Monday, December 24, 2012

Gelli Plate Printing - ho ho ho

WOO HOO!  The Xmas holidays are here, time to get stuck into some new projects....

...firstly just have to duck into the kitchen and start making the potato bake for Xmas lunch tomorrow, but in between peeling potatoes and chopping the onion, there's art to do!

This week I've been working on my gelli plate printing.  For those of you who don't know, for the past year I have been importing and selling Gelli Arts Printing Plates (  They're are similar to the plates you can make from gelatin but are permanent, don't have to be prepared ahead of time and can be stored at room temperature.  I think they're great because they're more practical in our hot, humid climate than gelatin given our recent 30degrees+ temperatures and sticky humidity, I put the plates to the ultimate test.

In the past I had only used acrylic paints on my plates.  So this time I tried oil paints.  Same sort of process, but slightly longer working time.  Colours of course are beautiful on the prints, but after a week, they are still not yet touch dry!  Not good if I wanted to use the prints straight away.

Never mind, its back to the fast-drying acrylic.  In the past I have used acrylic retarder medium to lengthen the working time.  This time I tried Matisse Print Paste.  This is a retarder medium used in screenprinting.  I found the print paste to be better than the retarder, mostly as its thicker and easier to roll on the plate.

From the prints I have done the past couple of days, I have made 2 small concertina books using Cotton Tree leaves.
Some of the photos below show leaf prints that I have also done for an encaustic concertina book based on the ginkgo leaf.  After Xmas I will start working on the encaustic part of the project, stay tuned to my blog for more updates on how this project progresses....

If you're interested in the Gelli Plates, let me know.  I've got another batch arriving in the next couple of weeks, I sell them for $50 each.  I can give you a free demonstration if you like, but there's plenty of YouTube videos on the net to show you how easy it is to print with them.

I hope you all have a very creative Xmas.... after all of the Xmas cheer is over, lets get stuck into some art!   ho ho ho

Gelli Plate 'ghost' print using oil paint, the
detail and colour is beautiful

More prints, both ghost and first prints using oil paint

Ready to print, gelli plate inked up with acrylic paint

Ginkgo leaves, collected on my last trip to Sydney

The plate and leaves after printing

prints hanging to dry (almost instant in this hot weather!)

One of the prints that I'll use in my encaustic book


  1. I had to ditch a gelatine plate a few weeks developed mould, then started to dissolve.In the fridge!
    I'm curious to know what paper you use, Sandra.I get nice, soft results on paper like Hosho and the softer printing papers;not so good on "stiffer" substrates.
    Might talk to you about a plate when my dust settles!
    Happy to peel a prawn!

  2. I use all sorts of paper, I particularly like kozo, but usually use sketch book paper, photocopy paper, or tissue paper. Also dampened printmaking paper too. The problem with stiffer thicker paper is that you can't get pressure into the detailed parts of the prints (eg leaves) because I only use my hands when printing with my gelli plate.

  3. Have you tried Golden Open Acrylics? I love them and they dry pretty quickly when used on a gelatin plate. Since the color is applied so thinly. I really like them. The only downside is the Golden does not offer ALL their colors in this line but enough to work with.

  4. This is a process I've yet to try...but I will...I promise....soon.

  5. Great to find someone who tried using oil based media with the gelli plate - I might have a go with it myself. I am a printmaker so love all things print related just wish that large gelli plate wasnt so expensive !!

    What kind of paper did you use for the oil based ? Any tips on getting the effects you achieved - they do look good.

    1. Hi Aine, I used cartridge paper for the oil based prints. I also tried tracing paper, it took ages to dry!

      Re: getting detail. Get your fingers into the object & around it to make good contact with the plate & object. I like using ferns because of their beautiful veins but any leaf with lots of ridges and veins and texture works well.
      Good luck!