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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!