Thursday, December 13, 2018

Gelli Arts® Gel Printed Altered Tag Dolls By Joanna Grant

Altered art dolls have been around for many years in many forms. I’ve always loved creating them with small, inexpensive, and recycled materials.

In this blog, I'm going to take ordinary recycled shipping tags and turn them into wonderful gel printed art dolls. Let's get going!

Step 1:
Print on both of the sides of your tags with whatever colors and patterns you like. Allow the tags to dry completely before moving to the next step.

Step 2:
Here’s where the real fun begins!

Lay out several of your gel printed tags, each with the better side up - usually you’ll find you like one side of the tag better than the other. This will be the body of your art doll.

Embellish the “body” with whatever other elements you’ve collected. Stickers, decals, scrapbooking doodads, etc. Let yourself play and work fairly quickly, without judging or being too critical of what you’re doing.

You can strategically place some of these embellishments over areas of the “body” that you don’t like or where there’s a bare spot. Your dolls are meant to be fun and funky and that means they’ll be somewhat imperfect.

Step 3:
Now, start playing around with your collection of faces and see which one suits each “body” best. Embellish the head and face as you like. Based on the weight of the material the head is made of, determine how you’re going to adhere the head to the body. If it’s ceramic or clay, for example, you’ll want to use a strong adhesive like E-6000 or Goop. If the face is paper or some other lightweight material, you can often use white glue. Be sure to set aside the tag to dry completely after gluing.

Step 4:
Will your art doll have arms and/or legs? They don’t have to, but if you’ve got some interesting metal findings or old jewelry bits hanging around they make fun “arms” and “legs” for these dolls. Measure down the sides of the “body” to where you’d like the “arms” to hang from and make a small mark with your pencil. Then, using the small hole punch or an awl, pierce that mark. Do the same along the bottom of the tag for the legs, spacing out the holes you make so that the “legs” hang properly and equidistant from each edge of the tag.

Step 5:
When you have the front of the doll embellished, the head on, and the arms and legs done, turn it over and make sure the back of the doll looks pleasing. Then, using some decorative thread or fine ribbon, glue on a hanger for the doll, placing it somewhere along the back of the head.

Remember, there is no right or wrong way to make these art dolls. It’s whatever suits your taste or whimsy at the moment. Go mild or wild, it’s up to you!

Here are some examples of my gel printed altered tag art dolls. For each one, I’ve described the unique items and processes I’ve used to create it.

“Baby Soul” got her name from the little face cabochon I reclaimed from some junk ceramics I was given. Her face is mounted on another salvaged ceramic piece and her collar is a reclaimed scrapbooking flower. The large heart on her body is another gel print and I also used an old puzzle piece, stamped with the word “soul.” Her “legs” are old earrings and I used a star-shaped punch to make the holes for the legs to attach to the body. I chose not to add arms to this doll because I liked it without them.

“Hope” is made with a rubber stamped face that I embellished with markers and glitter. The gel printed body is covered with recycled scrapbooking elements and office supplies. Her arms are made from funky findings and her legs are old jewelry wire filled with assorted buttons.

“Beloved” has a salvaged clay cabochon face, mounted on a reclaimed ceramic heart that was jazzed up with glitter glass and a small crown punched from gold paper. The double layered hearts on her body are two different gel prints, highlighted with an old puzzle piece that I stamped with the word “beloved.” She has recycled earrings for her legs and no arms by design. I especially love this art doll because I really disliked how the tag turned out after printing but I persevered and the final product turned out just great!

This art doll has a rubber stamped image for her face that is embellished with markers and doodles. Her collar is another gel print, embellished with white gel pen. The body is covered in recycled scrapbook elements, old office supplies, and rubber stamping. Her arms and legs are made from old jewelry wire that is embellished with salvaged beads.

This tiny art doll is only about 4” high overall. The head is made up of a stamped moon face on chipboard, surrounded by a salvaged metal finding (the crescent moon shape) and an old scrapbooking flower embellishment, which has sparkles because I added rhinestones to each petal. The arms and legs are made with old jewelry wires, salvaged beads and some repurposed metal findings for hands and boots.

  • An assortment of shipping or decorative tags 
  • Gelli Arts® gel printing plates 
  • Assorted acrylic paints 
  • Brayer 
  • Pencil 
  • Ruler 
  • Texture tools, stencils, etc.
  • Various glues: glue stick, white glue, gel medium, E-6000, or Goop 
  • Small hole punch (1/8 inch) or awl 
  • Small pliers 
  • Assorted embellishments – stickers, decals, recycled scrapbook doodads 
  • Old buttons, old jewelry pieces, metal findings, jump rings, etc. 
  • Faces for your art dolls – these could be rubber stamped images, cabochons molded from clay, hand drawn faces on heavy cardstock, altered magazine photos, vintage images, etc.
I hope you find the above examples inspiring and that you have tons of fun making these little art dolls with your gel prints. The sky really is the limit and you know no bounds but your imagination.

Joanna Grant

© 2018 by Gelli Arts®, LLC
Philadelphia, PA All rights reserved.
Gelli Arts® is a Registered Trademark.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Print with Stencils on Fabric with Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plates

Hi there! It’s Marsha here today showing how you can print your own designs on fabric using Gelli Arts® gel printing plates!

It’s super fun to add a personal touch to your home decor with hand printed fabrics. Our cushion covers were looking a bit tired, and with the festive season in full swing, I was looking for a budget-friendly way to create a couple of new covers.

Monoprinting on fabric can be a fun activity to do with your kids, too! I have to warn you though; this is not a project to attempt when you are in a rush! I recommend leaving plenty of time to complete. You may also need a bigger work surface than usual for the best possible results.

Step 1:
Pre-wash and iron the fabric before printing. The paint will grab the cotton fibers a lot better when all of the sizing is washed out.

If you already know what you are going to make with the fabric once it’s printed, you can cut it to the sizes needed for your project.

Step 2:
Think about designs you would like to print on your fabric. Draw them on paper.

Keep it simple. Remember that even the most basic shapes transform plain fabric into something amazing.

Step 3:
Choose the designs you want to use. Trace them onto transparencies. I’ve cut my transparencies to a size that covers the Gelli Arts® gel printing plates I’m going to use.

Trace each element of the design that you would like to have a different color, onto a separate transparency.

Having to clean stencils in between prints will slow your printing process, so think about making duplicate or even triplicate stencils beforehand.

Step 4:
Cut your stencils.

Step 5:
Set up your printing station. I cover my work surface with a non-slip plastic desk mat so the fabric can lay flat and won't move. The plastic desk mat also ensures I can quickly wipe away any paint that ends up on the work surface so that it doesn’t accidentally stain the fabric.

I also make sure I have plenty of room in the vicinity of my work surface to store all the stencils I’m using in between prints.

Choose the paint colors you want to use. Limit your color palette to a maximum of two colors plus a neutral.

You can use regular acrylic paint to monoprint on fabric, but if you need it to be washable, you’ll need to use a fabric paint or acrylic paint mixed with a fabric medium.

Follow the instructions on the fabric medium packaging to make sure you are mixing the correct amount of paint/medium for the best result.

I’m using acrylic paint mixed with a fabric medium. I’m using three plexiglass palettes and three brayers, one for each color.

Step 6:
Start with gel printing your fabric. If you want to print a repeat pattern, it’s easiest to start in the center of your material, printing one row at a time.

Place the stencil of your choice onto the Gelli Arts® gel printing plate. I’m using a selection of smaller gel printing plates, each placed on an acrylic-stamping block.

Cover your brayer with paint and then roll the paint over the stencil. Remove the stencil and press the Gelli Arts® gel printing plate paint-side down onto the fabric.

Lift up the gel printing plate and determine if the print needs another layer of paint. If so, you can quickly put the stencil back on to the gel printing plate, apply paint again, remove the stencil, and stamp over the previous print.

Wipe the plate clean with a damp cloth or a baby wipe whenever you want to change your paint color.

Keep going until you are satisfied with the result!

Step 7:
Leave your gel printed fabric to dry entirely before heat setting the paint with an iron. Consult the label of your fabric paint or fabric medium for the exact instructions.

Be sure to protect your ironing board cover with a cloth or parchment paper before ironing monoprinted fabric. This will prevent the paint from accidentally staining the cover.

Step 8:
Voila! Your fabric is ready for further use!

I gel printed enough fabric to cover all of my cushions. I’m not a trained seamstress, so I turned to YouTube and found a ton of cushion cover tutorials that were super helpful. Most of them are easy to follow, even for beginners!

Wishing you a very happy and festive season!

Gelli Arts®:
3”x5” Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plate
Gelli Arts® Mini Printing Plates – Round, Square, Triangle
4” Brayers

Cotton Fabric
Permanent Marker
Craft Knife
Fine-Tip Scissors
Fabric Paint or Acrylic Paint and Fabric Medium
Paint Palettes
Acrylic-Stamping Blocks
Sewing Equipment

© 2018 by Gelli Arts®, LLC
Philadelphia, PA All rights reserved.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Gelli Arts® and Art Foamies® Collaborate!

Gelli Arts® and Art Foamies® have teamed up to bring you more inspiration for the holidays! 

Art Foamies® Stamps are durable, bold, foam stamps designed for use on many surfaces. They can be used with acrylic paints, inks, and glazes. They are a perfect partner to our Gelli Arts® plates!

Eight members of our design teams collaborated to bring you 8 fun and creative projects! You can find 4 of the projects below and the rest on the Art Foamies® blog here.

Also, you'll find a FUN GIVEAWAY at the end of this blog! 

First, we have Tania Ahmed who brings you this handmade mini art journal!

Here is Tania's step-by-step video!

Make sure to visit her blog here to see the details in all these pages. Here's a mini peek!

Tracy Weinzapfel brings us our next project and her inspiration comes from the kitchen. She used her Gelli Arts® plates and Art Foamies® stamps to create custom tea towels!

She used coordinating fabric paints to create matching, but unique, tea towels that are fully washable.

Make sure to visit her blog here to see how she created these prints. You can take this project a step further and add embroidery stitching or machine stitching for additional details. The fabric paints are soft and completely washable.

Next, we have Kirsten Varga who created this fun, innovative, and foldable journal.

She provides great step-by-step instructions on her blog here. What a great idea to show off a variety of your monoprints!

Johanna Lawson brings us our fourth project - a unique version of an art journal!

Johanna takes us step-by-step in her blog here and gives us great tips and techniques to get clear prints each time!

Now for the Giveaway! 

Gelli Arts® and Art Foamies® are partnering to provide one lucky winner these great prizes!

We hope our artists inspired you to work out of the box, in an art journal, and even on fabric to create some hand crafted projects of your own!

Just a reminder to stop by Art Foamies® blog here to see what their artists created!

© 2018 by Gelli Arts®, LLC
Philadelphia, PA All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Festive Garland with Gelli Arts® by Johanna Lawson

Happy holidays monoprinting friends! Jo Lawson here! Get ready to deck the halls with this festive gel printed garland!

For this project, I was inspired by the upcoming holiday season, but this garland can be adapted for any occasion! It is also a great way to use the prints you have laying around. I used a circle punch for the garland pieces, however die cuts with an area large enough to sew would be beautiful as well. 

Use this tutorial as a guide and then make it your own! Get creative! I provided a video for you to create along with me.

Step One – Create a Background
Choose a stencil, ephemera, or cardboard pieces that will cover your entire plate. Bubble wrap creates a pattern and texture that works with so many tools. It is especially fun to use in a project because the colors continue to build up on the wrap, causing new and unexpected results!

Throughout the project, be sure to print on BOTH sides of your white card stock.

Continue to create backgrounds in your favorite colors, patterns, and textures!

Step Two – Add Details
Use smaller stencils and tools to add details to your backgrounds. Because this garland is made up of circles, I chose to use the 3” round plate with my stencils. Don’t be too concerned with the layout and composition; most of the paper will be cut into smaller pieces.

Step Three – Punch Away!
Create the pieces of the garland using punches or die cuts. Vary the sizes and shapes to add interest. For this project, I used 2.5”, 1.5”, and 1.25” circle punches. Turn the punch upside down and use it as a viewfinder before you punch.

Step Four – Sew it All Together
Move to the sewing machine and pick thread that compliments your monoprinted pieces. This is a great opportunity to try some of those decorative stitches you have been dying to use!

Leave a tail before you begin. Sew straight down the middle and DO NOT cut the thread. Leave about two inches between each piece. Be sure to pull the thread taut between the monoprinted pieces or the garland will not hang correctly.

Use 10-12 pieces for each garland and don’t forget to leave a tail at the end. Knot each tail when finished sewing and trim if desired.

Step Five – Embellish!
Keep them simple or go all out! These garlands are versatile and always turn out elegant and unique.

Head on over to my Instagram, Youtube, and Facebook pages - @smallbatchcards - to see more of my tutorials and art. Order cards, prints, stationery, and other paper art gifts at


- Gelli Arts® Premium Acrylic Paint - Cosmic Blue, Freshwater, Snowbound, Deep Jungle, Kiwi, Chili Pepper
- Gelli Arts® 4” Roller
- Gelli Arts® 3” Mini Round Plate
- 5” x 7” Gelli Arts® Printing Plate
- 5 Half sheets of 8.5” x 11” Cardstock
- Bubble Wrap
- Circle Punch - 2.5", 1.25", and 1.5"
- Mandala or Snowflake Stencil
- Christmas Words Stencil
- Glue
- Snowflake Die Cut
- Scissors
- Acrylic Block
- Jewels
- Thread
- Sewing Machine

We hope this inspires you to adorn your house in fun garland for all occasions!

Thanks for stopping by!
Jo Lawson

© 2018 by Gelli Arts®, LLC
Philadelphia, PA All rights reserved.

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