Holiday Mandala Tutorial

Here’s a fun little tutorial for making a holiday-themed mandala.

I made this one on 5×7 paper so you can use this tutorial to create a handmade holiday card. I used Bristol paper, which you can purchase in card form any art or office supply store. Besides your paper, you’ll need the following:

  • Pencil
  • Fine tip markers (I used Micon to draw the mandala, and Tombow brush pens during the coloring phase)
  • A ruler
  • A compass (or just mad circle-drawing skills)
  • Inktense or watercolor pencils
  1. To make drawing your guidelines easier, first draw lines one inch from the top and one inch from the bottom of your 5×7 paper, creating a 5×5 inch square. (Draw lightly, you’ll be erasing your guidelines later.)

  2. To create your center point, lay your ruler across the width of your paper, make a mark at the halfway point of 2.5, then draw a line that divides your paper in half, vertically. Turn your paper and do the whole thing again, drawing a line that divides your paper horizontally (3.5 inches from the top and bottom).
  3. Create two more guidelines by drawing lines from corner to corner of your square, passing through your center point.
  4. Place your ruler edge against the center line that divides your paper in half horizontally; line it up so that your center point is at 2.5 inches. Then, make tick marks at 3.5, 4, and 4.5 inches. You’ll use these tick marks to draw your circles.
  5. Use a compass to draw your mandala circles, by placing the point of your compass on center, and adjusting the width so that the lead passes through each of your tick marks.
  6. Draw a bow at the top of your mandala. (It’s a good time to start using a pen now so you can simply erase your pencil lines later, but if you’re not comfortable with that, you can draw your mandala in pencil first, and then ink over your lines at the end.)
  7. Use your guidelines to draw pointed petals outside your first circle, as I’ve done here.
  8. Draw rounded petals between each of the pointed petals you drew in Step 7.
  9. Using your guidelines again, draw 3-berry clusters on the sides and bottom of your outer circle.
  10. Add holly leaves to each cluster.

  11. Fill the rest of your oustide circles with thin, rounded petals. Draw them in behind the holly and the bow you’ve already drawn.
  12. Before we erase the pencil lines, trace over the circles of your mandala. (It’s easier to draw the circles once you’ve filled them with patterns.)
  13. Now erase all your pencil lines.
  14. Write a word or phrase in your center circle. Because the space is small, I chose “joy.” (I also added a circle just inside the smallest circle, so I can color that inner band in later.)
  15. Add whatever little details you’d like. I added lines to the outer petals, and droplet shapes in the middle of each rounded petal.  (I also added a little dividing line in each of the pointed petals, which you can see in the next photo.)
  16. For this mandala, I used Inktense pencils, which work like watercolor pencils, but are a little more vibrant.
  17. Color your mandala however you’d like. (If you’re using Inktense pencils for the first time, go light. You can always add more later, but ink doesn’t lift out like watercolor, so it’s best to start out light and add more color if you need to.)
  18. As with watercolor pencils, Inktense color comes alive when you add water. Remember to clean your brush before moving to a new color.

  19. There are lots of ways to shade and add depth with ink and watercolor pencils. One of the easiest is to wet your brush, lift color from the pencil tip, and then paint it directly onto your mandala.
  20. You can see that’s what I’ve done here with the blue and green petals of the mandala. I also used a red Tombow pen to color in the ribbon and the inner circle.
  21. At the end, for balance, I used a Tombow pen to darken up the green on the very outer edge of my mandala.

And that’s it! Hope you had fun!