Art Supply Junkie – Gelli Plate


Watch the video below:

What is a gelli plate / gel printing plate?

A gelli plate, also called gelatin printing plate, is an art supply used to create monoprints. Monoprinting is a form of printmaking where the print can only be made once, unlike most printmaking, where the same image is reproduced identically many times.

The plate made by Gelli Arts is a very durable mineral gel plate (it does not contain animal products so it’s suitable if you’re vegetarian/vegan). You can also make your own plate easily and cheaply with gelatin (supermarket) and glycerin (drug store/chemist).



Why do I love it?

Where to start??? There are SO many possibilities with a gelli plate. The results you can get are so diverse. No one print will be the same. The process is infinitely fun and diverse. You can simply roll paint with a brayer, you can stamp textures or images, you can scrape paint away with brushes or other tools, you can paint onto the plate.

The traditional way of using it is loading the plate up with paint using a brayer, putting a sheet of paper on top and pulling the paper off (this is why people talk about ‘pulling prints’). However, I love using my plate in my journals, stamping it directly onto the pages. You can do one layer or many layers to build up interest.



Things to try

  • Make your own gelli plate
  • Brayer a layer of one or two colours. Stamp images or textures, put masks or stencils on the plate. Pull a print. Then gently remove your masks etc and pull a ‘ghost print’ from the leftover paint
  • Add a bit of water to the plate after pulling the ghost print and pull another print
  • Experiment with expensive paints and cheap paints. How do they react, what do you like?
  • You can clean your plate with a baby wipe to get all paint residue off. Water & gentle soap works too
  • Instead of cleaning the plate, ‘clean’ it with gel medium or white acrylics. Best done at the end of a printing session when there is paint residue left on your plate. Add a fairly thick layer of gel medium or white acrylics. Firmly press a page onto the gelli plate and let dry completely (12-24 hours), gently pull off and it will have pulled all the dried up paint residue too, giving you a very unique print

Do you have a gelli plate? How do you like to use yours? Leave a comment to let me know!

5 thoughts on “Art Supply Junkie – Gelli Plate”

  1. Dear Iris, hi again.
    I have seen some videos where gelli plate is used, but I don’t have one yet. However, after watching your video and the DIY information, I’m thinking about making one! It sounds like a fun-to-use tool, I like the fact that it can be made in different shapes and the prints that you have shown us look beautiful and full of interest! One question that comes to mind when seeing a gelli plate is why to use it instead of putting paint and stamps and using all other tools directly onto the paper? What is the main difference? Also, an other question is when using acrylics on the gelli plate and other things before printing, don’t they (the acrylics) get dry? Thank you for art supply posts and for all the info!

    • Making one is the best way to find out if you’ll like it!

      Excellent questions. With a gelli plate you can layer, which is easier than stamps. But also, you can use both negative and positive space. So you’re not just stamping an object and getting that paint shape. You could stamp an object to take that paint away, or use something as a mask. Also the texture is very different from when you’re just applying paint with a brush.

      The acrylics do dry. You can add some retarder to delay the drying time, or Golden make a range called Open Acrylics with a much longer drying time. I haven’t tried them but I’ve heard a lot of people rave about them for use with a gelli plate. Usually though if you print within about 1 minute, the result is fine.

      • Thank you Iris for your answer, it is more clear to me now. I’ll surely make one for myself to try it out! I always like to try new things, I just hope to find the time to do it soon! The list of things-to-do is just getting longer…!

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