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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4 Comments

  1. Rhonda Walters
    07/21/2018 / 11:28 pm

    I recently made myself a gelli plate and love, love it. It has allowed me to add another dimension to my stash of journal paper. I look forward to experimenting with this little gem very soon.

    • 07/22/2018 / 11:51 am

      I love hearing from people who love their gelli plates. It’s really such a fun tool!

  2. Maureen
    09/23/2018 / 11:18 pm

    I have owned a 5 x 5 Gelli plate for about 13 days now – OH WHAT FUN!!!!! I am not a trained artist but have worked with textile arts, fusibles, etc., and made cards for a number of years. Now in retirement, I am teaching myself art in as many forms as seem to work for me. I have pulled off so many prints, and made so many texture plates (some of which work, some don’t) that I am now making a for-real art journal (as opposed to the pretend art journals which are just a record of my art learning etc.) expressing my joy and fulfilment with this new art form. Next on the list of texture plates is cut and stacked iron-on thick interfacing, and texture past through stencils.

    • 09/25/2018 / 1:06 pm

      Have you made 3 billion prints yet?!!! Isn’t it the best!?

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