Friday, December 27, 2013

Gelli on my Plate

"Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous."  Bill Moyers

A few weeks ago I got a  Gelli Arts printing plate as a Hanukkah present from my husband. It wasn't a total surprise since it was on my short wish list, but nevertheless I was very excited to see it. I'd read all about it and seen many videos and pictures of prints that people had made with it. I was intrigued and figured there must be lots of ways to incorporate Zentangle with these types of prints.

For those of you who aren't familiar with a gel printing plate, you should check out my link above, but in a nutshell, it is a printing plate made out of a gel-like plastic. You apply acrylic paint to the surface and then add and subtract color and designs using many different kinds of tools, stencils, brushes, etc. Then you lay paper on top of it, rub with your hands, and lift the paper off with the print on it.

A couple of days ago it was time to play. I pulled out my small supply of acrylic paints, a pile of white cardstock, some stencils, and some wedges (the wedges were a gift from my daughter). I won't explain the process here since I certainly don't claim to be an expert, and there are plenty of videos to watch online of people who have a better idea of what they're doing. But I will say that I went through lots of paper, and was not happy with most of the prints I made. Here's a picture of one of only a couple of prints that I liked.

I used a tulip stencil from Joggles, a wedge, and another flower stencil from Crafters Workshop. I painted, brayered (to roll the paint over the gelli plate), stenciled, and printed, then painted some more, brayered some more, stenciled some more, and printed again. Adding layers gives it lots of depth, but unfortunately I was not always satisfied with my combinations. In the above picture I got the results I was going for - white tulips to tangle with a colorful, layered background.

So next (after lots of cleanup) it was on to the tangling. At this point (probably a little late to be thinking about it), I wasn't sure how my Microns would work on top of all the layers of acrylic paint. I've worked on water color before, but never acrylic. Luckily I had no problem with the pen. When I was done tangling I wasn't so sure whether or not they looked like tulips or just lollipops! I outlined the petals which helped give them more definition....still not sure if I should grow them or eat them.

Then I decided to try some pencil shading, not so sure how that would work on top of the paint. But again, like with the pen, I was pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out. I don't know if it's really visible in the picture below, but the shading did help to give the flowers some more definition.

Admittedly, I need to do lots more playing with the Gelli Plate to get better at it. There's always a learning curve when trying a new product. I have a couple of ideas up my sleeve for next time, in an attempt to make the tangling stand out more. I'll let you know how it goes.


  1. It's really lovely, Caren - I do like being able to see the various stages and the final effect looks as if it were planned from the very start! Have fun! Axxx

    1. Thanks Annie. I'm looking forward to finding some more time to play with the gelli plate and hoping that my results will satisfy me more often.

  2. This is a STUNNING piece - you've perfectly combined two of my favourite things!