Thursday, August 27, 2015

Debut of my Frames for Zentangle® Tiles

"Ready or not, here I come!"

Remember playing tag as a child and yelling those words after a long count with your head down, eyes covered?

That is how I feel today.   
I've spent time with my head buried in setting up a website and eCommerce store to sell my frames.
I'm looking up now, a bit foggy from the concentrated effort, and ready to yell, "Ready or not..."
 - half to myself and half to whomever will listen :).

Below, I've included a picture of my three frames together, the story of how they came to be, and  my new website information.  

First the finished project -
Tickled to Tangle Frames by Adele Bruno, CZT
Next, in an effort to inspire others to follow through on their idea(s), here is my story~

As it turns out, it is more than just a story of how an idea turned into a reality.  It is a story that illustrates what anyone can do with an idea:  pay attention to it, believe in it, nurture it, share it, and watch it grow into a reality.

Early in my tangling experience I realized that the commercial market for frames did not support the size of the 3.5" square Zentangle® tiles or the Zendala tiles.   On occasion, I could find one at a craft store, but not the quality I was looking for.  

Determined to design a better alternative, I concentrated on these main points ~

*custom size
*quality material
*ease of use

Quality was paramount to my design.   I sent my initial drawings to my brother Dave and he made the first prototypes from a gorgeous, heavy gauge steel.   He took my sketches and turned them into something I could hold, feel, and admire.  It was permission to pursue the next step, not to mention the affirmation of having someone else believe in my idea.  Because of that, I am forever indebted to him.

Since, on any given day, I tangle multiple tiles, the ease in changing out a display was another consideration.   (When I attended the CZT 10, Molly said that her mother, Zentangle co founder Maria Thomas could tangle up to 15 tiles a day.  I aspire to do that!)  If the frames were made of a quality, magnetic steel, this would be an easy solution.  The right magnets could compliment the artwork they held up for display.

The first ones I ordered were just the right size and shape, but were humorously strong. When I tried to attach a tile to my frame with one, it flew out of my fingers with such a force that it left an imprint in the tile - lesson learned :). 

This is the winning  magnet - a black nickel plated rare earth neodymium magnet.  It has a pull of just over a pound - perfect for the job and very pretty.

As the details of design and production needed to be decided,  I had the good fortune of meeting Joanne Fink of Zenspriations®.  That sentence reads lightly, but I do mean "the good fortune". Joanne is a generous soul and she delights in connecting creative minds.  In a meeting with her and her very knowledgeable assistant, Dawn, and through their questioning, I was able to formulate and focus my business and manufacturing plan.  

Determined to have the frames made locally, and through a lead from Joanne, I found a metal fabricator here in Orlando.  Lessons on the properties and finishes of steel followed, decisions were made, and over the course of a few months, through some trial and error, the frames became a reality.

In late January of this year, my friend Sindy went with me to pick up the freshly coated masterpieces. What a blessing it was to have her there, we were like two giddy school girls on a playground.  

The frames were dangling from hooks along rungs of large wheeled racks.  The deep black matte finish was baked onto the steel and these huge racks were wheeled into a large oven.
This is a photo of me with the shop's owner, Dave, as we inspected the goods ~

It was quite a sight to behold.

In order for the frames to hang on these racks, a small hole had to be drilled into each base.  

That lead to the next step - finishing off the frame with a signature charm.  This was another learning experience spread over a few more months.  I spent countless hours on Google and YouTube learning about jewelry making and stamping.  Eventually, I found Steel Stamps, Inc. and with the help of my daughter Nancy, firmed up my logo art work and ordered a die cut stamping tool.
With hammer in hand, I pounded out the logo charms, added a touch of black to accentuate the logo, and adhered one to the base of each frame.

Sindy ceremoniously purchased the first frame.  She signed only the $5 bill and joked that I might need the $20 to reinvest - and she was right!  

Over the past few months, I have sold more in my classes.  Debbie bought the first Zendala frame ~ 

My friend Tracey Lyon, CZT bought the first Four Tile frame - so exciting!

Lori Byerly was awarded one in a random drawing from entrants of "It's a String Thing" #100 - The Zentennial.  In an email she wrote, " It is a lovely frame display. All my friends were taken with it and hinted about future Christmas gifts."  She also pictured it on her blog.  

The reviews from other purchasers have been as complimentary.

I am happy to announce that my new website is ready: 

It is still a work in progress, but you can find my frames by clicking the SHOP! tab on the top of the main page.

Initially, I am able to fulfill orders from the forty-eight contiguous states.
As an introductory bonus, there is one flat rate for shipping.

Please stop by and take a look.   "Tag you're it!"


  1. How wonderful, and three versions too. I think they are perfect. Your website is great too. As you say you can ship to 48 states I presume that means you can't ship abroad to Ireland. *Sigh*
    I do wish you well in this venture, the detail and finishing looks superb.

    1. Thank you for your good wishes. I wish I could hand deliver one, I'd love to visit Ireland again!

  2. Beautiful frames Adele - and a story of vision and commitment that led to them. Well done! Add product designer to your list of abilities!

  3. Congrats, fellow CZT10! How much is the Flat Rate shipping on the intro order?

    1. How fun that we are classmates! The standard shipping rate is $9.50. You can view the options in the cart.

  4. Congratulations Adele! I saw some of the frames at CanTangle in July and hoped I'd win one as a door prize! I didn't. :( They are lovely, well made, nice materials, and good looking.

    1. That would have been a treat for me too! I treasure the compliments, thank you.

  5. Congratulations! All your hard work is finally producing fruit. I hope you get bazillions of orders. :)

    1. Thank you, Lori. I think that is my new favorite number :)

  6. Congratulations, Adele! I love the idea of attaching a tile to metal with a magnet! That allows so much flexibility! What a GREAT idea. :) As a CZT & avid tangler, my first thought was "I waaant thaat!" followed quickly by this question: Will you consider selling a minimum quantity at a wholesale price to CZTs? I think my students would LOVE these frames!
    Thanks for considering it! Jan Brandt, CZT XII, Reno, NV

    1. Thank you, Jan. Please email me and we can work out the details - great idea!

  7. Congratulations Adele! Beautiful frames! :)

  8. Congrats to you!!! Cant wait to order some!!

  9. So happy for you. The joy of birth...without the pain. And such a great gift idea: birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, home-warmings ... Wednesdays. Know where my next mad money's going! Kuddos.