How to Make a Gelli Print

Monoprint made with a Gelli plate

Gelli plates are a quick, easy, and FUN way to make the most amaz­ing mono­prints. Once you expe­ri­ence this process for your­self, you’ll be addicted — like me!

Just fol­low these sim­ple steps to make your own unique Gelli prints.…

You’ll need:

  • Gelli plate (avail­able in 6x6, 8x10, 12x14, and an 8″ circle)
  • Acrylic paints (stu­dent or even craft grade is fine — dif­fer­ent types of paints will yield dif­fer­ent results!)
  • Rub­ber brayer
  • Mate­ri­als for lay­er­ing and tex­tur­ing (bub­ble wrap, string, cut paper shapes, rub­ber bands, etc.)
  • Paper (the same size or a lit­tle larger than your Gelli plate — I used plain copy paper, but you can try anything!)
  • Hand san­i­tizer (for clean­ing dried paint from your Gelli plate)
  • Baby wipes (optional, but makes for easy clean-up!)

Supplies for Gelli printing

Sup­plies for Gelli printing

There are so many ways to print with a Gelli plate… watch this video or fol­low the steps below to see one way to do it:

Steps for making a Gelli printSqueeze out a small amount of acrylic paint. (Note: I exper­i­mented with both stu­dent grade and artist grade paints, and both work well. You’ll get a slightly dif­fer­ent effect with each dif­fer­ent paint you try, so play around and see what you like. I also tried tem­pera paint, but it crawled and wouldn’t stick to the Gelli plate, so I don’t rec­om­mend it.)

Steps for making a Gelli print

Spread the paint with a rub­ber brayer. You can cover your plate all the way to the edges, or apply the paint only where you want it.

Steps for making a Gelli printPress some bub­ble wrap (or another mate­r­ial for cre­at­ing tex­ture) onto your Gelli plate, and then remove it.

Steps for making a Gelli printNow lay a piece of paper onto your Gelli plate, rub it well, then care­fully peel it off. You’ve made your first print! Work as quickly as you can so your paint doesn’t start to dry.

How to make a Gelli printOne of the best things about Gelli print­ing is how easy it is to achieve complex-looking effects, sim­ply by work­ing in lay­ers! Here I’m adding some yel­low paint to my Gelli plate.… no need to clean the old color off first, unless you want to. Let­ting the new color mix a lit­tle with the pre­vi­ous color will pro­duce even more inter­est­ing results!

How to make a Gelli print

For my next layer, I added some string. You could also cut some shapes out of paper for a resist, or draw with a Q-tip. Just don’t use any­thing that’s sharp (like a pen­cil) and may cut into your Gelli plate, or you’ll be see­ing that design on all of your future prints!


Now, lay your orig­i­nal print on top of your Gelli plate again to add another new layer. Press well, then care­fully peel away your print.

How to make a Gelli printWith­out re-inking, make a “ghost print” by lay­ing another piece of paper (blank or printed) on top of your plate. Some­times these ghost prints look even bet­ter than the originals!

How to make a Gelli printRepeat this process, mak­ing prints and ghost prints, until you have results you’re happy with. There’s no limit to the num­ber of times you can layer prints over a print!

How to make a Gelli printWhen it’s time to clean up, I found baby wipes to be an easy alter­na­tive to rins­ing my Gelli plate in the sink. Add a squirt of hand san­i­tizer to loosen any dried-on acrylic paint.

This is just one tech­nique for mak­ing mono­prints with a Gelli plate. Try exper­i­ment­ing with a vari­ety of mate­ri­als for lay­er­ing and adding tex­ture.… or go a dif­fer­ent direc­tion and use a brush for a more painterly effect. For more on Gelli print­ing, see my ear­lier post, “Mak­ing Mono­prints with a Gelli Arts Gel Print­ing Plate”. Imag­ine all the cre­ative ways you can use these unique prints for back­grounds, col­lages, and more. The sky’s the limit!

Have you tried Gelli printing?

What ideas do you have for using Gelli prints in the class­room or on your own?




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