Mandalas are circular designs with repeating shapes and they often hold spiritual significance. The word “mandala” comes from the Sanskrit word for circle. Many people find drawing mandalas to be a very centering and expressive activity. To draw your own, sketch a template of concentric circles, and then play around with adding organic shapes and geometric patterns.

Method 1 of 3:
Setting up the Structure

  1. 1
    Pick a center point in the middle of a page. If you’re going to want to watercolor your mandala at the end, use watercolor paper. Otherwise, regular sketching paper or even printer paper is fine. Pick a point that’s roughly in the center of the page. It doesn’t have to be exact, but the closer the better.[1]
    • Mark the point in the center with pencil so that you can erase it later.
  2. 2
    Use a compass to draw concentric circles around the point. If you don’t have a compass, you can make one by tying a piece of string to a pencil. Hold the end of the string at your center point, and drag the pencil around to draw a perfect circle. Continue drawing larger and larger circles with bigger bits of string.[2]
    • The circles don’t have to be evenly spaced. Some can be farther away from others. They are just a template that will help you later.
  3. 3
    Trace round things to make circles if you prefer. If you don’t want to use a compass or a string, just trace round things. Start by placing a small round thing, like a jar, centered at your center point. Trace around it with a pencil. Then remove the jar, place a bowl on the paper, and trace around that.[3]
    • Continue until you have made circles that fill up most of the paper, but stop before they are big enough to touch the edges.
  4. 4
    Draw axes across your circles in pencil. With a ruler, draw lines going through the center point of your paper. Draw two lines pointing in the compass directions, and then two lines cutting diagonally across, evenly spaced. This will form eight symmetrical triangles coming from the center point. You will erase these lines later, but in the meantime they can help you line up your shapes symmetrically around your center point.[4]
    • If you want your mandala to look more organic and less symmetrical, you can skip drawing these guiding lines.

Method 2 of 3:
Drawing Your Design

  1. 1
    Draw one shape in a ring around your center point. This could mean a ring of flower petals, a ring of triangles, or something else. The shapes should touch the first concentric circle that you penciled in around the center. This will make sure that they are all the same size.[5]
    • You can use a pen if you’re feeling bold, or you can use a pencil and go over your design later in pen.
  2. 2
    Continue drawing concentric rings of shapes. Experiment with different kinds of shapes. If you’ve done a bunch of flower-petal looking things, try some triangles or ovals. You can also put in a ring that is just a circle, to divide the inner and outer parts of your mandala, if you’d like.[6]
    • Your shapes can overlap with each other, if you’d like.
    • Your rings can be different sizes. Some can be very thin and intricate, and some can be big.
  3. 3
    Let loose and relax. As you build your mandala out from the center, try not to think or worry too hard about what you’re doing, and get into a calm, creative flow. Focus on your breathing, and your in-the-moment feeling of drawing a mandala.[7]
    • Mandala-making can be a very centering exercise, if you approach it in a relaxed way. There is no such thing as a mistake in a mandala, there is just the unexpected.
  4. 4
    Stop making rings before you hit the edge of your paper. This will leave some white space around the whole outside of your mandala, which will make it look calmer than if the design extended off the page. Remember, the outside ring of your mandala, like the other rings, does not have to be a perfect circle.[8]
    • For example, if your last ring has been flower petals, then your mandala edges will be scalloped.

Method 3 of 3:
Finishing up Your Mandala

  1. 1
    Trace over your design in pen if you drew it in pencil. As you trace, experiment with making thinner and thicker lines. Varying the line weight can add visual interest and a sense of depth to your mandala. You can switch to a different pen with a heavier weight of ink, or just press down harder, depending on your pen.[9]
    • If you’ve already drawn the mandala in ink, you can skip this step.
  2. 2
    Add fine details within the shapes. At this point, you’ve drawn all the shapes that you need for your mandala, but you can make your design even more intricate by drawing extra details inside your shapes. Try adding small circles, or leaves, or draw patterns like diagonal lines inside some of your shapes. For a cohesive look, add the designs symmetrically.[10]
    • Tear-drops and diamonds are tiny designs that are easy to draw and look intricate.
  3. 3
    Erase your pencil markings once you’ve inked your mandala. Now that you’ve finished drawing your mandala design in ink, it’s time to get rid off the template of circles you drew at the beginning in pencil. Make sure that the ink has dried before you start erasing, so that you don’t smudge the ink.[11]
    • Gently wipe away your eraser shavings so that they don’t get stuck to your paper.
    • You may want to photocopy your mandala before you color it in, so that you can color it in many different times, or give copies to your friends to color.
  4. 4
    Color in your mandala, if you’d like. You can choose to just leave the mandala a simple black and white design, but it can also be quite fun to color it in. You can color in different sections of your mandala with patterns or solid sections of color.[12]
    • Use watercolor for a light, gentle look. Just keep in mind that watercolor can easily bleed over lines if you aren’t used to painting with it.
    • Use colored pencil, crayons, or markers if you prefer.

Community Q&A

Add New Question
  • Question
    What if I am using a marker and cannot draw the details properly?
    Community Answer
    You need to get a pencil. You can draw the details in pencil first, just visible enough so you can see them, color your mandala and then go over your pencil lines with an ultra-fine Sharpie.
  • Question
    Do I have to be good at drawing?
    Community Answer
    No. As you're working in sections, it's basically just making consistent marks in a pattern. You can start as simple as you like. It just looks more complicated when you see it come together. So long as you pick a mark that you're happy with, you can do the same a few times over, then you're off to a good start!
  • Question
    How do I draw a straight line without a ruler?
    Community Answer
    You can use anything with a straight edge, like a book, to draw your line.
  • Question
    Can I just throw it all away if I mess up?
    Community Answer
    It would depend on the mistake, and if you're capable of erasing it. If you have a good eraser with you, you can just make it go away, and try again until you make a mark you like. If you dislike the whole mandala, you can throw it away, but that's wasting paper, your time, and your efforts, so I wouldn't recommend it.
  • Question
    How do I copy it if I don't have a copy machine?
    Community Answer
    Take a photo, then put that photo through an app such as Lorelai or Colourscape, which both let you turn a photo into a digital coloring page.
  • Question
    How do I draw a mandala using letters?
    Community Answer
    Draw a letter, leave it blank, and decorate the sheet with mandala designs. Your letter will pop out, as it is the only thing blank and plain.
  • Question
    What does this mandala mean?
    Community Answer
    It is a circular figure that represents the universe in Hindu and Buddhist symbolism.
  • Question
    Do I have to use a compass?
    Community Answer
    No, you don't. You can use any round object you can find.
  • Question
    I am trying to make one, but how do I color things?
    Community Answer
    Use the color feature. There should be one.
  • Question
    How do I fill in blank areas in a mandala?
    Community Answer
    Use patterns such as chevrons, swirls, stripes, polka dots, or just plain solid.
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      • Draw lightly with a pencil so you can erase it if you make a mistake.
      • The finer the drawing tool, the more refined and detailed your mandala will be. Crayons give a much cruder appearance than fine markers.

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      Things You'll Need

      • Blank paper
      • Compass (optional)
      • Round jars to trace (optional)
      • Ruler
      • Pencil
      • Eraser
      • Water colors, water, paintbrush (optional)
      • Markers or crayons (optional)

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      About This Article

      wikiHow Staff
      Co-authored by
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      This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards. This article has been viewed 522,253 times.
      66 votes - 80%
      Co-authors: 34
      Updated: June 18, 2020
      Views: 522,253
      Article SummaryX

      To draw a mandala, first draw a dot in the center of your page. Then, attach your pencil to a drawing compass. Stick the needle on top of your dot and draw a sequence of concentric circles around the dot that get progressively bigger. You may find it easier to rotate the paper instead of turning the compass to draw your circles. Line a straight edge up with the center dot. Use your straight edge to draw 10-12 symmetrical lines running vertically and horizontally through the center dot. Once you have a grid-like sequence of circles and lines, start adding your shapes by drawing a pattern within the area closest to the center dot. Draw a small set of matching circles, lines, triangles, or waves around the center dot. Use the concentric circles as the baseline for each new set of shapes. As you get further away from the center, make your patterns and shapes progressively larger. Let your mind wander freely and instinctively add shapes as you find negative space that you want to fill. To finish your mandala, color your individual shapes in with markers or colored pencil. Use the same color or pattern to fill in smaller shapes in incremental patterns. Reuse some of the colors you used on the smaller shapes to color some of your larger shapes. The more colors you use, the more dynamic and impressive your mandala will look! Continue adding color until you've filled in all of the blank spaces. Outline your shapes with a black marker if you want to give them some definition.

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      Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 522,253 times.

      Reader Success Stories

      • GR

        Gilbert Ramos

        Mar 21

        "It allowed me to understand the layout and visual process for creating such beautiful, detailed designs. I look forward to creating my Mandalas for relaxation time."..." more
      • LR

        Lee Raab

        Mar 28, 2016

        "I knew nothing about mandalas. This article will help me to draw them and make them, thanks to the step-by-step instructions."..." more
      • SI

        Sabrina Ivy

        Mar 27, 2018

        "I never knew how to draw mandalas. I just drew one, and my little sister enjoys it. she is telling me to make more."
        Rated this article:
      • LW

        Laura Wilson

        Aug 17, 2019

        "Explains stage by stage what to do. Very easy-to-follow and reassuring guidance."
      • AR

        Atila Rua

        Jun 30, 2017

        "Very nice! Ideal for beginners, It will surely be useful for many days to come!"
      • FizzyRizzi

        Dec 7, 2017

        "Thank you! I doodle them all the time now."
      • Alex Yularzhi

        Dec 1, 2017

        "It picked up my grade in college. "
        Rated this article:
      • ZB

        Zavy Benjamin

        May 27, 2018

        "It helped me a lot, thank you."
        Rated this article:
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