Gelli Plate: Get jiggly with it !

GETTING STARTED
We have gathered some tips and instructions to help you care for your Gelli plate and get the most out of your prints. Please take a moment to read these recommendations below or print the Instructions and Care PDF for easy reference as you get started.

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.

I almost bought a gelli plate on amazon.com a few months ago. I wanted it,but just could not see spending good money for a piece of gelatin- OMG!! Btw, there is a great tutorial on how to make your own gelli plate and I am going to include it at the end of my post.

Making your own Gelatin/Glycerin Plate

Printmaking without a press using the new GelliArts Gelli Plate has really taken the interest of the arts & crafts world. You can buy a plate or now simply make one!

Permanent Gelli Printing Plates are made by Gelli Arts — you can order directly from them at gelliarts.com. Or you can order online  from DickBlick.com, Dharma Trading Co., Amazon (only has one size) and locally from Stamp Asylum (Plano) or Creative Callings (N. RIchand Hills). – see also http://www.gelliarts.com/pages/retailers

Sizes: Rectangular: 6×6 ($19.99) 8×10 ($29.99) 12×14 ($69.99) Round: 8″ ($27.99)

The “gelatin” plate revolution started with homemade gelatin plates using gelatin and water, but they last only a few weeks and must be refrigerated. However, they can be reconstituted by heating and repouring.

For a more “permanent” gelatin plate, various artists have experimented with adding glycerin to the mix.

IMG_1203

Ingredients:

The recipe that Edie Cournover used:

6 T of unflavored gelatin (7 of the small packs)
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups glycerin (You can find 6 oz bottles in the CVS skin lotion section & in the Walmart drugs area next to the rubbing alcohol — you need 2 bottles)

Linda Germain has an alternative recipe. http://makemonotypes.com/ (her online course is well worth it in my opinion)

4 oz. unflavored gelatin (4 boxes or 16 packets)
2 – 6 oz bottles of glycerin
1/2 cup COLD WATER
1 1/2 cups boiling water

Equipment:

You can use a rectangular glass pan, one of those clear acrylic frames, or a metal pan or tray. You can also make plates in round shapes or cut fresh ones into geometric shapes or organic forms. If the pan is 9×13, the plate will come out about 1/4 inch thick. Adjust the recipe for larger or smaller sizes or thicker results. Thicker plates are less likely to tear.

Recipe:

First, mix the gelatin and glycerin together thoroughly in a heat-safe container, then added boiling water and stir slowly.  Try not to introduce air into the mix. Alternative: Start with the cold water and 1 bottle of glycerin; stir gently and add glycerin; stir thoroughly and add hot water; stir gently and add remaining glycerin.

Pour the hot melted mixture into a pan — make sure first that everything is level in your setup. Skim the top with a strip of newspaper to remove air bubbles. Let it set. You can also refrigerate the mix until set (a few hours) or put in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. Or just leave it on the counter to cure, since it’s best not to move it until it’s firmer.

To remove the plate from the pan, use your fingers to go around working the gel back from from the edges. After you break that seal, you should be able to peel it from the pan and move it onto a plexiglas plate or whatever you will use as a printing surface. Note: a clear surface lets you place designs underneath to work with — or a paper so that you can gauge pulling prints better.

After curing, if your result is still a little sticky or malformed, you can microwave it (in a glass container) for 3-4 minutes to liquify it, stir it when needed. Then pour it, and let it set again.  Sometimes it needs more or less water. The paint should roll on smoothly, although the very first paint application may not be smooth. You can also redo the melting and resetting if it tears (or just cut it down).

IMG_1201

Results:

In contrast to the gelatin only plate, the gelatin/glycerin plate doesn’t need refrigeration. But it isn’t as permanent as a real Gelli Arts Gelli Plate since it is more fragile and will tear easily, especially if it is thin. You also can’t wash it under the faucet like the tougher plate. You can clean it by spraying with water and wiping with paper towels, or by using baby wipes.

Otherwise printmaking is just the same. After experimenting with acrylic and watercolor, the results are indistinguishable. But I think the homemade plate is slightly “friendlier” to watercolor because the Gelli Arts Plate has mineral oil in it.

NOT RECOMMENDED: You can also use rubbing alcohol in the recipe for permanent plate, but it is described as rather smelly. It’s also noxious. If you use that, then DON’T use the microwave process for resetting since alcohol is flammable. For that recipe and more on the process, see the Youtube videos at http://youtu.be/h9taUh073vQ (thefrugalcrafter) and http://youtu.be/Z6BQo63zsvA  (Edie Cournoyer) Linda Germain gelatin plate videos: http://youtu.be/JZgBkBv8y5s

Storing your plate:

I keep and use mine is a plastic box. But you can store yours on a plexiglas plate. Just be sure to use a piece of plastic on top or plastic wrap around it to protect it, especially from evaporation of the water contained in the plate. If it hardens, just reconstitute it as mentioned above. You might have to add a tablespoon or two of water.

IMG_1202

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