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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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