Monday, April 27, 2009

Making Mandalas

I've been making mandalas and teaching people how to make them for the past twenty five years. So when I found out about a mandala ATC swap I jumped right in. If you would like to learn more about mandalas in general and the swap in particular visit Michelle Mandala’s blog post

Here are the three that I made for the swap using handmade papers, cut into shapes, and glued onto playing cards. Playing cards were chosen because they are sturdy and the exact dimensions of an ATC card (2 ½ x 3 ½ inches).

After the glue dried I took them across the hall into the sewing studio and stitched them, then made backs for them. Then the backs were sewn to the fronts. To finish, they were each coated with a layer of modge podge. Ta Da!

When teaching people how to make mandalas I usually illustrate the simple concept using flat geometric blocks, showing that the design kind of tells you how to make it, by following your various initial decisions. Preschoolers can make mandalas using these blocks.

Once you show it with blocks, then it’s easy to do it with colored pencils, crayons, markers etc. It’s also fun to use clay. Kids pick this up the mandala concept really quickly. Adults tend to analyze it, do way too much talking about it, and are extremely concerned with wanting to make one that is perfect.

Fortunately, all mandalas seem to look great by simply following the one and only rule, and that is you have to keep the design in balance by doing the same thing on the other side. Everyone can do it! It’s so relaxing, centering and focusing.

Here’s one created by an adult woman with markers at Baha'i Sunday School, illlustrating one of the principles of the Baha'i Faith.

And another Baha'i School student, age 14, using a fine tipped Sharpie and colored pencils

Michelle created a coloring book that she offers for sale, and download free pages at

Now, into the mail go my three mandalas for the swap. Wonder what I’ll be getting in return? It’s always a pleasant surprise!


Duni said...

Wow, your mandalas are magnificent!
My younger pupils are currently very in to these, although the ones they make are much more simplified. I've check out your entire blog - you are an extremely talented lady!
Love the baby wraps :)
and thank you for your kind comment on my blog!

Mandala Michelle said...

Great post! You are so right about adults trying to over-think the process. I teach mandala making to kids and they just jump right in. Love the cards and thanks for the link!

Artgalcrafts said...

Hi Victoria
thanks fort his great tutorial about Mndalas I had no idea of the concept.
Can you imagine that, somebody not knowing about Mandalas when they have been around for thousands of years.
i sent mine into the swap with Michelle.
Im sure she will be very diplomatic about them,and I also hope you dont get mine as they are more like just pretty ATCs,still it is great to learn something new, (even if it is very old LOL)
I will be practising from here on so that the next time they have a swap like that, I will know what I am doing.
Love your blog.XXX

NineTomatoes said...

So funny, that perfection thing in adults! Mandala making has shifted me out of that controlling place and into the feeling of trust. That, in turn, has changed my life!

Unknown said...

well i see two familiar faces out of three...what a joy! thank you for your comments on my blog this about a great way to start my morning. i'll check out the mandala swap. i knew about it from michelle, of course
many blessings

supplies overflowing! said...

First of all...
Congrats on getting those rooms organized~ that was a huge job!
In reference to the comment you made on my post regarding your mind that feels like a hose- great description!
I always enjoy coming over here to see what's next. Your cards are clever and inspiring.

Artist Victoria O'Neill said...

Wow, so very nice to meet all these wonderful mandaladies.....thank you for stopping by. I do have some other art activity tutorials under the labels section on right hand side of blog.....and hope to add more!

Art4Sol said...

You read my mind...I've toying with making mandalas for months now...trying to find free info...nothing at the local library. I didn't want to buy more books, so this is wonderful. THANK YOU!

Gail H. Ragsdale said...

Wow! I love your mandalas!