Mandala Dot Art Tutorial

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Mandala Dot designs are full of color, whimsy and just plain FUN!  During our Corona stay-cations, we could all use a little color, fun, and relaxation in our lives!  So, here’s how to get started with Mandala Dots.  And, let me give you a fair warning that once you master the four dotting techniques explained below, creating Mandala dot designs can be quite satisfying and admittedly a bit addicting!

First, gather your supplies.  I love to use the EZ Dotz tool in my studio, which is a fabulous wheel with four spokes in different sizes.  Each spoke makes a different sized dot.  I sell them online at if you’d like to spoil yourself, but if this is your first time attempting mandala dotting, grab a few brushes with different sized handles.  You can dip the end of your brush handles into the paint to create your dots.

I am creating my sample on a ceramic tile using Duncan Concepts underglaze colors that get fired in the kiln.  But mandala dots can be created on things you have handy around the house, too.  Look around for a smooth rock, a brick, or a wooden box — anything that will work well with the types of paints you have at home.  I recommend acrylic craft paints for brilliant color and because they are fast drying.

Now, let’s roll up our sleeves and consider the four basic dotting techniques that we will use to make our design (pictured below).

  1. Crown – This is created with one large dot at the center and sequentially smaller dots down the sides in a crown shape.  This technique is used to make flower petals.
  2. Same Size Dots – Dots of the same size are made by dipping your tool in the paint and applying one dot to your surface, then repeating. Dip, dot, dip, dot.  This makes sure that you have the same amount of paint on your tool each time.
  3. A Crescendo of Dots – You dip your tool in paint, then make a series of dots without re-dipping your tool in more paint.  Less paint is on the tool with each dot, so they sequentially get smaller.
  4. Double Dipping – Once a larger dot is dry, you add a second, smaller dot of a different color to it as an accent!  This adds intricacy to your design and is usually my last step!
Mandala Dot Techniques
The four mandala dotting techniques.

Practice the four dotting techniques on a scrap piece of paper with your tools to become familiar with them!  Once you feel confident, you can begin by sketching the bones of your composition as explained in Step 1 below.

Mandala Dots Step 1
Step 1: Mark the center of your piece with a pencil. Use a ruler to lightly lines dividing your piece into 8 equal sections.
Mandala Dots Step 2
Step 2: Select a colorful palette of 5-7 different colors. You only need a small dime-sized drop of paint of each color. Choose both light and dark colors. The Dark colors work great to outline your shape and the light colors are perfect for adding accents!
Mandala Dots Step 3
Step 3: Use your dot making tool to add a large dot in the center. Next add a row of smaller dots on each pencil spoke. Last add a row of small dots inside each pizza pie shaped section.
Mandala Dots Step 4
Step 4: Create a crown shape inside each section. The largest dot sits high and centered while each dot there after is sequentilaly smaller. You want to create a flower petal shape.
Mandala Dots Step 5
Step 5: Add different colored layers of crowns to create a larger petal. For the most impact, use your darkest color on the outside of the flower petal to give it a nice outline. Use smaller dots and lighter colors to add accents to the outside of your flower design. And lastly, emphasize some of the larger dots by adding a smaller dot of a different color in the center of them.

It is only natural that every mandala dot design looks a bit different!  If this is your first time trying this technique, give yourself some grace as you are learning!  Mistakes often get hidden in the intricacy of the design, and it is handmade, so it is not supposed to be perfect!  Most important is to enjoy yourself!  It is a luxury to have time to create art.  If your life has changed dramatically from the COVID crisis, then maybe the best lesson from this epidemic is to slow down and enjoy life a bit more!  Happy painting!

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