Thursday, April 23, 2015

Dropshadow Technique with Gelli® Plates & ScanNCut Stencils & Masks!

You almost have to wonder if the ingenious folks at Brother had Gelli Arts® printing in mind when they created their amazing ScanNCut cutting machine! These pair together like they were made for each other! Watch this video and see custom-designed ScanNCut stencils and masks in action with the 6x6" Square and the new 4" and 6" Round Gelli® plates!

The first thing that happens when unboxing the ScanNCut is an overwhelming feeling of excitement and possibilities! All the stencil and mask designs you can dream up are now at your fingertips!

Brother says:  "See it. Scan it. Cut it. Create it." And it's TRUE!!! Imagine turning your own drawings, computer-generated designs, and patterns that come in the ScanNcut machine, into stencils and masks! It's the ultimate in immediate gratification!

An essential feature of the ScanNCut is its ability to size, or scale, your design before you cut it. That's such a great thing when you're working with different-sized Gelli® plates! I was able to create unique masks designed to use with the 4" and 6" Round plates! Talk about versatile!!

The stencil material I use is Grafix Edge Stencil Film, which comes on a roll (20" x 25'). I went ahead and cut a stack of 10" squares on my cutting mat with a rotary cutter and quilting ruler. It's great to have plenty of pre-cut stencil film ready to use.

I also cut stencils and masks from 110 lb. heavy card stock — and while it's not as durable as the stencil film, it works great!

There's good news too for those of you who prefer to skip the design step and dig right in. The ScanNCut comes with over 600 built-in images for you to use. So you don't have to draw the images if that's not your inclination. I had a great results creating stencil patterns using some of the design elements that come in the machine!

The ScanNCut has so many features and functions it would be impossible for me to explain it all in this blog post. But I can direct you to the fabulous and talented artist, Julie Balzer, who is an official Brother spokesperson for ScanNCut. Julie has numerous excellent instructional videos online — in which she clearly explains different features — and inspiring and creative ways to use the ScanNCut. Julie's enthusiasm got me hooked!

And if you're looking for additional how-to info, you'll find loads of other video tutorials from Brother International Corporation, paper crafters, and quilters online.

Now I'd like to share a fun little technique that's great to use with stencils and masks! Making a drop shadow image!

The following instructions are for stamping with your gel plate (mounted on acrylic blocks):

Here's how:
  1. Roll a mid-value paint color onto the plate and print onto your substrate.
  2. Place stencil on the printed area.
  3. Roll a dark paint onto the gel plate.
  4. Print the dark paint through the 'holes' in stencil or mask using the gel plate as a stamp. Remove stencil. Let paint dry.
  5. Place same stencil over the previous impression, aligning the stencil holesthen move the stencil over about an 1/8 of an inch and up a little.
  6. Roll a light value paint onto the gel plate and stamp again over the stencil. This creates the drop shadow effect! And it's so easy!

What a great way to add a dimensional look to your stencil image! Easy and fun!

NOTE:  The stencils I created from the rolled film have a bit of curl to them. You'll notice in the video that the curl can make it a little trickier to get exact placement before stamping over them. Stencil material is available in flat sheets, and might be a little easier to work with.

The prints in the video were all made using Blick Matte Acrylics. They work beautifully for layering to achieve the drop shadow images. And their matte finish makes it easy to work back into the print with colored pencils, markers, pastels, and collage.

So far, I've focused on making stencils and masks for gel printing. But the ScanNCut opens up a whole universe for creative cutting to make whatever gel printed paper and fabric project you can imagine!

If I sound like a serious ScanNCut enthusiast, it's because I am! I'm not a paid spokesperson — I just love the endless world of possibilities this machine presents! Both for monoprinting — and way beyond!


Have you sensed by now that something SPECIAL is brewing for our GIVEAWAY??!!!!

If you've guessed it's a Brother guessed RIGHT!!!

Thanks to our wonderful and generous friends at Brother International Corporation for providing a ScanNCut machine we'll have the enormous pleasure of sending it to one VERY lucky winner!

And a Gelli Arts® Giveaway wouldn't be complete without Gelli® plates!

Ready for our Grand Prize Giveaway?!!!

Enter our Special ScanNCut and Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plate Giveaway below. Check out all the options for entering the random drawing and choose one OR choose all the ways to enter!

Multiple entries allowed!

We're as excited as you are about this AMAZING opportunity to win this AWESOME PRIZE PACKAGE!!


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 and Good Luck!!!

Product Used In Today's Blog:

Brother ScanNCut
Cutting Machine
6x6" Gelli® Plate
4" Round Gelli® Plate
6" Round Gelli® Plate
Grafix Edge Stencil Film
Rotary Cutter
Quilting Ruler
110 lb HeavyCardstock Paper
Acrylic Blocks
Blick Matte Acrylics

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Stamping with Round Gelli® Plates on a Silk Scarf!

Looking for a perfect substrate for stamping with 4",6" and 8" Round Gelli® plates? I found one I'm really excited about!!

It's a blank 8mm habotai silk scarf measuring — 14"x72" — from Dharma Trading Company! They offer a fabulous variety of options, and this size is exactly what I was looking for.

The sheer and lightweight habotai silk (also known as 'China silk') is easiest to print on if you first stabilize it by ironing the scarf onto freezer paper. And because this scarf is 6 feet long — you can easily roll up the freezer paper and unroll as you work on sections.

I used plastic clips to keep the scarf neatly rolled up while I worked on one area at a time.

To stamp with a Gelli® plate, place the plate on an acrylic block or sheet. Clear mounts let you place your imprint where you want it. I use an 8-1/2 x 11 inch acrylic box frame to mount my 8" round Gelli® plate. It works great for stamping! The gel plates will stay in place on their acrylic mounts until you remove them.

Maintaining the soft hand of the silk fabric is important for the scarf to drape nicely. There are paints specifically made for painting on silk, but they are very thin and tend to bead up on the gel plate — so they don't work well for monoprinting or stamping.

I used DecoArt's SoSoft Fabric Paint and find it leaves the fabric nice and soft. However, it's important not to use a thick application of paint. This is not the ideal project for layered paint techniques. If paint builds up on the sheer fabric, it changes the hand.

Instead of rolling a layer of paint on the gel plate with a brayer as I usually do, I painted thin layers with a flat brush. I love the look of loose brushstrokes in the circle images! And it's so much fun blending colors and swirling brushstrokes — going in circles!

All marks and designs on the painted gel plate were made using the following tools:

The result is a painterly look, which works nicely with the soft silk.

This is a fast and fun process. Here are the steps — Easy as 1-2-3!!
  1. Brush fabric paint onto the gel plate with painterly brushstrokes.
  2. Make subtractive marks in the wet paint with combs and soft-tipped tools.
  3. Stamp the painted plate onto the fabric.

I worked from one end of the scarf to the mid-point — then started at the other end and worked back to the middle. But if you prefer, you can easily work from one end to the other. Using the three round plate sizes makes it especially easy to fit the circle images together into a harmonious design. And variation in the circle sizes adds visual interest to the overall pattern.


To keep your colors clean while brushing them onto the plate — use analogous colors. Those are the ones that are next to each other on the color wheel.

Another simple, but sometimes overlooked, tip for clean colors is to give your brush a good rinse before switching colors. It's amazing how quickly colors can turn to mud if you don't.

For this project — after each print — I wiped the plate with a spritz of water and a paper towel to remove any residual paint on the plate. It only takes a second and helps keep the colors clean and bright.

SoSoft Paints don't require heat-setting — and they dry quickly so you can keep moving on to the next area.

You'll notice for this project I chose not to overlap the circle imprints. Mostly, because I wanted the design to feature individual circles! But also, I wanted to avoid overlapping images where layered paint might build up and alter the hand of the fabric.

After the scarf is gel printed — it's done and ready to wear!

Now isn't this the perfect Spring accessory! A beautiful and breezy handprinted scarf! Go ahead and make one...or a few...and remember, it's a wonderful Mother's Day gift!!

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

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