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  • Writer's pictureMarcy LaBella

PRETTY PAPERS #GelatinPrinting #mIXEDMEDIA #Mono Prints #scrapbooking #handmadepapers #stenciling

Updated: Feb 28, 2019

Oh so Pretty Papers...



I have loved gelatin printing since I was a child and love the process of mono printing and the immediacy of the medium and the organic results that can be achieved. Before the "Gelli" plate was invented we used actual gelatin to create a similar printing plate by using double amounts of plain gelatin to create a printing plate. Gelli arts has made it all simply by creating easy re-usable plates that come in multiple sizes for printmaking.

I use enamel trays to support my gelli plates when I am printing - this keeps them from getting damaged. Since they are semi soft you want to protect them from being scratched on their surface. You can use any type of cookie sheet for this. Always keep the plastic sheets that come with your plate, after every use clean them and dry them and put the plastic protective sheets back in place to keep them from getting surface marks.

Gelli Printing Materials that work well include but are not limited to...

Stamps - rubber stamps, foam stamps, wooden stamps

Stencils - paper, plastic - metal may scratch the surface

Nature materials such as leaves - silk leaves are great too

Fibers that are textured but not harsh will leave lovely marks

Priceton Catalyst Blades and Rubber Shaper tools for mark making and drawing

I use a combination of block printing inks and acrylic paint. Both fluid and heavy body acrylic will work well but I generally add a bit of Open Medium to the paint or ink to add flow and working time.


The process is a simple one, rolling on the ink over your stencil, paper cut outs or just a wash of color onto the plate and pulling prints. More than one can be pulled from each inking. You can also use stamps to remove some ink to create texture, or roll a second color over a stencil after the first pull. The possibilities are endless and infinite. Sometimes the second or even third print will be better than the first much variation is possible. Rubber texture tools, and catalyst blades, faux bois graining tools are all very interesting to use to texture the ink. You can use rubber tipped tools to draw directly onto the surface of the ink.


After the paper is laid down, you must rub the entire back surface using either a print making baren or a soft piece of paper towel over the surface to pick up the print.

Using different papers yields different results, I love using mulberry paper or rice paper. These can later be used for collage or seamlessly added to mix media paintings. Using ephemera such as book pages or newspaper can give interesting results and even your work surface can sometimes leave you with pieces and bits for your collage pile.

I hope you try this very fun and slightly addicting print making activity soon!! Below I have included easy instructions about how to make your own DIY gelatin plate if you want to start with a low investment. It's how lots of us did it for many years so worth a try for just a few dollars.

Peace and Namaste,



You will need the following:

Plain Gelatin Packets (you will need to use two times the amount of gelatin packets per the instructions)

cold water, boiling water per the instructions on the gelatin packets

a silicone baking tray the size of the print plate you want to make

a metal baking tray or cookie sheet larger then your silicone tray

Its quite easy to make a DIY gelatin plate by using plain gelatin, doubling the amount of packets per the instructions and using a silicone baking tray. I suggest using a silicone tray which is the easiest since it helps your plate to pop right out. Be sure to support your silicone tray with a metal tray under it before adding water, as it will be very wobbly once you add the water to the gelatin.

I add the packets right into the silicone tray, cold water first stirring well. You would then add the boiling water and mix again. Allow it to sit for a few minutes. If you have bubbles rise to the top you can easily remove them with a balled up piece of paper towel.

Leave it to set up at least 3 hours, pop in into the refrigerator after it cools. This gelatin plate will last up to 3 months if wrapped in plastic wrap between uses. You can simply wipe the top when done, with a baby wipe and pop it back into the silicone tray, cover it back up with plastic wrap. Keep it in the refrigerator so it stays cold and ready to use.

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