Gelli Plate Printing: 10 Awesome Ideas

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Painting on a gelli plate and more ideas

Many moons ago I was an artist. I suppose I still consider myself an artist, but I don’t *exactly* have a body of work, and I’m not *exactly* making consistent work or selling it nowadays.

Although I’d like to- I miss it. I’m trying, playing, experimenting with materials and techniques to see what catches my fancy. I’m allowing myself the playtime and the luxury of having fun making art now, instead of holding myself to a rigid need to fill a gallery or come up with an eloquent artist statement. Most artist statement are junk anyway. Most artists make art and don’t exactly have writing chops, AMIRIGHTFOLKS?

In and amongst my favorite materials I’ve tried lately is the Gelli plate. That gooey little rectangle of goo is hands down the coolest art invention of the past decade.

Printing with the Gelli plate - Gelli plate ideas

Who thought it up? Who even knew it would be so much fun to use? This thing is the bomb. It veritably pulls out all creative experimental urges and next thing you know, it’s 2 hours, a pad of paper and 6 tubes of paint later, and you’ve got a stack of ART that you’ve made with your own little weird hands.

Rolling paint on a Gelli plate

There are so many things you can do with this gelatinous slab, and the more you play, the more you discover. It’s easy to go deep into the art-making meditative zone here.

Gelli plate printing ideas!

Here are some of the things I tried with my Gelli plate, but first- the materials I used:

Now, the very first thing I tried on my Gelli plate was to drop little dots of 3 colors evenly around on the plate, barely roll over them with the brayer, and make a print. This gives you a riot of colorful blobs and is fascinating.

I looked at it for a moment, my brain exploded, and then I spent the afternoon trying everything I could think to do on that little transparent piece of awesomeness.

Gelli Plate Ideas

Here’s what I did- remember that funny old thing you can do where you add “in bed” to the end of every sentence? Do that here, except add, “and make a print”.

  1. Roll a color all over your gelli, place cut or torn shapes of wax paper or plain paper where you want them.

Gelli Printing ideas2. Roll a color onto the gelli, draw lines into the paint.

Line drawing on a Gelli plate and more techniques

3. Roll a color on, then paint shapes of another color onto it.

Painting on a gelli plate with paint brush - Gelli plate printing ideas4. Roll another color over the gelli after you’ve already pulled your first print. The second color will act as the background to what paint is left on the gelli.

Gelli plate printing ideas

5. Use a piece of paper with something cut out of it as a stencil on your gelli.

6. Roll paint on the gelli, blot with a wadded up paper towel to create a textured look.

7. Lay string or yarn across your covered Gelli.

8. Finger paint into the covered Gelli.

9. Press small tangle cards into the painted surface to get cool tangle backgrounds.

10. Press stamps into the painted surface of the Gelli.

Get your Gelli plate here:

Gelli Printing Plate

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10 Gelli Plate printing ideas • printmaking is fun!

Use ripped paper pieces on a Gelli plate - 10 cool ideas for your Gelli plate

Oh, goodness. Check out this class by Carla Sonheim– it looks amazing!

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8 Comments

    • 01/08/2016 / 8:06 pm

      Well THAT’S cool! Must get some butcher paper now. Thanks for the link!

  1. 01/09/2016 / 5:15 pm

    Now I am stoked to try my plate! The video posted is really good, thanks Jane. I might need to take Carla’s class, her prints are gorgeous.
    Thanks Jeanette! Time to get painty!!

    • 01/11/2016 / 11:26 am

      Yeah, her class looks tantalizing. I didn’t poke around to see if she has more Gelli classes. This is the kind of thing that would be fun to do for a craft night with snacks and wine and we could all compare prints and try new cool things and then not be able to walk across the floor because of how many prints were everywhere.

  2. Alexandra
    01/11/2016 / 7:45 am

    Love your post so much! Wondering though, is the Gelli plate the same as using a piece of plexiglass? If so, what advantage do you thing there is using the Gelli plate?

    • 01/11/2016 / 11:22 am

      Totally different! Okay, plexi can be great for monoprints as well, but there is something about the Gelli that is not exactly absorbent, but the fact that it has more ‘give’ affects your prints in a way that plexi doesn’t. Ack- I’m finding it really hard to explain this. Basically, the ‘feel’ of it is different. Also, you can get really cool ghost prints with this that you can’t get with plexi. (Ghost prints meaning the second print you pull from the plate after your first print with the initial laid out paint.) Some of my favorite prints from this have been when I use the leftover paint from one print, add another layer, print, add another layer, print again. The Gelli ‘holds’ the paint and then releases it on to the paper differently than plexi does. Does this make sense at all? Hope so.

  3. 01/13/2016 / 6:35 am

    URGHH! I am sooo wanting to try this method! I have been for sometime–unfortunately the sites we could order from (including Amazon.com&.ca) are
    Ri-Donk-u-lously Expensive! That’s not including shipping. SOO I am have trying to find a DIY gelli plate tutorial I could actually complete! These are so so magically beautiful though thanks for sharing. Blog Looks HOTT! ?

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