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One of the hottest techniques today is using a gelli plate to make paint prints.  These prints then are used as backgrounds for art journalling, cards, even packaging.  After watching so many videos on gelli printing, I wanted to play.  I can’t say it’s something I love but I may feel differently later when I have a good day of play.

Gelli plates are about what you would think they are – a slab of treated gelatin.  One applies paint to the surface and pulls it off with paper, much like making a print.

Gelli plates can be pricey so I, of course, wanted to find the least expensive way to play.

To start with, I had a pile of old Safeway gift cards (can you believe they are not refillable?).  I only need so many as cards.  Then a thought came to me, I could use them to make texture tools.  I’m not overly create here because I have no idea what I want to do with them so I made a few various “tooths”.  If I hate them, I don’t care because they cost me nothing but a little cutting time.  They cut easier than I thought they would.  I used basic school scissors because they are what I grabbed (and I like that I couldn’t gouge myself while cutting these).


Now that I have tools (and a stash of paint), I needed a surface.  I had been thinking about this glass plate I have from an old printer/scanner.  Then I read this blog post.  She wasn’t successful with using glass as a gelli plate replacement but I felt there was still something there and I had the glass plate.


This was not one of my smartest pictures.  The paint is blue and green but you can see my very stained art surface under the glass.  I used really awful cheap student grade artist acrylic here.


It’s actually a fun surface to paint and play on.  The problem was my paint was drying way too fast.  A few spritz with water helped and actually made some fairly fun prints.


Nothing looks super great in these pictures but I could see a lot of potential.  But how did it hold up to an actual gelli plate.


Using The Frugal Crafter’s recipe, I made a gelli plate.  I wanted something that fit an entire sheet of paper.  I know from Lindsey’s video that if I messed up, I could melt it and try again.  I used a half cup of glycerin and a half cup of alcohol for this batch (plus 4 tablespoons gelatin and 1 cup water).  It wasn’t as thick as I thought it would be but then I didn’t have as much glycerin as I thought I had and I didn’t want to go more than half and half.


The end result was not bad.  Because it was so thin, though, it did develop some lines on the plate where the gelatin curled as I took it out.  I liked the texture so I didn’t feel like I needed to fix it.

Here’s something I learned – cheap craft pain works best.  I went back to my glass plate and tried the craft paint and my prints came out so much better.


These are my examples from the gelli plate.  I did pull out some stencils to see how that worked and there were some nice prints.


This is the craft paint on the glass plate.  I’m not getting as solid of a print but in a pinch, these would make great backgrounds.

I will say, I do have a brayer.  I found one that was only a couple of dollars.  It says it’s for clay but it works great for paint.  I do feel that these require further experimenting.  Actually, as I type this I find myself excited by the possibilities.  Perhaps my “need” to have a finished experiment for the blog stifled some of the fun.  I do prefer experimenting when I have a project in mind because it gives the experimenting more purpose (because now I several sheets of painted paper that I have no idea what I am going to do with).

We’ll see.  I love that I was able to use what I had.  I did buy more alcohol but that was at the dollar store so it cost me a whole dollar to do these experiments.  Just goes to prove that you can use what you have.

I should share clean-up.  I sprayed water on them and pulled up paint on paper.  When that stopped being successful, I sprayed and used my art cloth (a ragged dishcloth) gently on the surfaces.  I will say I much prefer clean up on the glass because I don’t feel like I’m going to ruin it.

Hope this inspires you to play.