Museum Hours
Thu: 1 PM–8 PM
Fri–Mon: 10 AM–5 PM
Tue–Wed: Closed
200 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Create a Floating Mandala

Consisting of nested geometric shapes, a mandala is a symbolic map of the universe that serves as a meditation tool for Buddhists. The meditator focuses on the mandala and then visualizes entering it, taking a mental journey to the center. The act of creating a mandala can be a meditative experience, as well. Making repeating patterns can be a calming practice that keeps the artist focused and centered.


  1. Collect flowers, leaves, and grasses of different sizes and colors.
  2. Fill a large bowl or plant pot with water, stopping right before the rim.
  3. Begin to arrange the mandala, start by placing the largest flower in the middle.
  4. Use the other flowers, leaves, and grasses to create concentric circles around that central flower.
  5. Keep adding materials until the water’s surface is covered.
  6. Look closely at your resulting mandala – what new details do you discover? Try meditating with your mandala – how does focusing on its shapes, colors, and patterns make you feel?