, addicting also. This Zentangle stuff can be dangerous - beware - addictive tangle ahead!

The beauty of this tangle is that it can work as a tangle pattern, or a string to incorporate other tangles. It can be created in the scrolled "S" shape... or ribbon folds... or combine both.

Zenplosion Fold - S-Curve: The essence of the explosion effect is that all patterns start from one point and "explode" out. The idea of perspective and depth is a really important part of the impact of this tangle. It looks complicated but "One Stroke at a Time" and you've got it. Hope you have fun using this pattern. Please send me your links when you post your versions.

First I draw a simple light grid (lines crossed) in pencil to designate my reference center/point (start).
  1. Draw a cursive scroll "S", I incorporated some light lines through the center of my "S" shape as a perspective/horizon point. I'm showing the pencil (perspective) lines a little darker here just for your drawing reference.
  2. Connect the inside curve to with straight connector lines to form the folds, continue connecting points down your S-curve until folds appear. When I'm drawing these connector lines, I always reference the center point as my target when drawing the connector lines.
  3. When drawing your fold make sure to turn your tile to get the correct orientation. Turning will make it easier to align your folds on the straight north/south line. Vary placement, size and orientation to form your composition. When overlapping folds the new lines go behind the previous fold creating depth. 
    S-Curve shown oriented on the same plane as your staring point
     Try to orient some of your folds rising up, some going downward, always beginning from the same reference point to create the "Explosion". Vary the size and orientation of each fold to add interest.
Shading: I like to add shading to increase the fold look. Just shade where you see the "material" overlapping, that's where your shadow is formed, if there is a fold there will usually be a shadow on the material behind it. Also, to give the tubular look of the folds I shade along the sides of the "cone shape" leaving the lighter highlight area in the center of the fold. Where you fold curves inward, you want to add shading to show its recessing. The curves and folds work with just the outlines but shading adds another dimension.

Zenplosion Fold - S-Curve sideways:  All the directions are the same just apply to the S-Curve with spirals drawn sideways.

S-Curve - "S" shown oriented on its side

Zenplosion Fold - Ribbon:  All the how to directions are the same just apply to the simplified ribbon curves. You can incorporate a spiral shape the ribbon shape for another variation.

Ribbon Curves Variation
Notebook Workup for Zenplosion Folds

For more How-To's, shading, and variations for Zenplosion  CLICK on My Tangle Patterns page...


  1. Oooh, Dani.... this is awesome!!! I'm rushing off to your tangle patterns page for more. (Yep, I can feel a new addiction coming on!) ;-)

  2. This is really a great tangle.It shows your expertise on tangles.I hope you don't mind I mentioned it on my blog. You can see what i wrote here:http://jskunstweven.wordpress.com/plica/

  3. Wow! Cool pattern and variations. Can't wait to try it out.

  4. Danni, this is a great tangle pattern. Folds and spirals.... such interesting movement. Thanks for posting.

  5. hey...this is a fun tangle - it really does look like it's 'exploding'. Great job :)

  6. Nice pattern. Not too complicated. Works the eye brain connection without needing to think my way out of the Zen. Thanks :-)!

    Mary Masi CZT

  7. Have to work on this one. Love it!

  8. Thank you for your zentangle inspiration here Daniele! Love it! I started a journaling group on FB and am featuring you on our group page. (Hope you don't mind) :) Started our group on April 21 and we currently have 116 members. We're going places! Would love to have you along for the ride.

    Keep up the good work! <3

  9. Hi Danni. I discovered your Zenplosion tangle in December 2016 when I was on holiday in Fort Myers Beach and loved it. I picked up shells throughout my holiday and took photos of all these broken spirals that reminded me of your tangle. It was so much fun. I'd love to send you a photo. I've been playing with your tangle again on my holiday this week and wanted to share Mother Nature's beautiful examples of Zenplosion. Thank you for the lovely tangles you've shared with us. Warmly, Jill CZT 12


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