If you can make jello you can make a gel printing plate


Pulling up a print from the surface of the gelatin plate.


The surface after the page is lifted... some paint and shapes remain. 

Made the following prints with golden heavy body acrylics...


I love to paint with a brayer, and have created a lot of cool abstract bits for art journal pages. Brayers apply paint in a wide stripe, depending on the width of the brayer. Using a brayer on uneven surface leads to some interesting effects. A lot of folks are talking about Gelli Plates; they look cool, but I'd want the largest plate and that would be fairly expensive for something I might not use much after the initial excitement. While reading Issue #3 of FEATURING Magazine I stumbled upon a tip to make your own from an article about artist Linda Germain. So I made my own plate and played and experimented to see what I could create.


Two of the MANY options for COLOR, the key component to all of this printing stuff. 

  • Speedball Water-Based Block Printing Inks. {the tubes in the photo}There are pros & cons to these inks. They stain your fingers but the stain does come off after a bit of scrubbing. You can wear thin gloves if you wish. The magenta and yellow are gorgeous. The dark green, not so yummy. The inks stay wet longer and are fairly inexpensive. My inks lasted about 3 years before separating in the tube. Prints made with these inks {which act like acrylics} have a matte feel.
  • Golden Heavy Body Acrylics. Significantly more intense & saturated color. Does not stain the fingers and will scrub off. More colors available. Totally mixable. Prints made with these paints have a ever-so-slightly glossy feel.

How to make a gel printing plate? Make jello. Yes. That's it. 


Mix 8 packets of unflavored jello + 4 cups boiling water in a bowl. Gently mix for a few minutes until jello dissolves. Pour into shallow baking pan with edges {like a gelly roll pan} and put container in fridge for 2-3 hours, or until cold. Simply make double strength jello (use 1/2 the water that is recommended on the box}. I made my printing plate in a baking pan and the day after I photographed the plate, above, I took it OUT of the baking pan and it was much easier to access the edges. After working with it twice, I dropped it on the floor of the kitchen and it broke apart.

The gelatin printing plate should be kept in the refrigerator and will keep for about a month. You can microwave the plate if it falls apart and place it back in a baking sheet to harden again. But... that there are bits of paint on the printing plate and I don't know what chemical reaction occurs when it is microwaved. It's no longer nice and smooth when you take out the re-meltified gelatin, and it's so easy to start fresh that I just make a new plate.

How to make prints with a gel plate?

  1. Roll out paint onto the printing plate with a brayer. I find that the plate works best when it is cold and moist right out of the fridge. 
  2. Add some little cut-out cardstock shapes to the plate. These will "mask" the area and the covered shape will not print onto your paper. Also try thread, fern or pine leaves. 
  3. Place a sheet of cardstock or bristol paper on top of the plate.
  4. Press gently with the palms of your hands or roll a dry brayer on the back of the paper to get an imprint.
  5. Delicately lift the card stock starting with one corner and "peel" it off the plate. Check out your print!
  6. Print a second time; the print will be much lighter.
  7. Carefully remove the little pieces of cardstock, threads, petals, etc. that you used to mask shapes.
  8. Wait! One more important print. Before you roll out more paint, place a new sheet of cardstock or a page that already contains a print and make another imprint. Those echoes of the remaining shapes create a different type of print. A rumour of the image. {Linda calls this the ghost}.
  9. When you want to change colors, clean your brayer with warm soap and water. Dry the brayer. This keeps paint from building up and keeps the brayer dry so that paint/ink adheres.
  10. Keep printing until a) you run out of paper, b) you run out of time.
  11. Wasn't that a blast!?

More details and gelatin print-making galore ☞ Gelatin + Acrylic Printing Therapy