Super Cheap Zen Garden




Introduction: Super Cheap Zen Garden

About: The author of the GEEK-TO-YOU series: a series of Instructables designed to educate YOU about computers. I am interested in computers, and the world of technology in general. I am pursuing a career in softwa...

Hello! Are you having one of those days where you can't seem to get rid of that headache? Have you already exceeded your ibuprofen pill limit? Well don't fret, this zen garden is here for you. I have designed it so that it can be created from materials I can almost guarantee you have at your fingertips. 

You see, I found my self in a situation like yours not too long ago. I was sitting in algebra, there was still thirty minutes left. How am I going to make it? Well I did, barely. So I decided that would be the last time I would be without a solution. Thus, the paper zen garden was born.


Step 1: Materials

1 sheet of paper (printer, notebook, whatever you have)
1 pencil
fine dirt or sand

Small rocks
construction paper/colored paper (instead of plain paper)
scissors (in order to make neater cuts)

Step 2: The Garden Bed

To begin, we need to make a little box for the dirt to go in.
1) Cut off a strip about one inch wide; this will be for the rake. I creased the piece and then ripped it off. Set the strip aside.

2) Next, cut the paper in half once more, setting one half aside.

3) Fold the piece in half along the long side (hot dog style), then flip it over so the open side faces you.

4) Fold the two edges up about one centimeter, then flip it over again; keep the same edge facing you.

5) Now fold that edge again, a little more than the last fold. Now unfold the whole sheet.

6) Now, fold the the flaps toward the middle, on the second crease.

7) Fold the corners to the first line.

You will need to look at the pictures for the remaining steps. They are hard to explain via text.

Step 3: The Rake

Now you need to find the strip of paper we set aside earlier.

1) Take one end of the strip and set it on the pencil.

2) Roll about 2 cm of the strip around the pencil, then remove it. You should have a nice curve.

3) Draw as line a little bit down from the end of strip (curved end). Refer to the picture.

4) Make six little rips to the line, space them evenly. Fold every other "flap" back. You may need to re-curve the paper throughout these steps.

5) The next step is tricky. Flip the strip over. Now pinch the un-folded flaps so the fold faces the long strip of paper.

6) Once you do that, you will have to fold them down a little and then re-curve the paper.

7) Fold the other end of the paper so that it almost comes to the beginning of the curve. This will make the handle stronger.

8) Pinch the end of the handle, this will make it even stronger.

The rake is complete!

Tip: If you bend the curve back more, it will make it more springy

Step 4: Finishing Up

Now we just need the finishing touches. We need to pick out our "pseudo-sand." This can be what ever you want; dirt, salt, even real sand! I challenge somebody to use snow, that might be cool. I chose some dirt from my driveway. It has tiny rocks in it as well. Make sure that what ever you choose is dry. My dirt was a little bit wet, so I placed it in front of the heater until it was dry. You can also put it on your windowsill provided it is sunny.

After my dirt was dry, I ran it through a strainer to get the bigger pebbles out, and then a small mesh strainer in order to get the small dirt. This dirt is small enough that the paper rake can manipulate it.

Once you have your pseudo-sand, dump it in your paper box. I also picked up a small rock on the way home from school to put in my zen garden. You could also find some pine needles to stick in your dirt to make a mini forest! Now just push and pull the dirt around to get some relaxation. It is a great thing to use when you need to take a quick break from homework or work at the office. It can really take your mind off important things if you concentrate on the movement of the pseudo-sand.

Thank you very much for viewing my Instructable. I hope you put it to good use!


UP! Contest

Participated in the
UP! Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Pocket-Sized Speed Challenge

      Pocket-Sized Speed Challenge
    • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

      Colors of the Rainbow Contest
    • Maps Challenge

      Maps Challenge

    4 Discussions


    6 years ago

    It's really cool I might make mine cooler by putting little army men in there


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks :) Post a picture if you make it!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Clever! Now you won't get too bored! Thanks for sharing your interesting idea! Have a splendorous day!


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you very much for your comment! I appreciate it :)