Thursday, May 21, 2015

Gelli® Plate Printing with DIY & Found Textures!

Have you been overlooking some readily available, fun textures for creating great images in your Gelli® prints? 

Watch this video and refresh your printing experience with textures from everyday items! What FUN!!!

With the dizzying array of stencil designs, stamps, embossing folders and other fun texture tools in the marketplace it's easy to lose sight of some of the most exciting ways to create wonderful texture in your prints — using common household items and found materials!

Here's a handy list of some great texture items you may already have on handhave fun & experiment!
    • String, Thread, and Yarn
    • Rubber Bands
    • Credit Cards, Hotel Key Cards, etc.
    • Plastic Wrap
    • Wax Paper
    • Cotton Swabs
    • Bottle Caps and Jar Lids
    • Disposable Cups
    • Straws
    • Pencil Erasers
    • Leaves and Botanicals
    • Feathers
    • Cheesecloth
    • Burlap
    • Sponges
    • Textured Fabrics
    • Textured Wallpaper (Anaglypta)
    • Corrugated Cardboard
    • Toilet Paper Cardboard Rolls
    • Plastic Shelf Liner
    • Bubble Wrap
    • Doilies

Another useful supply you may already have on hand — 3x5 inch index cards! They're perfectly sized for masking the 3x5 inch Gelli® plate! Not only do they work great for this purpose — but you also get great printed cards from using them as masks!

The paint used in all of these prints is Golden® Open Slow-Dry Acrylics. A small amount of this paint goes a long way! And after you've pulled a print, the second (ghost) print can reveal the most amazing — almost photographic — details. Sometimes a pale third pull is possible — even when it looks like there's hardly any paint left on the plate! Create beautiful images — especially effective as ghost images from leaves and other highly detailed textures.      

Golden Artist Colors also makes Open Acrylic Medium — in gloss and matte. Add this to any acrylic paint to extend its working time. As we head into summer — and for those of you in hot, dry climates — this may be just what you need to keep your paints — any acrylic paints — from drying too fast. For gel printing, that can be a huge benefit!

The paper used for the prints in the video is Yasutomo Kozo Rice Paper. I cut 8.5" pieces from an 11" x 60' roll. The cut pieces had some curl to them, so I took a few minutes to iron them flat — not really necessary, but to me it's worth the extra effort to work with nice flat sheets.

I also created prints on paper from a pad of Hosho rice paper by Aitoh.

Both of these rice papers have a smooth side and a rough side. Printing on the smooth side with Golden Open Slow-Drying Acrylics gives you a beautiful printed image.

TIP:  When the paint on the gel plate is too dry — rice paper can tend to stick to the plate and tear when you pull the print. If you find that happening, either use a little more paint or add Open Medium. Adding water can create a soggy mess with rice paper!

Instead of cutting rice paper — use a water tear to get beautiful feathery edges. To do a water tear — wet a clean pointed brush with water and 'draw' a line where you wish to tear the paper. Gently push the pieces apart along the water line. The paper tears easily and has a natural-looking edge. This is a great technique for using pieces of rice paper prints in collage, as you can tear it into any shape.

Here's a process for working with your found textures to make prints like those demonstrated in the video — using the 8x10 and 3x5 inch Gelli® plates together! So look around for textures and get ready to make some unique prints! For this process, the 3x5 inch Gelli® plate is mounted on an acrylic block and used as a stamp. 

(p.s. For more on using the 3x5 printing plate for stamping... watch this video.)

  1. Apply two colors of acrylic paint to an 8x10 Gelli® plate and roll into a thin layer with a brayer. To create a gradient effect, apply each color to opposite sides of the plate. Roll out the lighter color on one half of the plate — then roll out the other color — meeting in the middle of the plate.
  2. Apply a textured item into the paint. Some textures can be pressed into the paint and removed (i.e. bubble wrap, wadded waxed paper, jar lids). Some textures (i.e. cheesecloth, leaves, string) are placed on the painted surface. Cover those with a piece of thin paper, such as deli paper — and press into the paint, outlining the objects with your fingers. Remove the cover paper (which are often beautiful prints!) then remove the textured item from the plate.
  3. Place several 3x5 inch index cards — as masks — on the painted gel plate.
  4. Cover with the printing paper — rub with hands to transfer the paint — and pull your print.
  5. Place the 3x5 Gelli® plate onto an acrylic stamping block or other clear mount.
  6. Apply acrylic paint to the 3x5 Gelli® plate and roll into a thin layer with a brayer.
  7. Follow the same process as Step 2.
  8. Stamp the small plate directly onto a masked area of the printed paper.
  9. Repeat steps 6-8 to fill each masked area to complete the print.

There are so many ways to approach this interesting printing process. Look around and you'll find all kinds of textures for printing! Use simple paper masks for building interesting layers! Imagine the possibilities!!


Winner is Jane!

And we have a fabulous GIVEAWAY so you can make colorful, textured, multi-plate prints like those created in the video!

Our GIVEAWAY package includes:
  • 1 - 8x10 inch Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plate
  • 1 - 3x5 inch Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plate
  • 4 - Golden Open Acrylic paints — 4 oz. jars
  • 2 - Golden Open Acrylic mediums — (gloss and matte)
  • 1 - Yasumoto Kozo rice paper — 10"x 60' roll
  • 1 - Aitoh Hosho rice paper — 9x12 inch pad
  • 1 - Speedball 4" Soft Rubber Pop-in Brayer
  • 1 - Surprise Kit of Assorted Textures!

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!
Terms & Condition for Giveaway 


Entries will be accepted until Tuesday, May 26th at noon EST. Our lucky winner will be contacted by email and announced here on the blog and on our Facebook page no later than Tuesday May 26th at 5pm EST. 

Special thanks to Golden Artist Colors for their generous donation to our giveaway!
Remember, we now have Gelli® partners all over the world, so it's easier than ever to find a Gelli® retailer near you!

We all have our favorite textures, tools and methods for making our marks in monoprinting. Please leave a comment and share some of your favorites! Thanks!

Good Luck and Happy Printing!

Materials Used In Today's Blog:

3x5" Gelli Arts®
Printing Plate
8x10" Gelli Arts®Printing Plate
Golden Open Acrylics

Golden Open Acrylic
Medium - Gloss

Golden Open Acrylic
Medium - Matte
Yasutomo Kozo
Rice Paper
Hosho Rice Paper
by Aitoh
Pointed Brush
Acrylic Block

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Reverse Decoupage with Gelli® Plate Prints!

Recently, I've been exploring some of the creative aspects of paper cutting with the impressive ScanNCut machine.

All of which resulted in lots of fabulous cut paper pieces to work with!

While sorting through the cut shapes and images, I became intrigued with the idea of arranging and collaging them onto the back of a glass plate — a process called 'reverse decoupage'.

The prints I selected for this project from my stash are printed on copy paper. It's a good weight for this collage method.

I'm interested in tessellating patterns, and chose the equilateral triangle shape — a very simple one that tiles together with no overlaps or gaps. I used the ScanNCut pattern already available in the machine, which made the cutting so easy!

Here are the steps for reverse decoupage:
  1. Prepare white glue for decoupage by mixing it with water. I use Elmer's Glue All and mix it 2 parts glue to 1 part water.
  2. The glass must be clean, so wash it first with dish soap and water. Rinse and dry with a paper towel. Use glass cleaner or alcohol if needed. Take extra care not to leave fingerprints.
  3. Place the glass plate upside-down on your work surface. You'll be working on the underside. It's easier to work on the plate if you rest it on a wide-mouth plastic container.
  4. Brush the decoupage glue onto the glass surface in a fairly thick, even coat with a foam brush. The glue goes on white, but dries clear.
  5. Dip each cut paper piece in a dish of water as you're working. It'll curl up and then relax. Remove from the water dish and blot away excess water. Now it's ready to add to the glue-covered glass surface
  6. Place the cut paper shape on the glue-covered surface and apply more glue over it. Take care in arranging the cut paper elements — they're prone to sliding. Turn the plate over to check the placement.
  7. Gently press out any air bubbles and excess glue and wipe away. After the papers are all glued on, cover the whole surface with another coat of glue to seal everything.
  8. Allow to dry completely. Overnight is recommended. I helped speed up the drying with a heat gun, which worked well.
  9. After the paper is dry, use a craft knife against the rim and carefully cut off the excess paper. If needed, you can use an emery board of fine sanding block to smooth the edge. 
  10. Paint the back of the plate with acrylic paint. Let dry. (see image below)          
  11. Finish with a few coats of acrylic varnish over the dry paint. Let dry.
  12. Clean any glue from the front of the glass with glass cleaner and paper towels

NOTE:  Dishes created with reverse decoupage are not dishwasher-proof, but  can be wiped clean. So theyre functional — as long as you don't submerge in water.

  • Be sure to use enough glue on the glass, under the papers.
  • It's important not to remove too much glue while pressing out air bubbles. When the plate is dry, you can have streaky areas and shiny spots where there wasn't enough glue.
  • It can take a little practice to get the amount of glue just right — and to get the hang of pressing out the air bubbles without removing too much of the glue. Be patient. It's worth the effort!
  • If using any inkjet images, check first to make sure the ink won't run when wet. Spray inkjet prints with fixative if necessary.
  • Sponging on a few layers of acrylic paint on the back of the plate creates a slightly textured and tactile surface.

Here's what I learned:  Tessellating pieces will work best on a perfectly flat surface. The curve of the plate keeps the pieces from fitting perfectly together. Also, saturated papers are not the same exact size as dry ones, so it can be a bit challenging to get them all fitting together seamlessly.

When this happens, seize the opportunity and paint the back with metallic paint. You'll have beautiful slivers of metallic shine that show through the glass, filling in any gaps. Quite lovely!

There's so much potential to transform glass into fabulous art! Picture frames with glass are perfect for this process! This one is 8x10 inches. What a great way to use your Gelli® prints to create a fabulous piece of framed wall art!!

Here's how to create reverse decoupage framed art:
  1. Remove glass from the picture frame. Be careful handling the cut glass edges. I apply low-tack painters tape around the edges of the glass for safer handling.
  2. Cut out a focal image, if desired. I used the Direct Cut feature on the ScanNCut machine to fussy-cut a floral designand it worked great. A huge time-saver! But the image I selected had too much detail for the scanner to fully readit only saw the outline. So I cut out the inside blank areas with a craft knife. Then my floral print was ready to use! Easy! *Note:  This floral design is clip art from the DoverPictura "Flowers CD-Rom/Book ImageArchive" (royalty free artwork). However, you can find lots of downloadable copyright-free images available on the internet from many sources. My floral image is an inkjet print and didn't run when tested with water. Before using an inkjet image, be sure to test it first.
  3. Select a Gelli® print for the background. You can use cut or torn pieces, or an entire print as shown here.
  4. Follow the steps shown above (glass plate project) for gluing the paper pieces in place.
  5. As the background paper is applied to the glass, the saturated edges are easy to tear. Remove a small margin, if desired. The blank area on the glass is perfect for applying gold metal leaf — creating a beautiful imperfect edge around your print! Wipe the excess glue off the bare glass areas and allow the papers to dry.
  6. Apply Duo Adhesive (or any glue that is tacky when dry) to the blank glass areas. Allow it to dry — it will turn clear and remain sticky to the touch. Place pieces of gold metal leaf on the sticky areas, then brush off excess metal leaf with a soft brush. Done!
  7. Clean the front of the glass with glass cleaner and insert into the frame. It's ready to hang or give as a lovely gift!!
Note:  The background Gelli® print on this framed piece is a viscosity print. To learn more about how to make a viscosity print, please see my previous blog post "Thick and Thin Gelli® Printing" from August 15, 2013. There's also a video that shows the process.

Reverse decoupage is a wonderful and creative way to use your monoprinted papers! You won't look at any clear glass item without thinking of its creative possibilities!

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

Have Fun and Happy Printing!

Materials used for today's project:

Brothers ScanNCut
Glass Plate
Elmer's Glue-All
Foam Brush
Heat Gun
DecoArt Dazzling
Metallic Acrylic
DecoArt Media
Acrylic Varnish
8x10" Picture Frame
Low-Tack PainterTape
Craft Knife
Gold Metal Leaf
Duo Adhesive

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