Sunday, February 22, 2015

Printing with Gelli Arts® Printing Plates and DIY Foam Printing Plate Stamps!

Easy-to-make foam printing plate stamps create fabulous textured Gelli Arts® prints! Watch this video to see how to create DIY foam stamps for unique prints on cards!

FYI - Joan did this project a few years ago and it was such a big hit - we decided to create a DIY Card Printing Kit and a DIY Stamping & Printing Kit for you!  You can follow along her blog using the items in your new kit.  Feel free to use additional items to create textures or additional colors of acrylic paints!  You can make similar stamps with the foam sheets included in your kits.  

Now on to Joan's original blog!  Have fun!


They're so easy and fun to make, you'll have a collection of these stamps in no time! 

Express your creativity by making the stamps for printing your cards! 

There's a variety of materials that you can use to make a texture stamp. Here we're using thin sheets of foam—available at art stores for use as printmaking plates. It cuts easily with scissors or a craft knife—and drawing into it with a pen, pencil, stylus or other pointed tool gives you endless design opportunities! 

Decorative-edge scissors cut smoothly through the thin foam material—and hand punches work well too! If you have a die-cutting machine (like a Cuttlebug, etc.)—you can run it through with an embossing folder and create a very cool embossed surface on the foam. Then cut your own shapes from the embossed printing foam! 

Instead of the foam sheets for printmaking, you can also use styrofoam plates or repurposed clean food trays. 

Incise lines into the pieces with a pencil, ballpoint pen or stylus. Cut or punch out some small areas. The design can be simple shapes, or as intricate as you want. You can plan your design beforehand, or just wing it! 

As you make your marks in the foam, keep in mind that what you see is what you get. So that means you can write words in the foam too! No need to figure out reversals—how perfect for adding a sentiment to your cards! 

The prints in the video are made on the 5"x7" Gelli® plate  —using Amsterdam Standard Series Acrylic paints and Pebeo Studio Acrylics

(You can use the 5" x 5" Gelli® plate and our new Gelli Arts® premium acrylic paints in your kit).

Strathmore has a new line of printmaking paper and they've made it into beautiful card and envelope sets. The cards and envelopes shown here are all printed on Strathmore Printmaking Cards.

The following steps describe the process shown in the video for creating the gel printed card: 
  1. Roll a thin layer of acrylic paint onto the Gelli® plate with a brayer 
  2. Press a texture tool (like bubble wrap) into the paint 
  3. Cover with your card and pull a print 
  4. Wipe the plate clean (not essential—but makes a nice clean print) 
  5. Roll a layer of a contrasting color onto the plate with a brayer 
  6. Place your foam stamps on the painted plate 
  7. Cover with thin paper (such as deli paper)—to press the stamps into the paint and remove the paint from the plate around the stamps 
  8. Remove the cover paper and remove the foam stamps 
  9. Place your printed card on the Gelli® plate to print a second layer 
  10. Rub to transfer the paint and pull your print—the second layer on your card!
TIP: Your printed image will 'pop' more if the paint colors for each layer are of different value (light/dark). You'll get very different results with transparent paints vs. opaque ones. Metallic paints also offer an exciting option as one of the layers. 

While you're printing your cards, also print on the envelopes! 

There are various ways to create a blank space for the address. Here are a few suggestions: 
  • Strategically place a piece of torn or cut paper on the painted, stamped Gelli® plate to create a blank space. 
  • Place a removable label on the envelope as a mask. Print over it—then remove the label. 
  • Scrape or wipe off an area of wet paint on the Gelli® plate, then print your envelope. 

Receiving hand-printed cards and envelopes is always special! Printing your unique stamp images on beautiful paper enhances your artwork and shows the love! 


Winner is Roberta K!

And to show OUR love—we have an exceptional GIVEAWAY for cardmaking!!! 

The prize kit includes: 

1 - 5"x7" Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plate 
1 - Strathmore Printmaking Cards - Package of 50 Cards and Envelopes 
8 - Amsterdam Standard Series Acrylic Paint - 120 ml tubes (4.1 fl. oz.) 
1 - Speedball 4" Pop-In Soft Rubber Brayer
1 - Inovart 'Presto' Foam Printing Plates - Package of 20 - 9"x12" sheets 

To enter the giveaway, click on the red "ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE" button below! (This will ensure that we can contact the winner and that entries are limited to one per person. One winner will be selected from all the entries via a random number generator to receive this very special giveaway!) 

Entries will be accepted until Wednesday, February 25th at 1pm. Our lucky winner will be contacted by email and announced here on the blog and on our Facebook page no later than Wednesday, the 25th at 5pm


Special thanks to our friends at Strathmore for their generous donation to our giveaway prize! 

Remember, we now have Gelli ® partners all over the world, so it's easier than ever to find a Gelli ® retailer near you! 

Good Luck and Happy Printing! 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Valentine Collage from Gelli Arts® - Winner of Tool of the Year at Creative World!

Before I get started... I want to share that the Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plates just won 2nd place in the "Tool of the Year" category at CreativeWorld in Frankfurt! We are excited, proud and honored. Here are a few pictures from the special occasion.

Now back to our Valentine collage!

Every now and then, I go through my stacks of Gelliprints and separate them into four basic categories: Prints that are finished, prints that need additional printed layers, prints to work back into, and prints to tear or cut up to use in collage or for making paper cloth. When I'm ready to start a new project, my source material is relatively organized and ready to inspire! 

In addition to the colorful array of Gelli-printed papers to work with, my inspiration for this Valentine collage came from a Chinese proverb with a beautiful sentiment: 
An invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle, but never break. —Chinese Proverb

Here are the steps for making a collage like this: 

This project began by sorting through a bin of Gelli prints that were previously cut into pieces. Some of the pieces are left over scraps from other collage projects and are quite small. Some are just slivers! For this collage I wanted to create a very flat, smooth surface, so the pieces I selected were all the same weight—in this case, copy paper—with lots of color! 

The base for this collage is a 12x12 Blick Studio Artists' Board - Gallery Panel. The paper pieces can be glued directly to the panel with matte medium or your favorite paper adhesive. But that's not how I chose to approach this particular collage, so I'll include the details of my process. 

Instead of glueing the collage together, I arranged the snippets on Steam A Seam 2— a double stick fusible web. It's a sticky adhesive layer between backing sheets on each side. To use it, remove the paper from one side. Arrange your collage papers on the sticky fusible surface. They'll stay put temporarily —the pieces can be moved around until you're ready to fuse them for a permanent bond. To fuse the pieces, cover with parchment paper and press with a hot iron following the manufacturer's instructions. 

Remove the remaining backing sheet and fuse the collage to your substrate. Or, you can fuse it to a medium-weight interfacing first—in case you want to machine sew or hand stitch on the collage. Not essential, but a good option if you sew on paper. As it turned out, I fused the collage onto interfacing, but ultimately decided not to sew on it. Regardless of whether you've sewn the collage or not, the next step is to adhere the interfacing to your final substrate (the Blick panel). You can use matte medium or the adhesive of your choice. Let it dry completely. Trim any excess collage edges flush against the panel on a cutting mat with an Xacto knife. 

Brush several coats of DecoArt Media Gloss Varnish on the collage to seal the surface, allowing each coat to dry before adding the next. Paint or collage the sides of the panel. 

If you want to add words to the piece in your handwriting—acrylic pens, like Montana PaintMarkers, work well over acrylic paints. Or you can transfer a laser-toner printed version, as I did. There are many ways to transfer an image. Here's how this one was done: 

  1. Create a mirror-image and print it with a laser printer. The words must be reversed. Inkjet prints won't work for this technique. 
  2. Brush several coats of gloss medium onto the print, allowing each coat to dry before adding the next. I used DecoArt Media Gloss Varnish and it worked great! 
  3. If you haven't varnished the collage, you'll need to give it a few coats of medium (gloss seems to work best for this method of image transfer). 
  4. Let everything dry. Then place your image face down on the collage where you want it to transfer. 
  5. Iron it in place with a hot iron, bonding the paper to the collage surface. 
  6. Apply water to the back of the paper and let it soak in. Gently rub the paper away to reveal your transfer! 
  7. When all of the paper has been rubbed away, brush a coat of medium over your transfer to seal it. 

The collage has two heart embellishments. They're fun to create—and add a meaningful Valentine message! 

Here's how to make a heart like this one: 

  1. Run a fairly long piece of red thread through a small puddle of fabric stiffener. I used 6- strand embroidery floss and Fabric Stiffener by Crafter's Pick
  2. Arrange the thread to create a heart shape on a piece of freezer paper. Let it dry and harden. Then carefully remove it with a palette knife. 
  3. Glue the stiffened heart-shape onto a scrap of Gelli-printed cardstock. Let it dry, then trim close along the heart edge with scissors. It's an interesting collage element as is, but you can paint it. I rubbed it with several colors of DecoArt Metallic Lustre, then buffed it to a shine. I absolutely love this stuff! 

Here's how to make the other heart: 

  1. Draw a heart-shaped design on a piece of Gelli-printed cardstock using red metallic dimensional paint. 
  2. Let it dry completely, then trim along the edge of the heart design. 
  3. Rub a little gold DecoArt Metallic Lustre along the very top of the dimensional paint design— and buff with a paper towel to make it shine. 

To complete the collage: 
  1. Stitch one tiny X on each heart with red embroidery floss. 
  2. Adhere the hearts to the collage. I used double sticky foam to add more dimension. 
  3. Arrange the red thread (6-strand floss) in a meandering design, connecting the two hearts— and glue in place. 

Have fun making heart-inspired collages and Valentine's Day art!

Remember, we now have Gelli partners all over the world so it's easier than ever to find a Gelli retailer near you!

Happy Printing! 

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