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Gelli Plate

Gel Printing Plate looks and feels like gelatin, but is durable, reusable and stores at room temperature. It’s easy to clean and always ready for printing. Monoprinting on a Gelli plate is simple and fun. The gratification is immediate, and the prints are too cool!

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Learn how to use a Gelli Plate

Bondaweb aka interfacing aka wonderunder – combined with gelli plates

Print your own fabric using gelli plates and stencils

STORAGE

    • We recommend keeping the original pieces of clear plastic film and replacing them on the gel plate for storage. There will be air pockets when you replace the film. We recommend smoothing out as much air as possible. Take care not to trap any debris or paint residue between the mylar and gel plate.
    • Our clamshell package is designed to be used for storing your gel plate. The plate can also be stored on a smooth tray or piece of glass. Always keep your gel printing plate laying flat on a smooth, clean surface.
    • We recommend keeping the label with instructions that comes packaged with your gel plate, but do not leave directly in contact with the gel plate.

THE BASICS

    • We recommend using acrylic paints. It is not necessary to clean the plate between prints, unless desired. Paint residue can contribute to surprising and pleasing results.
    • There is no need to clean your plate between prints, but it is recommended to clean your plate before storage and remove all paint residue at that time.
    • We do not recommend using dyes when printing on the plate (such as rubber stamp inks, spray inks and fabric dyes) as the gel will absorb some of the dye and become permanently stained. However, stains will not affect printing performance.
    • Many paints and inks are compatible with Gelli printing. These include water-soluble printmaking inks and fabric paints.

EASY CLEAN UP

    • Acrylic paints can be easily cleaned from the plate with mild soap and water. Rinse and gently pat the gel printing plate dry with a paper towel.
    • Gel hand sanitizers (such as Purell®, etc.) can be used to remove paint residue on the plate. Simply rub onto the plate and wipe clean with a paper towel.
    • Baby wipe products can also be used to clean your gel printing plate.
    • Some paint pigments can stain or discolor the gel plate. Stains can usually be removed by following the cleaning instructions recommended for oil paints.

MAKING YOUR MARK

    • Fun textures are easy to find … to get started, try using bubble wrap, plastic grids, foam stamps, stencils, leaves and string to create interesting imagery on your plate.
    • For hand drawn mark-making, use soft-tipped tools like paint brushes, cotton tipped swabs or soft rubber-tipped tools.
    • Do not use pointy tools such as pencils or toothpicks. They may scratch the gel plate surface and leave permanent marks.

ESSENTIAL TO KNOW

  • The gel printing plate has an extremely sensitive surface and will imprint any texture it is sitting upon or covered with.
  • Do not cover your gel printing plate with plastic wrap or waxed paper. Also, do not place your gel plate on these materials. These wraps will wrinkle and imprint their texture on your gel printing plate.
  • The gel printing plate is made of a unique plastic that contains mineral oil. The gel plate will leach a small amount of harmless mineral oil when left sitting on an absorbent surface.
  • We recommend you protect your work surface by placing your gel printing plate on a smooth, flat, non-porous barrier such as a Teflon® sheet, baking tray or piece of glass.
  • Do not place your gel printing plate directly on a surface that may absorb the harmless mineral oil, like a wooden table.
  • The gel printing plate may exude a small amount of harmless mineral oil when exposed to warm environments. This is normal and, when wiped off, will not affect printing performance.
  • Keep away from open flame and other heat sources. The gel printing plate is for art and craft use. It is not a toy.
  • Do not use any glossy paper stock, including glossy photo paper. It can stick to and damage the surface of the gel plate.
  • As your gel plate is used, it is normal for it to lose its glass finish and become matte and cloudy. This does not affect its performance.
  • There is no latex in the gel plate, and it does not contain any animal products.

Learn how to use a gelli plate for mono printing fabrics and papers

Combine gelli plates with stencils for the most stunning results. Check out the Colouricious Stencil Art Department

Q:  What kinds of paints/inks can I use on my Gelli® plate?

A:  We recommend acrylic paints. Everyone seems to have their favorite brands, so experiment with yours! Liquitex Basics are an excellent paint for monoprinting on the Gelli® plate. Inexpensive craft paints are another option,  but you have to work pretty fast. You can slow the drying time by adding a retarder, acrylic glaze medium or Golden Open Medium to any acrylic paints. Golden Open Acrylics are perfect if you want to use highly pigmented paint with a longer workable time.

Q:  Can I use printmaking inks on my Gelli® plate?

A:  Yes. We recommend water-soluble printmaking inks, such as Speedball Block Printing Inks, Daniel Smith Water-Soluble Inks, and Akua inks.

Q:  Can I use oil-based inks and paints?

A:  Oil-based paints and inks can be used, but it’s best if they don’t sit on the plate for long. The Gelli® plate is made with a non-toxic mineral oil, and the oils in paint or ink can soften the plate if left there too long.

Q:  Can I use dyes and rubber stamp inks?

A:  Dyes and stamp inks may stain the Gelli® plate, but that will not affect the performance of your Gelli® plate.

Q:  Can I use fabric paints?

A:  Yes – we personally adore Colouricious textile paints are the colours are strong and easy to fix with ironing.

Q:  Can I use watercolors?

A:  Watercolor paints are not ideal for monoprinting, as their thin viscosity will bead up on the Gelli® plate. However, we have seen Gelli® prints done with watercolor with beautiful results. Gouache may be easier to work with. We suggest experimenting if you wish to use watercolors. 

Q:  What papers are good for Gelli® printing?

A:  There are so many papers that are great for Gelli® printing! Anything from computer paper to card stock to printmaking paper. We recommend starting out with regular computer paper, as you get used to Gelli® printing. You’ll use a lot of paper! We love Staples #110 Cardstock for an economical heavy paper. Bristol is another great choice. Rives BFK or Rising Stonehenge are excellent printmaking papers for fine prints. For collage, we love using deli paper (dry waxed paper) for it’s thin, translucent properties. Paper is such an individual preference, and your end purpose will be a factor in your paper choice. A smooth-surfaced paper gives a more detailed print.

Q:  Do I need to mist or soak my printing papers?

A:  No. Monoprinting on a Gelli® plate is best using dry paper

Q:  Are there any papers that should NOT be used?

A:  Yes! We have learned that glossy coated paper stock is not compatible with the Gelli® plate. It can immediately stick to the plate and not come off without damaging the plate’s surface. DO NOT use any glossy papers (including glossy photo papers)

Q:  Can I monoprint on fabric?

A:  Yes. Gelli® printing is perfect for monoprinting on fabric. Tight-weave fabrics, such as PFD cotton and muslin,  give great results.

Gelli printing is fabulous for reverse block printing using Colouricious wooden printing blocks

Q:  My acrylic paints are drying too fast on the plate. What can I do?

A:  There can be a slight learning curve to find what paints work best and how much to use. If your paints are drying too fast, you can try using a slightly heavier paint application. Another good option is to add some retarder or acrylic glaze medium to your paint to slow down the drying time. Spraying the plate with water does not usually help.

Q:  My paint is beading up and repelling on my plate. What should I do?

A:  The gel plate is made with a non-toxic mineral oil. At times, the plate may have a thin film of oil that slightly repels water-based paints. Washing the plate with a soap will help alleviate this situation. As the plate gets used, the paint should roll out smoothly. Another situation that can cause paint to bead up is when the paint is too watery. Using thicker paint may give a more desirable result.

Q:  My prints are sticking to the Gelli® plate. Any suggestions? 

A:  Usually, when prints are sticking to the plate, there’s too little paint coating the plate. You may also experience this if the paint is drying on the plate. Using a bit more paint may help. If the surface of the plate feels tacky, it’s best to wash it with a dish detergent, such as Dawn, and pat dry — then continue printing

Q:  Do I need to wipe or wash my plate between prints?

A:  No. In fact, some of the happiest surprises occur when paint from previous prints show up on subsequent prints. However, if you want to start a fresh print with a clean plate, simply spritz with water and wipe with a paper towel. Baby wipes work well, and gel hand sanitizer also cleans the plate easily.

Q:  Can I place a reference picture under the Gelli® plate while printing? 

A:  It is important to create a barrier between your reference picture and the Gelli® plate. Place your Gelli® plate on a piece of mylar, or acetate, or Plexiglass, or glass first. Then place that over your picture. Do not place your Gelli® plate directly onto a photograph.

Q:  Is Gelli® monoprinting a good activity for small children?

A:  Gelli® printing is great fun for all ages! Children should be supervised — monoprinting can be a messy process.

Q:  Is the Gelli® plate made from gelatin? 

A:  No. There is no gelatin in a Gelli® plate.

Q:  Do Gelli® plates contain any animal products?

A:  No. There are no animal products in the Gelli® plate. It is completely vegetarian-friendly.

Q:  Is there latex in the plate?

A:  No. The Gelli® plate contains NO latex. It is made with mineral oil and is a hypoallergenic polymer material.

Q:  Will my Gelli® plate break down over time? How long will it last?

A:  With proper care, Gelli® plates are extremely durable and long-lasting. We’ve been using our plates for several years and they are all in excellent condition.

Q:  My Gelli® plate surface has become matte and cloudy. Is this normal?

A:  Yes. As your plate is used, it will lose its glass finish and become matte and cloudy. This is perfectly normal and does not affect performance at all.

Q:  I noticed there are bubbles under the plastic sheets that cover the Gelli® plate. Is that a problem?

A:  It is possible for air bubbles to form between the Mylar and the gel plate surface leaving a small bubble mark. These are insignificant and do not usually present any problem in printing.  If bubble marks do show up on your prints – try the following:  Place your plate bubble mark side down on a hard, flat surface (the gel printing plate contains mineral oil, so do not place the plate on a surface that may absorb mineral oil) and let it sit overnight.  The gel material conforms to the surface it is laying upon – so in the morning the bubble marks should be gone.

Q:  Can I cut my Gelli® plate into smaller pieces?

A:  The Gelli® plate can be cut with scissors. Do not try to cut it with a craft knife. The flexible, stretchy nature of the plate makes it very difficult to cut with a knife.

Q:  Is it okay if paint dries on the Gelli® plate?

A:  Yes. Printing with fresh paint directly over dry paint may pull the dried paint off the plate, creating interesting, unpredictable prints. However, when you’re finished with your printing session, we recommend cleaning your plate. Always clean the surfaces before replacing your Gelli® plate in its clamshell package.

Q:  How do I clean my Gelli® plate after using acrylic paints?

A:  The plate is very easy to clean. You can spritz it with water and wipe with a paper towel, then pat dry. Baby wipes and gel hand sanitzer are also useful for wiping the plate clean. You can also take the plate to the sink and wash with mild soap and water.

Q:  How do I clean my Gelli® plate after using oil-based paints?

A:  Wipe the plate clean with baby oil (mineral oil), then wash with a soap, to remove the oily residue.

Q:  My plate has become stained from pigments. How can I remove the stains?

A:  Wiping your plate with baby oil should remove most pigment stains. After you’ve cleaned the plate, you should wash it with  soap, to remove the oily residue.

QHow do I remove newsprint ink or pencil marks from a Gelli® plate?

A:  See answer directly above. Cleaning the plate for all stains is the same process.

Q: How do I store my Gelli® plate?

A: When you are finished printing, we recommend you clean your Gelli® plate and pat it dry with a paper towel. To protect the printing surface when you are storing your plate, cover both sides of the plate with a plain white sheet of copy paper. Be careful to smooth out the paper with your hands to ensure there are no air bubbles in between the paper and the plate. Now you can place your plate back in the clamshell until you are ready to use it again. You can discard the mylar sheets that come with the plate

Q:  Do we have an artist affiliate program for Gelli® products?

A:  No. We do not have any affiliate programs at this time.

Q:  Is the Gelli® plate sensitive to heat?

A:  Yes, the Gelli® plate is sensitive to heat and should be kept away from all heat sources.  Do not use a heat gun with the Gelli® plate and do not leave it in your car when it is hot outside.