A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Little I KnowAbout Gellli Plate Printing

As I have already said, I am just starting my experiments so I can tell you a few basics and then I will leave it up to the experts to tell you more.

 Things I have learned so far:
  1. Acrylic Paint:  The gelli plate is really only for acrylic paint.  I didn't know that and it is a downside for me because I prefer to used thickened dyes and acrylic inks on fabric since it leaves the fabric softer.
  2. Newspaper:  I read the instructions that said not to use dyes or inks with the plate but I did not translate that to mean "don't set the plate on newspaper."  Since I had to cover the surface of my table, I used newspaper and set the plate directly on the old newspaper.  It picked up the ink!  The plate does not transfer the ink when printing but the ink has stained the plate. Here is what my new Gelli Plate looks like now.
  3. Mixing Colors:  Different types of paint will dictate whether you mix your colors on the gelli plate itself or on a palette of some kind and then transfer it to the gelli plate.  The thicker the paint, the more likely you will need to mix the  paints on the palette.
  4. Playing Time: Acrylic paint dries very fast.  If you want to spend much time creating a design on your plate, you had better use an extender!
  5. Cleaning up:  There are a variety of ways to clean your plate from washing with water, to wiping with baby wipes, to making a last print. Just cover the dry paint on the gelli plate with some fresh paint, cover with a paper for a print, and allow the paper to stay on the plate till the paint is dry.  Then pull off the paper.  You get a clean plate and a great print.   Here is a link that tells you about that last print.
  6. Layers:  Everything looks better with layers. It is a rare print that needs just one layer to be finished.  In the words of Judy Sall, "Now I realize that layers are my lifeblood. I need them, crave them, won't stop until I have them. Complex, deliberate, intoxicating layers."  Yep, if you don't like what you have made with the gelli plate, it probably needs another layer.
There are some good tutorials already produced so I am not going to recreate wheels.  Lisa Chin, one of our visiting artists, has one here-- Lisa Chin.
And here is a video.

Here is a link to my first attempts at paper prints using the gelli.  Tomorrow I am trying my first experiments with fabric and will let you know how it goes.  Please, feel free to give me some advice.  I will check before I start on Tuesday evening.


  1. I haven't received my gelli plate yet, but it shipped yesterday so I expect it by tomorrow. I did visit their website to check on using dyes, and they said "We do not recommend using dyes when printing on the plate (such as rubber stamp inks, spray inks and fabric dyes) as the gel will absorb some of the dye and become permanently stained. However, stains will not affect printing performance." So as far as I'm concerned, I plan to try both paints and thickened dyes, since dyes are my primary medium. I am really excited about this month's experiments! I have wanted to try gelli plate printing for a long time, and this was a great excuse for me to take the plunge! Thanks for hosting the discussion!

  2. I had the same problem with a newspaper ink transfer to my gelli plate! You can see it here on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/coolquilting/8680121134/
    A helpful viewer said to use mineral oil to remove it. And it worked!!

  3. Why not acrylic inks?
    are they absorbed onto the gelli plate?

  4. I love gelli printing! One thing I always do now is put a piece of deli paper over the fabric I'm printing on before I burnish it. Then I pick up the remaining paint with a second print on the deli paper. Instant semi transparent piece ready to layer on a project with gel medium. I often use them for art postcards to send to friends.

  5. I confess I'm confused at all the hype for these. I've used either glass, an old plexiglass window from a storm door [my current favorite] and most any slick surface to mono print with. I can use any medium I want with either paper or fabric. Can someone tell me what I'm missing? Thanks, I love this blog!


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