Many people find art and self-expression relaxing, but as any professional artist will tell you, relaxation is not baked into the cake. You might be trying to paint your masterpiece or satisfy the exacting demands of a high-paying client. Every touch of the brush to the canvas could permanently alter the trajectory of, or even ruin, the whole project. That’s anything but relaxing. Some artists may need a meditation break just to achieve enough zen calm to start making brushstrokes.
What is missing from that kind of exercise in high-pressure artistry? Impermanence. Perspective. The art of letting go.
Buddha boards harness the zen of letting go by allowing you to create beauty that won’t last. Better than an Etch-a-Sketch, it’s like the original SnapChat but way more relaxing with no social competitiveness!
On a Buddha board, no brush stroke is permanent. It is designed to fade. Whether you paint images of shattering beauty, juvenile sketches, or outrageous ugliness, within moments the Buddha board will be blank again. As implacable as the turning of the world, the Buddha board moves on. Like the gift of each new day, it is ready for you to paint a new image on a blank canvas.
Buddha boards are made of an ingenious cardboard blend that is white when dry, dark when damp. By painting the board with a brush wet with simple tap water, you can create soft black images in whatever pattern or abstract form suits you. As the Buddha board dries, the image fades.
This makes a Buddha board the perfect tool to center yourself in the middle of a stressful day, to have a little artistic expression in your day that is yours and no-one else’s, without the consequence of permanence. You can paint doodles, sketches, pictures, words, blessings, curses, whatever strikes you in the moment and lowers your blood pressure. Buddha boards are all about living in the moment and then moving on to the next moment.
The best part—if your Buddha board sketch happens to be a masterpiece, you can always snap a quick cell phone pic of it!
Add a little impermanent beauty to your home or office. Here are our picks for the 12 best Buddha boards you can buy in 2021.
1- The Original BUDDHA BOARD
The Original BUDDHA BOARD:Relaxing Water Painting with Bamboo Brush & Stand, Mindfulness & Meditation Practice, Environmentally Friendly.Zen Concept Live in The Moment. Master The Art of letting go.
$24.99 in stock
8 used from $20.34
- THE ORIGINAL BUDDHA BOARD: Here's the original, genuine, superior quality, authentic Buddha Board, made with only the finest high-quality materials. NO BUBBLING, NO PEELING. Count on it. Our Amazon reviews speak for themselves. The one & only Buddha Board.
- Easy to Use: Simply fill the stand with water. Then dip in the bamboo brush (included) & start drawing, painting & writing. You'll create soft, beautiful images with a rich, inky Japanese look. Appreciate your creation in the moment, and then as the water evaporates and your masterpiece slowly fades away, practice the art of letting go.
- To show our commitment to quality, Original Buddha Board include a manufacturer’s warranty that covers defects. This warranty is non-transferrable and only valid to the original buyer for purchases made directly from Buddha Board Inc. when purchased on Amazon. (Zen River Rocks sold seperately)
- Relaxing Mindfulness: As the water evaporates, your newly created images will disappear. Result: a "blank slate" for starting over fresh. Great way to learn the Zen art of living in the moment. · Ages: Five and up /Your complete kit includes our 12" x 9.5" Buddha Board, sturdy stand which also holds water & bamboo brush.
- Buddha Board is inspired by the Zen idea of living in the moment. You simply ‘paint’ on the surface with water and your creation will come to life in bold design. Then, as the water slowly evaporates, your art will magically disappear leaving you with a clean slate, ready to create a whole new masterpiece. Environmentally friendly as it only uses water - no ink, no paint, no chemicals - and it will last for years with proper care. Master the art of letting go...live in the moment and enjoy!
This is the Buddha board that started it all, the original article. The 12-inch-by-9-inch cardboard “canvas” mounts at an angle into a slot above the water reservoir, with another slot in the reservoir for the included bamboo brush. Simply pour water into the reservoir and it’s ready to use. If you like, you can add an extra soothing and natural touch by filling the reservoir with smooth river rocks.
The bamboo brush creates soft-edged, arresting black images reminiscent of the Japanese calligraphy that inspired the board. It’s suitable for children ages five and up, and durable enough to last years with proper care. Enjoy images crafted for the moment, not for the masses, and feel your cares and troubles start to fade away along with the drying, fading images.
2- Buddha Board Enso
Buddha Board Enso Drawing Board
1 used from $19.48
- Superior Quality: Here's the genuine, authentic Buddha Board Enso, made with only the finest high-quality materials. NO BUBBLING, NO PEELING. Count on it.
- Easy to Use: Simply fill the water brush with water (refillable handle) & start drawing, painting & writing. You'll create soft, beautiful images with a rich, inky Japanese look. Appreciate your creation in the moment, and then as the water evaporates and your masterpiece slowly fades away, practice the art of letting go.
- Environmentally friendly and lasts for years with proper care. Ages: Five and up. Your complete kit includes our 10" x 10" Enso, sturdy stand (board and case) & water brush (refillable handle).
- Relaxing Mindfulness: As the water evaporates for the canvas, your newly created images will disappear. Result: a "blank slate" for starting over fresh. Great way to learn the ancient Zen art of living in the moment.
- Makes a Great Gift: Everyone from right brain creative artists to left brain analytical executives can appreciate the beauty and simplicity of the Enso.
For people who want to take their Buddha board relaxation on the go, Buddha Board presents the Enso. You can’t exactly tuck a Buddha board reservoir full of water into a backpack or satchel, unless you don’t mind a soaking-wet backpack or satchel.
The Enso solves this problem by introducing a reservoir to the brush. Water is stored in a container in the brush’s handle to continually dampen the bristles. The Enso pairs this brush with a 10-inch-by-10-inch cardboard canvas that can be dampened many times without bubbling or peeling. The canvas folds into a steel enclosure that fits into any carrying case. Take care of it, and it will provide expressive relaxation for years.
Fun fact—“Enso” comes from the word “ensō,” Japanese for “circular form” and often used to refer to the “Zen circle,” a circle drawn with one continuous brush stroke. The Zen circle is one of the most popular images to draw on a Buddha board. It represents the state of being alive to the moment, free to let creativity flow.
3- Buddha Board Mini
Buddha Board Mini Buddha Board, 5 x 5 x 1/2-Inch, White (Special Mindfulness Edition)
- Simply draw on the surface with water. The water evaporates leaving you with a clean slate, ready to create all over again!
- Mini Buddha Board is ideal for relaxation, mindfulness and having fun too! Doodle. Scribble. Draw cartoons. Play with different effects. Just let go and enjoy.
- It's eco-friendly and reusable. Just add water!
- Mini Buddha Board (5" high x 5" wide x 0.5" thick) Portable Mini Buddha Board that folds into its own small easel stand Premium mini paintbrush with thick, ultra-soft bristles
The Buddha Board Mini takes the portability of the Buddha Board Enso to the next level. It takes the idea of the metal enclosure (available in special-edition “mindfulness” white) and shrinks it down to a compact 5-inch-by-5-inch canvas and carrying case. Pair this with the Enso’s self-moistening brush, and you have a Buddha board mini that fits into even the smallest of spaces.
This self-contained easel-and-canvas design can be set up on a desk, in a park, on an airplane, anywhere you need a little peace of mind and ephemeral expression. The reservoir brush fits easily into a TSA-compliant plastic ziplock baggie for liquids.
4- Creative Mark Dream Board for Water Painting Meditation & Stress Relief
Creative Mark Dream Board for Water Painting Meditation & Stress Relief - Includes Artist Bamboo Paintbrush & Stand
- One water painting boards that requires no paints and erases itself as it dries
- To use fill the stand with water then dip in the included bamboo paintbrush and start drawing, painting or writing; it will create soft, beautiful images with a rich, inky Japanese look, then as the water evaporates your masterpiece will slowly fade away
- Perfect for art practice, mindfulness practices, creative relaxation, or as a general stress reducer; a great gift for practicing artists
- The paper is of high quality that will not bubble up or peel and is mounted to the ABS polymer board; the included bamboo painting brush allows you to create varying degrees of black across a middle tone grey background
- The mini measures 5.31 x 5.79 inches, the regular sized measures 9.45 x 11.81 inches; both include an artist bamboo paintbrush and stand; 90-day warranty
Creative Mark offers both a 9.45-inch-by-11.81-inch dream board, as well as a compact folding 5.31-inch-by-5.79-inch portable board. We recommend getting the bundle that contains both. For so little extra money out of pocket, it represents a superior value. You can keep the larger dream board with its water reservoir on your desk, and take the smaller folding easel board on the road with you in your backpack or carrying case.
Both cardboard drawing surfaces are made of high-quality ABS polymer, resistant to peeling and bubbling. Each unit comes with its own bamboo brush to paint beautiful, temporary images in non-toxic, fume-free water on either dream board.
5- AOVOA Repeatable Water Drawing Board
AOVOA Repeatable Water Drawing Board, Water Painting Board with Bamboo Brush and Stand, Inkless Water Drawing Set for Painting, Sketching, Relaxation Meditation Art and Mindfulness (L)
- This Buddha meditation board uses water as paint: just fill the stand with water, then dip in the brush to start your creation. You can also using the refillable brush by adding water in it. As the water evaporates, your newly created images will slowly fade away, it can be used over and over again.
- Comes with 4 different sizes of brushes, 2 classical bamboo brush and 2 refillable brushes, capable of creating different lines and effects.
- Each watery brushstroke will create an inky black image, much like watercolor art. You'll be delighted by the beautiful results.
- As you draw or write on your water drawing board and watch the images disappear, you'll feel stress slipping away, you’ll feel calm and peaceful all over. Try it and enjoy the good energy and calmness it brings to your life!
- No special skill or training required, fun and creative for any artistic level. It’s a perfect gift for your loved ones: anyone who need to relieve stress, love painting or calligraphy; also a great tool to inspire children’s creativity.
The extra-large water artistic board by AOVOA comes with both a bamboo brush and two refillable reservoir brushes. The board itself mounts on a reservoir stand perfect for a desk or counter top, which you can fill with stones or plants and dip the brush into. Or you can keep your water-paint in one of the refillable brushes. The refillable brushes are perfect if you want to take your water-drawing board canvas on the road. Images drawn on the repeatable water drawing board fade as the water evaporates, a zen representation of the impermanence of existence.
6- Zenbience Artist Board Water Painting Set
Zenbience Artist Board Water Painting Set- with Large 12x9.5” Canvas, Stylish Felt Carry Bag, Stand, Bamboo Brush & Additional Water Brush for Stress Relief, Relaxation & Mindfulness
- MEDITATIVE RELAXATION - To inspire creativity and release anxiety. The temporary image that fades when water dries beautifully demonstrates the Buddhist principle of a constantly transforming world where few things are permanent. Don't sweat the small stuff. It will all be better tomorrow.
- DRAW WITH JUST WATER - No paints, pencils, ink and markers needed. The Zenbience Artist Board lets you draw amazing creations with only water, then your image disappears when water dries. Perfect for adults and children. Much larger 12x9.5” over smaller versions sold elsewhere.
- EVERYTHING YOU NEED - Included in this complete set. You get a stylish felt carry bag for easy, convenient transport and storage. We also provide a stand to securely hold the drawing board, bamboo drawing brush, and additional no-cost water brush that holds water inside. Lets you take just the board and the water brush for simplified use anywhere.
- SAFE WITH NO HARSH INGREDIENTS - As found in markers, paint, and other types of art supplies. This is the eco-friendly art set that uses water only with no need for paper or other materials. You don't need to store completed art as it's only temporary. Show your work to friends and family, take a few pictures, then enjoy as it fades ready for a new creation.
- 100% MONEY BACK GUARANTEE - Ensures this will quickly become your favorite no-risk purchase. Many people are stocking up with several of these to have one at home, one in the car, and another at work. Get yours now while we have this very popular art set in plentiful supply. This makes a fine birthday gift, holiday present, anniversary gift, or wedding gift idea.
Zenbiance offers one of the most complete and self-contained packages in the water-drawing board space. Their extra-large 12-inch-by-9.5-inch water drawing board comes with a dedicated canvas carrying case which you can use to take your drawing board anywhere you might care to use it. In addition to the water-reservoir desktop stand and bamboo brush, it also comes with a water-reservoir refillable brush, which allows you to use the water painting board even if you don’t want to bring the hefty reservoir with you.
Zenbiance backs this artist board with a 100% money-back guarantee.
7- Nirvikalpa Samadhi Board: Water Drawing Set for Painting
Samadhi Board: Water Drawing Set for Painting, Sketching & Meditation with Natural Wood Brush & Yogic Stand - Adults & Kids
1 used from $25.20
- Samadhi Board: made with only the finest high-quality materials. A beautiful peace for every home and office.
- Simple Setup: Just fill the stand with water. Then dip in the bamboo brush (included) & start drawing, painting & writing. You'll create stunning images with a thick, professional look. Admire your creation in the present and practice the art of letting go as your work of art slowly fades away.
- Meditative Relaxation: Your newly created images will fade away as the water evaporates providing a "fresh canvas" for starting over anew. Effortless way to learn the ancient Yogic art of presence.
- Ages: 5+ Your complete kit includes our Samadhi Board, solid stand & bamboo brush.
Nirvikalpa brands its version of the Buddha board after samadhi, a powerful state of focus and enlightenment and the highest state of consciousness recognized in Hindu yoga. Interestingly, samadhi is strongly associated with the state of peace achieved at, or just before, death.
Celebrating a state of consciousness before death seems thoroughly appropriate for an artist’s canvas created specifically for images designed to disappear. Not only is the moment fleeting, not only are feelings fleeting, but life itself is fleeting. The Nirvikalpa Samadhi Board invites users not to fear endings, but to make peace with them and even welcome them as doorways into something new and perhaps higher.
The Samadhi Board comes with a bamboo brush and desktop reservoir stand.
8- Mini Buddha Board, Pink
Mini Buddha Board, 5-inch x 5-inch, Pink
- 5 x 5
- Simply draw on the surface with water. The water evaporates leaving you with a clean slate, ready to create all over again!
- Will last for years and is
- Small brush included
- Inside section to write a message
The Mini Buddha Board is available in several colors, including natural steel and meditation white. If you want to add a little fabulous pizzazz to your meditative water drawing, Buddha Board also offers this signature, portable product in pleasing pink. Not only is the steel housing of this built-in carrying case/easel colored pink, but so is the cardboard drawing board itself. With the pink Mini Buddha Board, you can make your temporary drawings on a backdrop not of pure white, but of pleasing pink.
The Mini Buddha Board functions the same as its less colorful counterparts in every other way. It comes with a refillable water-reservoir brush, perfect for portable Buddha board drawing sessions without the necessity of a separate reservoir stand. The soft, dark images on the pink 5-inch-by-5-inch board fade as the water dries, wiping away both your mistakes and your brilliance to a blank canvas ready for a new day, a new moment, a new rosy thought.
9- Zen Life Zen Artist Board
Zen Artist Board, Fusion, Paint with Water Relaxation Meditation Art, Relieve Stress, Small Travel Size Magic Drawing Watercolor with Brush
- PRACTICE the teachings of Buddha with the development of inner peace and happiness
- RELAXING, CALMING. Paint with water and watch the image disappear
- ECO-FRIENDLY - No paint, no mess, no fumes. Re-use over and over again. Refillable water brush, no water bowl required.
- LARGE SIZE. Board measures 9" by 7", plenty of space to unleash your creativity!
- PERFECT FOR TRAVEL. Includes flip open painting board with case, refillable brush, and instructions
Zen Life makes a water art board with a 12-inch-by-8.5-inch canvas that can be oriented in either portrait or landscape position to form a sounding board for your innermost thoughts in visual form. An eco-friendly form of expression, only water is required to create beautiful, soft, high-contrast imagery responsive to your hand and expressive of the moment.
Sitting on a desktop, an image on the Zen artist board provides mental relief, but also the Zen understanding that all moments—the good, the bad, the indifferent—pass and each one is valuable. They make us who we are … and then they are gone. Make a mistake? That also fades.
The Zen Artist Board carries with it a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.
10- Zen Satori Board Artist Board
Zen Satori Board, Large - Paint with Water, Meditation & Mindfulness Practice, Great for Classrooms, Includes (3) Water Brushes
$29.99 in stock
- Easy to use with no messy cleanup. Simply dip the brush in water and start painting! As the water evaporates, the image disappears, leaving you with a blank slate!
- Set includes detachable Satori Board, 3 refillable Water Pens, waterproof stand, bamboo paint brush, and instructions
- Waterproof stand includes a water reservoir and separate grooves for holding your Satori Board and bamboo paint brush
- Satori Board measures 12 inches by 9 inches
- Perfect for pairing with a daily Mediation and Mindfulness practice, allowing you to paint away your stress
This artist board by Satori comes with much more than the 11.8-inch-by-9.4-inch artist board and water-reservoir stand. It comes with an entire Chinese calligraphy set, tucked into a gorgeously-decorated cigar box. Inside the box are two bamboo brushes, as well as a water dish and a decorated porcelain brush rest.
It also includes a Chinese inkstone, a kind of mortar-and-pestle tool used for grinding inks and dyes and rubbing them on surfaces, dating back to China of 6,000-7,000 years ago. We don’t recommend using inks on the artist board, only water—painting it with ink would be permanent and defeat the purpose. However, the Chinese inkstone is a cool artist extra that complements the ancient, Asian spiritual roots of the artist board.
11- Mini Zen Satori Artist Premium Meditation Board
Mini Zen Satori Board - Paint with Water, Meditation & Mindfulness Practice, Great for Classrooms, Includes (3) Water Brushes
$15.99 in stock
2 used from $14.34
- Easy to use with no messy cleanup. Simply dip the brush in water or use the included Water Pens and start painting! As the water evaporates, the image disappears, leaving you with a blank slate!
- Set includes Mini Satori Board, 3 refillable Water Pens, and instructions
- Included Water Pens make this a great travel companion for both kids and adults
- Perfect for pairing with a daily Mediation and Mindfulness practice, or as a Social Emotional Learning (SEL) tool in the Classroom
Want a larger canvas to paint your fleeting thoughts and emotions in water art that will soon dry and disappear? This Mini Zen Satori meditation board gives you critical additional space at 5 inches by 5.75 inches and is easy to orient in either portrait or landscape direction in the notch above the water reservoir base. It comes with its own bamboo brush to create soft, dark, soothing temporary images on this extra surface.
12- AOVOA Art Water Drawing Board
AOVOA Repeatable Water Drawing Board, Inkless Water Drawing Set for Drawing, Painting, Writing & Relaxation, Portable Travel Size with Water Brush (Mini)
- 【NO INK NEEDED】This Buddha meditation board uses water as paint: just fill a small dish with clean water, then dip in the brush to start your creation. You can also using the refillable brush by adding water in it. As the water evaporates, your newly created images will slowly fade away, it can be used over and over again.
- 【UNIQUE GIFT CHOICE】Comes with one bamboo brush and one refillable brush, a portable water drawing board, packaged in gift box - A great gift idea.
- 【SMOOTH DRAWING FEELING】Each watery brushstroke will create an inky black image, much like watercolor art. No odor, soft color, smooth and delicate writing experience. You'll be delighted by the beautiful results.
- 【DECORATIVE & RELAXING】It can bring a calming, Zen-feel to any room. It is just the right size to add a decorative accent to any tabletop, vanity or office desk. You can take a break and DE-STRESS AFTER A HARD work. As you draw or write on your water drawing board and watch the images disappear, you'll feel stress slipping away, you’ll feel calm and peaceful all over. Try it and enjoy the good energy and calmness it brings to your life!
- 【FUN TO USE】No special skill or training required, fun and creative for any artistic level. It’s a perfect gift for your loved ones: anyone who need to relieve stress, love painting or calligraphy; also a great tool to inspire children’s creativity.
Relaxant sweetens the deal of their desktop art water drawing board with an extra-large collection of brushes—three bamboo brushes and a refillable reservoir brush, perfect for using your water drawing board if you don’t have the water reservoir or another water source handy. The brushes come in different sizes so you don’t have to rely 100% on technique to get a thicker or thinner soft black stroke on the art board. Relaxant offers this art water board with a 100% money-back guarantee.
Tips on Selecting the Right Buddha Board
There aren’t that many Buddah boards to choose from, and they all work in a pretty similar way. It might seem like any board will do if the price is right. None of them require toxic paint or produce fumes—tap water is the only medium you need to create beautiful, soothing, or silly images on your Buddha board. Almost all of the boards come with brushes, some of them with carrying cases or attractive containers.
The different Buddha boards on the market do vary in a few important ways. Understanding them and considering how you intend to use your board will help you select the best Buddha board to express yourself, relieve stress, and meditate on the ephemeral.
Size of the Canvas
The original Buddha board was roughly the size of a standard sheet of paper, 8.5-by-11 inches give or take a centimeter or two. This is usually the perfect size to express a unified thought in pictorial form—limiting enough to resist the temptation to be busy, but expansive enough to get into some detail. Some of the best Buddha boards that sit in the notches above water reservoirs can even be oriented in landscape orientation or portrait orientation.
Some artists and meditative souls, however, may prefer a smaller canvas. The 5-inch-by-5-inch Buddha board mini beats the traditional Buddha board in terms of portability. It definitely facilitates the creation of a unified, single image to ponder and watch fade. However, such a small canvas makes it hard to render an image in much detail, especially with the soft calligraphy that is the Buddha board’s strengths.
Buddha boards also come in sizes a little larger than standard paper, up to about 10×13 inches. Artists who want to sketch multiple images or delve into further artistic detail may want to choose these bigger canvases—especially if desk space is in generous supply. Smaller may be better if you have little desk space to spare.
Desktop vs. Portable
The Buddha board was designed as a desk accessory in two pieces—the art board and the base. The base served double-duty as a water reservoir, which the artist could use to wet the ubiquitous bamboo brush and make lovely brush strokes on the beard, which tucked conveniently into a notch in the base. The reservoir of a desktop Buddha board could be decorated further with river rocks, fake plants, real plants, statues … even goldfish if you wanted to get extra crazy and create a temporary, mini koi pond.
However, the Buddha board desktop base doesn’t pack easily into a suitcase, satchel, or backpack. You certainly can’t pack it away filled with water. If you like the idea of taking your Buddha board on the road, you might want to consider a folding-easel Buddha board like the Enso or the Mini. Just remember to select the right brush. A folding-easel Buddha board will go into any carrying case large enough, taking up little space, without soaking the rest of the contents of the case.
The best Buddha boards are made of natural materials like wood, bamboo, stone, paper, etc. Some Buddha boards, however, could be made of synthetic materials like plastics or other polymers. Look for a Buddha board made from non-toxic plastics, especially if it is rated as safe for children five or older.
The materials from which the board is constructed could also impact the longevity of the Buddha board, discussed below.
The best Buddha boards are built to last … sort of. The bases may be made of heavy plastic, wood, or stone, but the boards themselves are cardboard and/or polymer, which can easily break if you abuse them. This is especially true of desktop Buddha boards.
Portable Buddha boards like the Enso or Mini tend to be built into metal carrying cases that fold into an easel and also preserve the image even while the board is tucked away in its case. Metal housings tend to make for longer-lasting Buddha boards.
If the art board is made of cheap materials the board could start to peel or bubble. Check reviews to make sure this isn’t an issue with the board you choose.
Buddha boards tend to come with one, or both, of two different brush styles. The traditional bamboo brush is usually made of natural materials and feels soft and soothing in the hand, with good weight and grip. However, a bamboo brush is only useful if you have a water reservoir to dip it in. This could be the reservoir in the base of a desktop Buddha board, a separate reservoir, a glass of water, the tap, a pond or stream … whatever water source is within reach.
If you don’t want to have to rely on outside water sources, however, many portable and folding Buddha boards come with a reservoir brush, a brush that resembles a cross between a syringe and a stain-removal marker. The syringe-like reservoir can be refilled from the water source of your choice. By squeezing the plunger, the bristles of the brush become saturated and you’re ready to draw! Of course, a plastic reservoir pen might not have that natural, energetic hand feel that comes with bamboo.
Some Buddha boards come with both styles of brush.
While the parts of a Buddha board are relatively simple, it’s always nice to get extras. Some accessories that might attract you to one Buddha board over the other might include:
- Extra brushes.
- A decorative case.
- A carrying case.
- River rocks.
- A ceramic brush stand.
- Chinese inkstones.
Guarantee or Warranty
A Buddha board does not have a lot of moving parts. As such, you really can’t expect a manufacturer’s warranty to protect it long-term. A warranty entitles you to return the product to the manufacturer for repairs or replacements within a set period of time. When shopping for the best Buddha board, it’s probably not useful to hold out for a warranty.
A satisfaction guarantee is a different story. Some companies offer a money-back guarantee if your product is faulty or if you are unsatisfied in any way. You usually have to return the product, and time limits like 30 days might apply. If you are nervous about ordering online and a stickler for product quality, look for a Buddha board that comes backed by a money-back guarantee.