Directions to Make a Labyrinth

Few things are more rewarding than to create a labyrinth and walk it afterwards. The love and care that go into the building - and in the walking - add to the transformative benefits of the labyrinth.

This part of the website will teach you how to make your own labyrinth. Currently, we have just directions for the Masking Tape Chartres Labyrinth. In the future, we will be adding Baltic, Classical, and Concentric labyrinth directions as well as tips for use of materials and other information to help you in your labyrinth-building efforts.

1 Making a Masking Tape Chartres Labyrinth

These instructions show you how to lay out a Chartres labyrinth with masking tape. For detailed instructions on creating a masking tape applicator, visit the Labyrinth Enterprises website. However, you can just as easily use stones or other materials. If you want to draw a Chartres labyrinth on canvas, you will need to know additional techniques which are available in our manual, Constructing a Chartres Labyrinth.

Masking tape labyrinths will be irregular and rustic in appearance, which is part of their charm. I think you will find when you are finished, you will be impressed by the work of art you have created. With a few volunteers, a flat surface and a generous supply of masking tape, it is possible to construct a labyrinth in under two hours. The best floor surface is cement. Vinyl or ceramic tile, terrazzo, or short-nap commercial-grade carpeting are also generally acceptable. Wooden floors are not usually suitable, as the tape can damage the finish.

Size is a consideration only with regards to the size of the space and the amount of tape. I use 60-yard rolls of three-inch-wide masking tape. For small labyrinths, two-inch-wide tape may be sufficient. A large labyrinth could use 15 to 20 rolls of tape, at a cost of five dollars each (total: $75-$100). Gaffers tape is probably more suitable, since it doesn't leave any residue, but it is very expensive. Vinyl tapes have the advantage of being able to stretch, which is helpful when making circles. But when all is said and done, I have always used masking tape

The above photograph shows a 104-foot-wide masking tape labyrinth made for First Night St. Louis, on New Year's Eve, 1998. We used 25 rolls of tape. I suggest buying plenty of tape, open them as you need them, and return what you don't use. It is frustrating to run out of tape in the middle of making the labyrinth, leaving volunteers standing around idle.

Besides masking tape, you will need a measuring rope (or tape measure) that is three or four feet longer than the radius of your labyrinth and a ruler or yardstick. An old-fashioned plumber's plunger is also helpful, for reasons that will shortly become apparent. The surface of the floor needs to be dry and clean or the tape won't stick. You may wish to supply kneepads to your volunteers, as they will spend a lot of time crawling around the floor.