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

    “The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched
    the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.”
    Ray Bradbury

    Pulling up a print from the surface of the jello gel plate.

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


    made the following pages with golden heavy body acrylics

     I love to paint with a brayer, and have created a lot of cool abstract bits for art journal collages. 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 buying and talking about Gelli Arts Printing Plates. They look really cool, but I'd want the largest plate and that would be fairly expensive for something I might not use often {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! Now that sounds like a plan! To get a feel for what to do, go watch a short but fabulous a video from Linda about the process.


    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} stain your fingers immediately but do come off after a bit of scrubbing. You might want to wear thin gloves. The color is intense, but not as vivid and pleasing to my eye. Some of the colors are quite good. The magenta and yellow are gorgeous. The dark green, not so sweet. The inks stay wet longer and they are less expensive. My block printing inks are over 3 years old and starting to separate and thicken.
    • Golden Heavy Body Acrylics are without question more intense, lush and saturated. If you get the paint on your hands, just scrub a little but they don't stain the fingers. More colors available.


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


    Mix 8 packets of unflavored jello + 4 cups boiling water in shallow non-metallic pan. Gently mix for a few minutes until jello dissolves. Put container in fridge for 3-4 hours, or until cold. You are just making double strength jello (use 1/2 the water that is recommended on the box}. You can find all sorts of tips about making the gel plate at Linda's blog. I made mine in a baking pan and the day after I photographed the plate, above, I actually 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 sort of broke apart. I pitched the entire thing before learning on Linda's site that you can actually re-invigorate the stuff. But it's cheap so I can make another. My older daughter (13) thought the whole process of printing on jello was ultra cool.

    How to make prints with a gel plate?

    1. Roll the paint on the printing plate, put some little cut-out cardstock shapes {or fern or pine leaves} if you wish. You can also make marks in the paint at this point.
    2. Place a sheet of cardstock on top of the plate.
    3. Use the palms of your hands or a dry brayer on the back to get the paint to imprint.
    4. Lift the cardstock and check out your print.
    5. Carefully remove the little pieces of cardstock, threads, petals... whatever you used to make shapes.
    6. Place a new sheet of cardstock or a page you've already printed on the plate {don't add any fresh paint, you want all of those cool shapes left over}, press, lift up. After those shapes are removed from the plate, you get a different type of print. It's like a rumour of the image. {Linda calls this the ghost}.
    7. 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.
    8. Keep printing until a) you run out of paper, b) you run out of time.
    9. Wasn't that a blast!?!?!?!?!?

    Like using a brayer? 

    Reader Comments (12)

    I love this so much! I've seen so many things having to do with gel plates as of late, and, even though I knew that you could make your own plate, I've never actually seen any prints done on one. These are beautiful! And so inspiring!

    02.6.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJordan Hill


    02.6.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLori

    You know that I added that to my grocery list this week! Thank you!

    02.6.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

    I have the medium-sized Gelli Plate and I really like it. I had some bad experiences with gelatin printing in a class (like the total destruction of one of them when I tried to print on it). I just don't have the patience for something like that!

    You might want to try the Liquitex Basics paints. They're inexpensive and they work very well on the Gelli Plate. At either Michael's or AC Moore, you can get a set of s/thing like 36 sample-sized tubes, using your 40% coupon!

    Now, I'm off to find some string...

    02.6.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSandra L.

    So super excited about this! Thanks so much for sharing Tammy. I've been eyeing everyone's gelli art lately but having one shipped up to Victoria? I haven't even allowed myself to look. You're the best!

    I make my own gelliplates too and I LOVE IT! I was thinking why did you leave the plate in the pan but then I saw you took it out after all. If you store it in the fridge, it will last a Month. Oh, and do you know that instead of throwing the plate away you can re-boil (melt) it and make a new plate using the 'old stuff??' Recycle your plate? Yep! (do this after approximately 4 weeks - if you wait longer the gelatin plate will get slimy and not re-usable anymore)

    02.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarit

    This is great. Thank you!!!

    02.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterM

    great page

    02.8.2013 | Unregistered Commentercarol

    thank you for writing about this and thanks for the added tips Marit!! Going to sooooooo try this sometime this week!!!

    02.11.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjennifer

    What a truly genius idea! I just ordered a printing plate! Figures o(. Thanks for including all the steps! Your prints look amazing!

    02.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

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