Gelli Arts - Gel Printing Plate Review

My Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate arrives.
My Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate arrives. | Source

Simple Monoprinting

Monoprinting is an art form that creates a one-off piece. Once the print has been made, you won't be able to make another identical one. A monoprint can be a stand-alone piece of art, a background for mixed media or an art journal. It can be used on paper or fabric. Monoprints can be combined with paint, pens, collage and any other mark-making media. Techniques to create monoprints vary from metal plates, presses, wood blocks and litho stones. Another method is to create a printing plate with gelatin.

Liquid gelatin is poured into a mold and allowed to set. It is then carefully removed as it is quite fragile and placed on a surface. It is then covered with paint and a print taken off it by placing a sheet on top. The drawbacks of using gelatin is that it takes around 12 hours to set in a refrigerator and doesn't last very long - if you are able to keep it intact, you need to refrigerate it after a couple of hours in order to be able to use it again. The actual process of gelatin plate printing is really good fun, it's just a shame that the plate is not very robust.

Gelli Arts to the rescue! They have taken the gelatin plate and transformed it. They took all the fun of gelatin printing and jettisoned the annoying, irritating stuff. Meet the Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate!

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Where is it? What am I looking at?
Where is it? What am I looking at? | Source
The Gelli Arts insert has instructions on the basics, clean up, storage and general tips for using the gel plate.
The Gelli Arts insert has instructions on the basics, clean up, storage and general tips for using the gel plate. | Source

My Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate Arrives

I was so excited to get my 8" x 10" gel printing plate a few days ago. Unfortunately, due to family commitments I haven't had the time to use it yet. Today I have some free time so I thought I would review the gel printing plate and share the whole process with you.

The plate comes in a sturdy clamshell package with a colorful information insert. I was surprised that there were very few techniques included in the insert. It does cover 'Basics', 'Easy clean up', 'Making your mark' and 'Essential to know'. I'll go over some of these things as we go along.

The plate is a little weird, I have to say. When you open the clamshell, it's as though there's nothing in it. Only the weight lets you know that you are holding something fairly substantial. The plate is completely transparent and feels like... well, wibbly-wobbly jello!

My kids ask me what it is. So I tell them. Then they ask how much it cost. I tell them £30 sterling. They gape at my transparent bit of wibbly-wobbly almost in shock. You can see their calculating little greedy-brains working out that it cost more than a decent computer game.

I feel no guilt.

6" x 6" and 12" x 14" versions are also available.

Scrap paper and Studio paints at the ready. You can see the gel plate on the left.
Scrap paper and Studio paints at the ready. You can see the gel plate on the left. | Source

Supplies Required

The supplies needed for making monoprints with the gel plate are fairly minimal.

  • Acrylic paint - craft paints are fine as you need a creamy consistency rather than a heavy bodied one.
  • Paper - I gathered up some scrap paper for my first attempt. I used left over watercolor paper and some sheets from an acrylic paint pad. You could even practice on printer paper. You could (and I will) use a journal.
  • Mark making tools - the end of a brush, rubber-tipped tools, stencils, combs, bubble wrap and sequin waste are all good.
  • A brayer/roller to apply the paint.
  • Water and paper towel to clean up.

Dabbling paint on to the invisible gel plate.
Dabbling paint on to the invisible gel plate. | Source
Spreading paint with a brayer.
Spreading paint with a brayer. | Source

How to Use the Gel Plate

Once I was organized, and I use the term loosely, I could begin painting. I made sure to remove the plastic protective sheets from the gel plate and covered my work surface with some clean bubble wrap, bubble side down. You could use a Teflon sheet, or a nice smooth baking tray. After placing the gel plate on my work surface, I dabbed on some paint. I was a little cautious with the colors to begin with.

The paint should be fairly liquid, but not runny. I wanted to thin mine out with a little acrylic glaze but I couldn't get the top off! Where is the man when I need him? I spread the paint out using a brayer.

Now the fun part begins. I experimented by drawing into the paint and scraping paint off. You could use the handle end of a paint brush or a comb or anything that won't damage the surface of the plate. I pressed stencils down and lifted them off. Rubber stamps also worked really well.

Once I created some pattern and texture - note, you won't be able to see much on the gel plate at this point – I gently laid down a sheet of paper on top of the plate. The paper didn't slide around as I expected as I applied a little pressure with my hands. Lifted the paper off and gasped at the perfection of my first effort at monoprinting.

I was away! Having watched a video where the demonstrator said there was no need to clean the plate between applications, I brayer-ed, stencilled and experimented like a crazy monoprinting thing. I couldn't take photos while I was doing all this because the paint was drying out quite quickly. You'll have to watch the videos on the right to see how easy the techniques are.

GelliArts Gel Printing Plate - 6"x6" Gel Plate
GelliArts Gel Printing Plate - 6"x6" Gel Plate

The smallest Gelli Plate - useful for journal pages and smaller pieces of art.

 

Gel Printing Plate: Results of First Trial

Click thumbnail to view full-size
First, slightly tentative print.Printing over some old journaling.Bold print over stencils.Ghost (second) print after removing stencils.Simple design using end of paint brush.Messy print.Lifting off paint with a rubber stamp.Textured print - paint mixed with gesso.Experimental.Cleaning off brayer onto paper and over printing with yellow.
First, slightly tentative print.
First, slightly tentative print. | Source
Printing over some old journaling.
Printing over some old journaling.
Bold print over stencils.
Bold print over stencils.
Ghost (second) print after removing stencils.
Ghost (second) print after removing stencils.
Simple design using end of paint brush.
Simple design using end of paint brush.
Messy print.
Messy print.
Lifting off paint with a rubber stamp.
Lifting off paint with a rubber stamp.
Textured print - paint mixed with gesso.
Textured print - paint mixed with gesso.
Experimental.
Experimental.
Cleaning off brayer onto paper and over printing with yellow.
Cleaning off brayer onto paper and over printing with yellow.

Carolyn Dube proves that 'any idiot' can use a Gelli Plate

Taking Care of the Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate

  • Wash with warm, soapy water after use. You can also wipe the plate clean with a baby wipe or hand sanitizing gel and paper towel. Clean-up couldn't be easier. That baby just wants to be transparent and shiny.
  • Store the gel plate in its original packaging. The manufacturers say it's okay to leave it on a flat, clean surface but if you have cats... The plate will leach mineral oil which could stain any surface it is left on. Just put it in the clamshell, then there won't be any problem.
  • Only use acrylic or oil paint. Watercolors and inks will just puddle.
  • Don't use pointed tools on your gel plate. If you do make a permanent mark, you can still use it but that mark will appear on all your prints. You can always turn it over if you do accidentally damage it.

Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate 8X10 Inch
Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate 8X10 Inch

The most popular sized Gelli Plate.

 

My Rating

5 stars for Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate

My Verdict

I'm sure you have already guessed that I love this wibbly-wobbly gel plate. I enjoy creating backgrounds in my journals and for mixed media pieces, and this gives me so many more options to experiment with. The process is simple, fun and endlessly fascinating. I highly recommend the Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate. You need this, you really do.

Gelli Arts website.

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What do you think of the Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate? 5 comments

DreamerMeg profile image

DreamerMeg 4 years ago from Northern Ireland

That sounds like great fun!


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 4 years ago from Wales Author

Huge fun, DreamerMeg, and so easy! Each one took about 30 seconds.


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 19 months ago from Northeast Ohio

This looks like something easy and fun to do on an rainy day and be creative. Voted up!


Margaridab profile image

Margaridab 3 months ago from Lyon, France

I love easy crafty ideas and this is one of them! Thanks for the post with interesting tips.


theraggededge profile image

theraggededge 3 months ago from Wales Author

You're welcome. Thanks for visiting.

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