GELLI PLATE PRINTING
Hi! I’m Dave from Sombrero Printmaking
I’ve been asked to do a tutorial to help you start creating gelli plate prints.
I’ve found gelli plate printing to be one of the most versatile ways of producing one-off prints.
This in an introduction to the absolute basics. You can do so much more – so once you’re confident, keep trying out new ideas.
What you’ll need:
A gelli plate
Paper or card to print onto
Fluid acrylic paints
Items for mark making
The items I used for mark-making for this example are a wooden stamp, a foam roller, a cut out cardboard fish, a cotton bud and a couple of Lego pieces.
STEP 1 – Add paint to the gelli plate
For this print, I’ve used a 7×5 inch Gelli Arts gel printing plate (I also use plates made by Gel Press) and DecoArt fluid acrylic paints (1 fl. oz. / 29.6 ml per tube).
I started by adding a few drops of different coloured paints – it’s important not to add too much.
My plate is very well used, so it’s not clear anymore when I’ve cleaned it up. However, it still works just as well as when I got it.
Then I rolled the paints together, being careful not do overdo the rolling so I didn’t just mix everything into a brown colour.
STEP 2 – Mark making onto the rolled paint
The next step is to start making marks on the painted gelli plate. Don’t take too long on this, otherwise the paints will start to dry and your image won’t work very well.
As you can see, I’ve pressed lots of different items into the plate, and when I take them off, they take away the paint that was there.
STEP 3 – Printing!
Simply place your paper over the plate, press down (I just use my hands to rub the paper onto the plate) then peel off to reveal your design. I used A5 card (250 gsm weight which I find to be a good weight to do gelli printing with).
Add more paint to your gelli plate each time you want to do a new print. If you don’t have enough fresh paint on there, it may come out very faint and it does dry out quickly.
Don’t feel you have to clean the plate between each new image – sometimes having a little bit of colour from the previous print works really well.
The prints should dry very quickly – it’ll take a while to get used to the right amount of paint to use. If they’re taking a long time to dry, you’ve probably got too much paint on your plate when you start.
Bubble wrap is great for making backgrounds, as are reusable paper cups, used packs of tablets and many other items you’ll find around the home. If it makes a mark, you can probably use it!
I often use gelli plate backgrounds to print on top of using more traditional techniques like linoprinting and collagraphs. Here are a few examples of linoprints on gelli plate backgrounds.
You can see more of Dave’s work on social media:
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You can also check out more interviews and blogs with Dave on our site:
Image credits – Dave Elsom Sombrero Printmaking
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