Zentangle®, Art Activities, & Mindful Resources for Kids

Leaf Zentangle starter

Zentangle Leaf Craft

Table of Contents

Zentangle Leaf Pin

Zentangle Leaf Craft Overview

You can create this beautiful Zentangle® leaf craft in just a few easy steps!

This Zentangle leaf activity is composed of simple shapes and lines that almost anyone can draw, regardless of their artistic ability.

Not only that, but your kids are going to love the super cool effect that’s created when we use crayons and watercolor paint…together!

Our Zentangle leaf craft also combines the amazing Zentangle art form with a few super fun doodles! This project literally has so many incredible techniques wrapped into one package…you’re going to love it! 

This project can be used to discuss the season of Fall but you can also adjust the colors that you use to match a season of your choice. You can use this activity to discuss plants or you can simply use this leaf template as a tangle starter and fill it in with a variety of tangles.

The leaf printable used in today’s craft is actually one of my brand new tangle starters! A tangle starter is an image that is divided into different sections, similar to stained glass. Each section of the tangle starter can be used to draw Zentangle patterns.

This leaf tangle starter can be found in our Zentangle Basics Ebook, which includes 26 tangle starters.

This post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. You can read my full disclaimer here.

If you just want the 26 tangle starters, without the course…no worries!

You can check them out HERE.

So, as I mentioned before, this craft includes both Zentangle patterns and doodles…but what’s the difference between these line designs?

Keep reading to find out!

Zentangle Patterns vs Doodles

Zentangle and doodling may seem similar at first glance, but there are a few differences worth mentioning. 

Doodling is usually an impulsive and casual activity that most of us indulge in, often while engaged in something else like listening to a lecture or having a phone conversation. It’s spontaneous, not always purposeful, and varies greatly from person to person. 

Doodling can be anything – abstract shapes, patterns, cartoon characters or just random scribbles. There isn’t any specific method or rule involved in doodling. It’s simply an expression of the mind’s wanderings, and it’s often done to alleviate boredom or to help focus.

On the other hand, Zentangle is a more disciplined and structured form of drawing. It’s a registered artform that involves creating images from structured patterns known as tangles. 

Dolpin tangle in frame

Unlike doodling, Zentangle is always done with mindfulness and intention. It’s a methodical, step-by-step process that requires your full attention. Each Zentangle pattern follows a specific sequence of strokes, and it’s usually drawn with a black pen. It’s often viewed as a form of meditation due to its calming and focus-enhancing effects.

While both doodling and Zentangle are creative outlets, the key difference lies in the level of intention and structure. Doodling is free-form and spontaneous, whereas Zentangle is more conscious and organized.

If you’d like to learn more about the Zentangle artform, Zentangle Basics includes all of the foundational information you’ll need to help you get started with the Zentangle Method.

This Zentangle leaf craft can also be used to introduce kids to a really cool technique known as wax-resist.

What is Wax-resist Painting?

Wax resist is a creative technique that combines the versatile medium of watercolor paint with the interesting effects of wax. 

The process starts with applying wax on the areas of the paper you’d like to leave blank or create a certain effect on. The wax essentially acts as a resist, preventing the watercolor paint from penetrating those areas of the paper. 

So, in your Zentangle leaf craft, the areas that you add crayon to will resist the watercolor paint, creating a really beautiful effect.

I love using watercolor paint because its translucency makes it easy to add depth and layers to any artwork  As you layer your colors on your leaf craft, you’ll notice that the areas covered with wax maintain their original color, creating a contrast that adds a sense of mystery and fascination to your art.

The true charm of wax resist with watercolor paint lies in its unpredictability. Each stroke of color can reveal surprising textures and effects, letting your leaf art come alive in unforeseen ways. 

Your students will love using crayons and paints to create amazing results in this fun Zentangle leaf activity with doodles.

wax-resist background

You can watch our YouTube video or follow the step by step images below to learn how to create this leaf craft and see how to draw each Zentangle pattern.

The following activities also have incredible benefits for your kids:

  1. Zentangle Rainbow Flowers
  2. Kindness Crafts
  3. 20 Mindfulness Art Activities
  4. 15 Self-esteem Activities
Zentanle leaf craft

Here are a few other  activities that your kids are going to love:

Step by Step Tutorial

Appropriate for Children Ages 8 and up

Difficulty: Easy

Total Time: 2 x 50 minute blocks


  1. White cardstock or watercolor paper (8 1/2×11 or 9X12)
  2. Crayons
  3. Watercolor paint
  4. Paint palette
  5. Paintbrushes
  6. Tortillon/q-tip
  7. Leaf tangle starter
  8. Black micron pen/thin black sharpie
  9. Zentangle patterns (I’ll be teaching you 3 simple tangles in the video tutorial, but you can also check out our Zentangle patterns trilogy for some additional patterns to help you get started)


Step 1 – Get your materials ready.

  1. Print your leaf template on cardstock/watercolor paper or draw a leaf design on your paper of choice.

TIPS – to prevent your paper from curling…

  • You can wet both sides of your cardstock and tape it to your work table.
  • Another option is to apply weight to your paper before it dries. For this leaf craft, I placed my damp painting (damp not wet 🙂 under a heavy notebook and let it dry. 
  • You can also use a heavy-weight watercolor paper for this craft, which will result in less curling/buckling.

Step 2 – Use crayons to draw doodles.

  1. Using any color crayon of your choice, draw doodles in a few sections of your leaf. Leave a few sections blank for your tangles 
  2. Outline your leaves in crayon as well.
  3. Fill in the background with doodles drawn in crayon
draw patterns with crayons

Step 3 - Add watercolor paint.

  1. Paint over your entire leaf, including the crayon lines, with watercolor paint.
Paint the leaves
wax-resist background

Step 4 - Draw tangles!

  1. In the few remaining empty spaces on your leaves, draw a few Zentangle patterns. I drew 4 official Zentangle patterns:
    • Xircus
    • Hollibaugh
    • Tidal
    • Glace
Draw tangles

Step 5 - Shade

  1. Using a pencil, add some shadows to your tangles. Then use your tortillon to blend your pencil.
tangles with shading

This is a fun and relaxing art activity that makes a gorgeous wall display all year round

Get the template today!

Leaf Zentangle starter

I also wanted to show you how versatile these tangle starters can be! Yes, the sections in each image are perfect for holding your delicate tangles but don’t be afraid to experiment with different materials and techniques.

You could easily make your leaf doodle art Spring or Summer themed by switching the color of the leaf to green and the background to a light Spring color such as sky blue or a different shade of green.

Step 9 - Enjoy and Share

If you complete this leaf craft with your kids or students, please let me know! I’d love to add your creations to our gallery, so upload your photos or send them directly to me at: [email protected] Thank you! 

You can also tag us if you post your masterpieces on Instagram or Facebook.

Looking for even more cool tangle starters? You might be interested in these fun printables.

  1. Heart Craft Templates
  2. Butterfly Zentangle Starter Pack
  3. Zentangle Pyramid Art Activity

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for more activities designed to encourage mindfulness and spark creativity, check out my printable resources below or visit my shop!

Don’t forget to download our free 15 page Mindfulness coloring book to help add a few mindful moments to your child’s day. Just click here or the image below!


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