Thursday, June 18, 2015

Gelli Arts® Gel Printing with DIY Cardboard Texture Plates!

Get a head start making your own custom-designed texture plates for Round Gelli® plates by beginning with pre-cut cardboard cake circles! Watch this video and see how easy it is to create texture plates for monoprinting using these corrugated cardboard circles.

The baking aisles in craft stores are stocked with a number of products that have potential use in printmaking — and it's a fun place to get ideas. What captured my attention were the cardboard cake circles! The sizes are just right for making texture plates for the round Gelli® Plates!

Corrugated cardboard is like a springboard for the imagination! There are countless ways to create textures on a cardboard substrate for printing. Plus, corrugated cardboard's unique layered and laminated structure means you can carve interesting designs in it, then pull back the top layer to reveal striped areas! Let's explore that process!

All you need for carving cardboard texture plates is a craft knife with a sharp blade, a cutting mat, and a pointed tool.

The cardboard cake circles I bought are regular corrugated cardboard with brown kraft paper on one side — and shiny white paper on the other. After experimenting with cutting and printing both sides, I found the regular brown cardboard side printed the best and resulted in the crispest images. So that's what I recommend.

You can work freehand, or draw your design on the cardboard first and cut along the drawn lines. Don't cut all the way through the bottom layer — just the top. I tend to cut through the corrugated layer too — it's hard to avoid — and that's okay. It also helps to mark the sections you want to remove.

Cut your design through the top layer of the cardboard with a craft knife. Then remove sections of the top layer of paper — revealing the stripes below.

To remove a cut section of the top layer of the cardboard — carefully pull it up. It helps to slip a pointed tool, like a knitting needle or an awl, into a 'valley' under the area you wish to remove. That helps lift the paper — revealing the striped corrugated paper underneath.

TIP:  The top paper does not usually come off cleanly. So, while pulling the paper up, I run an awl or knitting needle along the edge of the 'mountains' to help release the paper. A tweezer comes in very handy to pull up any small or stubborn remaining pieces.

As you're tearing and removing the top paper, you may want to leave some of the peeled paper remnants that stick to the corrugated 'mountain' part of the cardboard. The torn paper remnants can create a more organic look in your prints.

You can also trace a stencil onto the cardboard and use that as your guide for carving the cardboard! Cut along the lines and remove the top layer of paper — leaving the areas that are the 'holes' in the stencil — to create your pattern.

Add layers! Cardstock, chipboard, or manila folders are all great paper materials to use for adding shapes to your cardboard substrate. You want to be sure to glue any papers securely to the cardboard so they don't come off while printing. Tacky glue works well.

You can create interesting printed images by gluing torn paper, hand-cut shapes, die-cuts and punched pieces to your cardboard plate.

Punching holes into the cardboard plate with an awl will create dots in your printed image.

Printing with cardboard plates:
  1. Apply acrylic paint to your Gelli® plate and roll into thin layer with a brayer.
  2. Press your cardboard plate firmly into the wet paint — and remove.
  3. Place your printing paper on the Gelli® plate, rub to transfer the paint — and pull your print!

The paints used for all of these prints are Amsterdam Standard Series acrylics. They have a fabulous line of colors — one of my favorites is Pewter. It's a beautiful metallic — and great when layering with other colors! 

If you're into neon brights — check out their Reflex colors! The final pull on this print is toned with a solid sheer layer of Reflex Rose. Seriously vibrant!

When working in layers with the same texture plate, as you press the cardboard plate into wet paint on the Gelli® plate, each layer is usually a bit out of registration. That can create a 'drop shadow' effect, which gives the print a dimensional look. Very cool!

It's so satisfying to make your own unique cardboard texture plates! And cardboard is everywhere! Keep your eye out for round cardboard packaging! It's a great find when you come across it :)

Cardboard texture plates are sturdy and can be used over and over! And the prints are so wonderful!! Try it!

Eventually, the cardboard texture plates can become so layered with paint they develop a beautiful patina — and you may want to use them as collage material. They can even be a finished piece of art — as is!


Winner is Camille G-H!

Our FABULOUS giveaway is a complete kit for making exciting ROUND prints with DIY cardboard texture plates!

The Prize Kit includes:
  • 1 - 8" Round Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plate
  • 1 - 6" Round Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plate
  • 1 - 4" Round Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plate
  • 10 - Amsterdam Standard Series Acrylic Paint - 120 ml Tubes
  • 1 - Speedball® 4" Soft Rubber Pop-in Brayer
  • 1 - 6 in. Wilton® Cake Circles - pkg. 10 count
  • 1 - 8 in. Wilton® Cake Circles - pkg. 12 count
  • 1 - 10 in. Wilton® Cake Circles - pkg. 12 count
  • 1 - X-Acto Gripster Knife
  • 1 - Gelli Plate Printing: Mixed Media Monoprinting Without a Press - 144 page book signed by author, Joan Bess

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 noon EST Monday, June 22nd, 2015. Our lucky winner will be contacted by email and announced here on the blog and on our Facebook page no later than 5pm EST on June 22nd, 2015! 



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! 

Materials Used In Today's Blog:

4" Round
Gelli® Plate
6" Round
Gelli® Plate
8" Round
Gelli® Plate
Wilton® 6"
Cake Circles
Wilton® 8"
Cake Circles
Wilton 10"
Cake Circles
X-Acto Gripster
Creative Mark
Cutting Mat
Clover Bamboo
Knitting Needles
110 lbs Cardstock
Manila Folders
Tacky Glue
Clover Straight
Tailor's Awl
Amsterdam® Standard
Series Acrylic

Monday, June 1, 2015

DIY Gelli® Print Glass Paperweights!

The month of June ushers in more than just the promise of good weather. It's host to all sorts of gift-giving events! We have Father's Day, graduations, teacher appreciation gifts, weddings, bridal parties, and festive gatherings of all kinds.

Thinking about gifts for these occasions? Here's a simple, quick DIY gift that's perfect for ALL of them beautiful glass paperweights!

The best part? You can use your Gelli® papers (and scraps!) to create individual, personalized glass paperweight gifts — handcrafted for each special person or event!

On the website, you'll find an inspiring selection of clear glass paperweight blanks that make ideal gifts — a great project for using your Gelli Arts® printed papers. Based on my experiences with PhotoWeights® — the service is fast, friendly and helpful. The website also offers excellent ideas and instructions, so take a look.

The paperweight blanks from PhotoWeights come as a kit, ready to assemble. Along with the clear glass paperweight, each kit comes with a self-adhesive mounting board and a self-adhesive bottom pad. A printed card with full instructions is also included. You supply the art, and you're good to go!

To create your paperweight:
  1. Clean the glass paperweight. Be sure it's free of dust and fingerprints.
  2. Select your Gelli® print, or create a collage using Gelli® papers and scraps. Depending on the depth of the recessed area in your paperweight — you may also add dimensional objects.
  3. Remove the protective paper from the mounting board and place your print or collage face-up onto the self-adhesive side.
  4. Trim the print around the edge with scissors — to the size of the mounting board.
  5. Place the mounting board (image-side showing through the glass) into the recessed area on the bottom of the paperweight.
  6. Remove the protective paper from the bottom (velvet-like) pad and carefully center on the bottom of the paperweight. Gently press into place — then firmly press around the edges to create a good seal. That's it — you're done!

TIP:  Different style paperweights have recessed areas of varying depths (which are listed in the specs for each style) — so keep that in mind as you make your selection. If you want to create a collage with dimensional embellishments, or display an object — make sure you select a paperweight blank that's deep enough to accommodate your piece. Happily, all of the styles can be used with Gelli® prints!

Having a special party and planning to use place-cards? How about creating a paperweight for each table setting instead with the guest's name on it! Not only will it look fabulous on the table, but each one is a meaningful keepsake and a lasting memory of your event for your guests to take with them. Every Gelli® print is unique, and they'll add a truly creative touch to your table.

Maybe you simply want to say 'thank you' for a favor. Or commemorate a birthday or anniversary. Or surprise someone with a random act of kindness. A personal paperweight memento made from your prints is such a nice and thoughtful way to do that. It's such a beautiful way to share your art!

As great as these are as gifts, you hardly need an occasion to make a paperweight. You may want to have a few in your studio to help organize piles of collage papers. They're an inspiration to look at — they add an artful presence to any room.

And you can never have too many! Put a few together and you have an instant 'collection'. So if you have a spot in your studio or your home you'd like to personalize, this offers another way to display your art as beautiful objects!

For those of you with Etsy shops, or selling your printed works — paperweights showcasing your artwork offers another item you may want to sell!

And think beyond paper — here's a great opportunity to use your Gelli® prints on fabric!

Making paperweights is a project with a huge range of possibilities — from real simple to intricate — depending on how involved you want to get in each piece. If you've created ATC's, then you're already familiar with working in this approximate size range. Definitely fun!!

You'll love the way your Gelli® prints look under glass — all glossy and vibrant! What a fabulous and lasting way to show off your prints! These are keepers!!

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 in Today's Blog:

Gelli Arts®
Printing Plate

Paperweight Kit 

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