Making Monoprints with a Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate

Monoprints made with a Gelli Arts gel printing plate

Mono­prints made with a Gelli Arts gel print­ing plate

I recently dis­cov­ered a new prod­uct that I’ve become obsessed with… the Gelli Arts Gel Print­ing Plate. I’ve always loved mono­print­ing, but Gelli Plates take this art form to a whole new level.

Print­mak­ing with a Gelli Plate is sim­i­lar to gelatin print­ing, but the plate itself is much more durable, it’s reusable, you can store it at room tem­per­a­ture, and the result­ing prints are fab­u­lous! But I think the best thing about mak­ing prints with Gelli Plates is the process.

When was the last time you expe­ri­enced the free­dom and FUN of get­ting totally lost in the art-making process? This hap­pens to me every time I get out my Gelli Plate!

Last week­end I invited a cou­ple of my artist friends over for a Gelli Plate “play date”. I began by show­ing them some prints I had made — and they were instantly drawn in… they couldn’t wait to make prints of their own. We quickly became immersed in the process of mak­ing prints and shar­ing ideas… the hours flew by!

The Gelli print­ing process is sim­ple, fast, and full of excit­ing sur­prises. Even when you try to dupli­cate an effect you got on an ear­lier print, there are always unex­pected results. Every print is truly unique… no two are ever exactly alike. Press­ing tex­tured mate­ri­als and shapes into the paint as you print suc­ces­sive lay­ers cre­ates a rich, com­plex arrange­ment of col­ors and patterns.

Gelli print­ing is like ther­apy for the per­fec­tion­ist or con­trol freak. If you’re not happy with one of your prints, you don’t have to stop there… just keep adding lay­ers until you arrive at a print you love! And, no mat­ter how much you try to man­age the out­come, you can never com­pletely con­trol it. This forces you to let go and just have fun. Stu­dents who pres­sure them­selves with per­fec­tion­ism dur­ing art class may finally find free­dom from that stress with Gelli printing.

Gelli prints make won­der­ful back­grounds for paint­ings and col­lages. Or, cut them up “Eric Carle style” for col­or­ful, tex­tured col­lage paper. Try paint­ing a land­scape or still life before apply­ing your tex­tures. You’re only lim­ited by your imagination!

I’m just begin­ning to explore the pos­si­bil­i­ties for using Gelli Plates with kids. As a class­room sup­ply, the draw­back is their price. If you’re a teacher with a large class and a small bud­get, you may not be able to afford a class set all at once. But per­haps you could have a cou­ple of Gelli Plates on hand as an option for early fin­ish­ers, use them in “cen­ters” dur­ing a unit on print­mak­ing, or have stu­dents work in groups, shar­ing a Gelli Plate between sev­eral students.

For inspi­ra­tion, check out the Gelli Arts web site, the Gelli Arts blog, Gelli Arts on Face­book, the Teach Kids Art Gelli Print board on Pin­ter­est, Gelli Print­ing on You Tube, and The Art of Education’s recent inter­view with Lou Ann Glea­son, the co-founder of Gelli Arts. I’ll also be post­ing a step-by-step tuto­r­ial soon.

Gelli Plates are avail­able in four sizes: 6x6, 8x10, 12x14 and an 8″ cir­cle. You can buy them online from Dick Blick Art Mate­ri­als or directly from the Gelli Arts web­site. Some art retail­ers also carry them. Have some fun with a Gelli Plate your­self and imag­ine the possibilities!

(For an inex­pen­sive ver­sion of mono­print­ing that every­one can afford, see my ear­lier posts on mak­ing mono­prints using alu­minum foil, tem­pera paint, and Q-Tips!)


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4 Responses to Making Monoprints with a Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate

  1. Nancy Kelley March 12, 2014 at 5:30 am #

    Thanks Cheryl! Absolutely loved every­thing you had to say about the Gelli print­ing process — par­tic­u­larly the part about “ther­apy for the con­trol freak” — so true both in and out of the classroom

  2. Art Mom March 18, 2014 at 9:49 am #

    Love the prints! What a fun process too. Think I need to try some Gelli plates! Thanks for sharing.


  1. tampa art programs | Peek Inside a Pi-Powered CNC Oreo-Customizing Machine + MORE | TampaKidsArt Art Classes: Children/Kids/Teen Art Classes and Programs - March 11, 2014

    […] Mak­ing Mono­prints with a Gelli Arts Gel Print­ing Plate […]

  2. How to Make a Gelli Print | TeachKidsArt - March 18, 2014

    […] 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, […]

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