Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Barns and Barntangles! - by Deborah Gregg

Hi everyone, it's Deborah again this week. I thought I'd just share a little bit about 'Barntangles' today, as they are such a lot of fun and are great to incorporate into Bible Art Journaling!

For those who might not already know about this, Barntangles are simply doodles and patterns, like in the header at the top of this blog and the Bible Art Journaling UK Facebook Group page. They are usually done in black ink on white background but really, there are no rules, so feel free to use colours and whatever pens or other art and craft mediums you like! Some patterns are very easy, others more intricate, but they are usually easy to learn and really fun to do.

So why do some of us call them 'Barntangles'? They are fashionably and more commonly known as Zentangles (TM). However - I personally don't like the restrictions and 'rules' around official Zentangles (TM). And as a Christian I'm wary of anything 'zen' due to Buddhist and Far Eastern philosophy connotations. But doodling - well I'm afraid I can't see how anyone can trademark that! People have been doodling and drawing patterns since cave paintings and pyramids...

So, it was at the very first Bible Art Journaling for Beginners Workshop that I ran from my home, that I asked my lovely bunch of new Journalers for ideas of what we could call it, when a group of Christians get together to Bible Art Journal together? As a scrapbooker, I would sometimes go along to a 'Crop' to meet up and craft with friends, and I thought that 'Bible Art Journaling Gathering' just wasn't punchy enough!
The group chose the name 'BARN', and the acronym stands for: 
I love that so much! Isn't that exactly what Bible Art Journaling is all about, reflective nourishment of our souls, along with relaxation of our minds and bodies, and encouragement in our spirits, especially as we share with one another. So we can go along to a BARN event. If there isn't already a group near you, why not invite a friend over and BARN together, and start a little BARN group?

*Please feel free not to use 'BARN' if you prefer another name! I just wanted to explain what it is, and where it comes from and what it means, in case you hear some of us talking about BARNs or Barntangles*

So to finally get to the point (thank you if you are still reading....!) - that's why some of us like to call our Zentangle style doodles when used in Bible Art Journaling: 'Barntangles'.

And here's some Barntangles I drew at a BARN!

I find that they can be a great way to think about a verse, as you doodle while praying and dwelling on something that God has shown you from His Word, it really helps you to relax and reflect on the passage. It sinks in.

You can learn Barntangle patterns from the internet, sites like Pinterest or www.tanglepatterns.com have hundreds of patterns and step by step instructions to try them out. By the way, the official patterns all have funny names (like Mooka and Cadent!), it doesn't really matter but it can sometimes help you to find them. I have a little notebook with squared paper, that I use to practice new patterns and copy out the instructions, then I can refer to this when Barntangling a verse or page in my journal or Journaling Bible.

Be free to create however you like. It can be great to Barntangle the backgrounds around lettering, like in the group header 'JESUS', which is one of my journal pages.

Or you could Barntangle the letters themselves, like this page:

Or shapes and line drawings can be filled with Barntangle patterns to use as decorations.

I personally like the black on white or coloured background, but I have seen beautiful artwork from some of you using coloured pens in your Barntangling - please just have a go however you want to, and post pictures in the group!

I'll close with a challenge:
If anyone feels inspired, please try to come up with some 'Christian/Bible themed' Barntangle patterns and post instructions on how to draw them in the group! I know that would really bless us in our Bible Art Journaling, as we spend time reflecting and being nourished by God's Word.

Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Love in Christ,


  1. Great post Deborah, and love your pages. I find doodling like this very meditative and an opportunity to think over and over about the words

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  3. This is a great post and I love how you've used Barntangling on the lettering of "fear vs faith". I my girls have come upwith lots of original patterns, so I think we can meet your challenge :-)