The monks make the sand mandalas with chakpurs, long metal instruments that look like funnels. The coloured sand is released from the chakpur by rubbing two chakpurs together. This vibration causes the granules to fall down through the funnel to create the patterns.
Though mandalas take about five to seven days to create, it takes the monks over a year to learn and memorize their patterns. They learn the mandalas from Buddhist texts, such as tantric texts and scriptures.