Printing Basics with Gelli Plate

Monoprinting without a press!

Do you like colours? Are you looking for ways to improve your creativity? Do you want to test new or alternative processes? You’re in the right place then!

In this post, I invite you to discover a printing technique inspired by the monotype process. This process provides great prints without a press. With Gelli Print, it’s easy, efficient and fun to create! Your ideas can be expressed in many different ways. Let’s talk about the basics that you need to start with.

Gelli Printing Plate

Gelli Plate

Item specifics: It is a flexible plate made of a thick single layer of gelatin, a plastic material which contains mineral oil. This plate is stable and reusable if it is cleaned after each use. The goal is to keep the sticky side of the plate to facilitate printing.

Materials

Gelli Plate

The materials can be found on GreatArt.co.uk

NOTICE:  
Paints, inks for fabrics or printing inks are also compatible with these plates. Avoid dyes because they may stain the gelatin.

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Make Your Own Stencils

Gelli PLates

But before moving on to colours, I make small paper stencils: flowers and a pretty “white” flamingo! Useful stencils for the second part of this tutorial.

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My Workstation

 Gelli Plates

How to make your own Art Print?

– STEP 1 | Pink flamingo background layer –

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Printing Plate #1

MATERIAL: Gelli plate, paint tubes (Pink) and roller.

Gelli Plate

After releasing your plate from its clamshell package, place it on a clean, flat surface.

  • Remove the protective film
  • Apply blobs of colour in the middle of the plate.
  • Pass the roller over and cover whole plate

NOTICE:
I keep the plastic film under the plate. This allows me to maintain the other part of the plate and above all to prevent the gelatin having direct contact with the surface of my table.

.Gelli Plate

Printing #1: Background Layer

MATERIAL: Bristol board paper

gelli plates

Before the paint dries on the plate:

  • Put the Bristol board paper on the painting plate.
  • Press firmly on the entire surface of the paper with your hands.
  • Peel and remove the sheet from the plate.
  • Discover the colourful pink print on the sheet. Wow, I love it!
Gelli Plate
  • Repeat while there is still paint on the plate.
  • Hang Bristol board paper with fresh print on a string or lay them flat. Let them dry completely. Here, we have created the first print which will be used for the colour of my flamingo.
  • NOTICE: It all depends on the amount of paint applied to the plate. Full of paint, it can give up to 3 different prints. The original print is followed by ghost printing. The 2 ghost prints leave reduced painting marks on paper with very interesting effects.

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Easy Clean Up

MATERIAL: basin of hot water and soap.

Gelli Plate

  • I recommend washing the roller between each change of colour. The hot water and soap allow you to peel the paint off the brayer.
  • Then I wipe my brayer using a slightly wet sponge. And voilà, my roller is rea
Gelli Plate
  • Personally, I usually clean my Gelli plate between 2 prints to keep it sticky, but some residues can create great effects.
  • Hot water and soap facilitate remove the paint from the plate.
  •  Then I wipe my Gelli plate with a big wet sponge (sponges leave fewer residues than rags or paper towels). And now, my plate is ready!.

How to make your own Art Print?

– STEP 2| Sky & Sea Layer –

Printing Plate #2: Foreground Layer

MATERIAL: Gelli plate, paint tubes (Blue), and roller

Gelli Plate

  • Apply a few blobs of colour in the middle of the Gelli plate.
  • Pass the roller over and cover the entire plate. 

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Stencils and Printing #2:

MATERIAL: Stencils and pink prints on Bristol board paper (perfectly dry).

Gelli Plate

  • Place the stencils on the blue painted plate.
  • Make sure you the first print is perfectly dry (the pink one). Apply the pink printed Bristol board paper onto the fresh blue painting plate.
  • Press firmly on the entire surface of the paper with your hand.
  • Peel and remove the sheet from the plate.

 Gelli Plate

Results

And now, pink and blue come together nicely to make a fun pink flamingo in the sea!

Gelli Plate

I hope you enjoyed this process and got inspired! If you are stuck for ideas, there are many videos explaining the methods of Gelli Printing. Do not hesitate to go streaming on YouTube!  Happy Printing!

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GOOD TO KNOW:

  • The Gelli plate will lose its transparency to become dull and cloudy, but its features remain unchanged.
  • After final use, always clean the plate before storing.
  • Keep the plastic films making sure they’re placed on the plate during storage. Dampen the plate, apply the film, push the air and water to the edge with a ruler and you will avoid distortions caused by large bubbles.
  • Avoid trapping dust residues between the film and the gelatin plate.
  • The clamshell package is designed to store the plate. It can also be stored on a smooth plate or on a sheet of glass / Perspex.
  • Keep the flat plate on a smooth and clean surface.
  • Some pigments may stain the material. Stains can be removed by following the recommended cleaning instructions for oil painting. Always do a test first in a corner of the plate.
  • Do not use sharp tools such as pencils or toothpicks. They can scratch the surface and leave permanent marks.
  • Experiment with painting accessories like plastic or silicone knives.

The content for this post was provided by professional visual artist, Amylee. You can visit her blog and her colourful portfolio.

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