Thursday 6 November 2014

Exchange Day Post - Playing With Gelli Plates

Morning everyone. Julia here with another Exchange Day post for you. I have been trying out a few things on my Gelli Plate which I thought you may like to see. I am really quite a novice at this technique and tend to stick to the basics but it is one of the most fun ways I know to produce background designs which can then be developed into something more inspirational. My Halloween tag was made using a multi layered gelli print.

I think I love the gelli plate so much because you can achieve quick, unique results using some basic tools and acrylic paint.

In the following images, I show you some basic techniques and end uses for the prints made. There are lots of pictures so grab a warm drink and settle down somewhere comfortable before you start!

Essential equipment along with the gelli plate is a brayer. I only have one size of brayer but I do know that some people think it's good to have a variety of different sizes.
Keep the gelli plate on one of the clear plastic sheets that it's packed in and place it on a non stick craft mat. Apply some small blobs of your chosen acrylic paint. Better to start with too little than too much - you can always add more if needed.
Using the brayer, roll the paint out until an even, thin layer covers the gelli plate. For the first print I have laid a stencil onto the paint. A piece of paper/card should then be carefully laid down on top of the stencil. Smooth the paper/card out all over with your fingers making sure the stencil does not move.
The print on the left is the first one to come off the gelli plate. It has two shades of yellow because when dry it was coated with mustard seed distress stain. The print on the right is pulled from the plate after first removing the stencil. You can usually take a first print followed by a second or 'ghost' print both of which can be amazing.
Matte medium can be used to create resist designs with the gelli plate. The medium is rolled out with the brayer using the same method as when adding paint. Remember to clean the Gelli Plate thoroughly after using both acrylic paint and Matte Medium. If you need to leave some paint in place for a short while, mist the surface of the plate lightly with water. This will keep it useable for a short time.
In this image you can see the white areas where the matte medium has left the substrate white. The magic happens when the matte medium print is covered with distress stain. Using a combination of paint and distress stain/ink can work wonderfully well together as long as it is remembered that the paint is permanent but the distress ink will always react with water. Archival ink can be used along with some cut'n'dry foam if a permanent finish is needed.
In this image I show how to add further depth to the matte medium print. The stencil was laid back onto the print and some distress ink was applied through a variety of stencils using blending foam. This adds wonderful detail particularly when using a large stencil to pull the print from. In a later image you will see that I finished this print by using coloured pencils to shade around the design. One print: three different mediums used.

The other print turned into a bit of a mess because I tried to add various layers with another stencil and various colours. What to do with this one?
Replace the original stencil and use stamps and archival ink to begin building layers.
Add a thin coat of translucent acrylic to tone down and unify the colours.
Some tattered florals are die cut from the print to be used in a future project.
The die cuts were antiqued with crackle glaze followed by antiquing cream. Next they were shaped and made into a flower.
The centre of the flower is made with a bead and some hand dyed seam binding.
The print in the bottom right hand corner was further enhanced with stamps, archival inks, stencils and acrylic paint.  Here's what happened to the print afterwards:
ATC's are cut and enhanced with stamps and archival ink.

Flowers are die cut and further stamped with archival.
The centre of the flower is made with a spacer bead and some hand dyed seam binding.
A completed flower for a future project.
Two ATC's, a flower and a tag from one gelli plate print. The tag will obviously require further work.
Two tags and two ATC's from one multi-layered print.
Multi layered print close up.
A print which didn't go quite as planned. Rescued by adding distress stain to the white areas.
Use a pencil to add shading and other details to the print. Cut out various sizes of circles with punches. These can be used on future projects such as cards and canvases with further enhancement possibilities.

Detail of one circle showing base colour, stamping in second colour and pencil details added.
Stamp applied to paint on plate and a print is pulled.
One bird cut from the print which can be further developed.
Paint on the plate can be marked with any tool that will make a pattern - just remember that the item you use must not be sharp or you will damage the surface.
Print pulled from the plate. Image shows marking tool available in a variety of styles. The paint used was translucent and highly pigmented. The card is lightly textured - this creates a pattern as well so is worth trying.
Flowers punched from print scraps. These can be altered with crackle glaze etc.
Two card mats and an ATC waiting to be developed.
Skulls stencilled onto one of the  prints below which is finished with distress stain. Ready for Halloween next year!
Two prints pulled one with the stencil in place and the other after removing the stencil.
The background of one of the above prints is coloured with distress stain. Flower shapes are die cut for future use.
Further printing added to enhance a simple print which is then cut into two shapes.
Remember that piece of textured card used for cleaning the brayer and for the stamp practice? 

An ATC is die cut from the brayer card. I chose a section that I'd cleaned my stamp off on too for added interest. An Audrey Hepburn image is stamped with archival then embossed with clear EP to give it more impact.

On the left side of Audrey I used a pencil to add a little shading. Some flowers were punched from scraps of the same card. A ring image was stamped onto the ATC followed by the placement of the flowers on top. The middles are stick on gems and a stick on pearl coloured with alcohol ink. She needs more work but this is just to show how quick and easy projects can be to get started when you have some homemade backgrounds to choose from.

I hope this post gives you the inspiration to have a go with a Gelli Plate if you haven't tried one yet. Or, it might nudge you to get that one out that you bought and haven't used yet!

I have a brilliant Gelli Plate book by Joan Bess which has so many Gelli Plate techniques to be tried. It's straight forward and not pretentious at - my kind of book!

*NEW* Gelli Plate Printing by Joan Bess
A must have for Gellli Plate lovers - available at the Artist Trading Post HERE
Many of the products I have used are available from the Artist Trading Post. I have given links to these or products they stock which are very similar.

I know this has been a long post but I hope you've enjoyed reading it! Thank you for visiting.


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  2. Fabulous post Julia! Wonderful techniques and prints. Nikki xx

  3. Such an inspirational post Julia! So much to try out, my heads spinning, will be coming back for reference many times.....and your flowers are amazing! Ruth xx

  4. Looks like you've been having a blast! I'm saving this page to refer back to soon (soon as I get my gelli plate)


  5. Great post Julia, super results and you obviously had a lot of fun!

  6. This is one of the best gelli plate articles I've read! Thanks for all the good step by step pictures - makes for a good lesson.....

  7. This is a fantastic tutorial and came just at the right time - I was about to chuck my Gelli plate. I am glad it was long because it is chock full of information. Well done and I can't wait to play again.

  8. Hi Julie - It's Nancy from Gelli Arts! Great post :) I linked to the post on our FB page and there was a question about the flower stencil you used. Thought maybe you could share if you had any information about it. Thanks for the great article!

    1. Hi Nancy - Julia here, the author of this post. I've answered the question about the stencil on your FaceBook page. Hope that helps. Juliax

  9. A fantastic post Julia! I shall be coming back to this time and time again! So much useful information and gorgeous examples. Thank you so much xx

  10. Beautiful makes and very inspirational. Love the tree one

  11. Hi Julia, loved reading your post with step by steps...beautiful projects especially love the circles...thank you so much for the inspiration!:-) xxx

  12. Wow Julia, what a fabulous post! I love the results you got, those flowers are just stunning. It looks like you had lots of fun playing too! Anne xx

  13. Wow, fabulous tutorial, thanks so much Julia!!! Coco x

  14. Just sat down to read your post again Julia, absolutely fabulous! I absolutely love how you've turned your prints into different projects and your crackle flower is stunning! Sue C x

  15. Wow - amazing tips and techniques here - so many fabulous prints, and an extra huge WOW for those crackled flowers - magnificent!
    Alison xx

  16. You are a very talented lady Julia, just lovely.