Thursday, November 19, 2015

Printing with Gelli Arts® — DIY Stickers!

These are crazy-busy times! So what's better than gel printing as a way to de-stress — while you create something fun, colorful and useful! Watch this video for inspiration and ideas!

With the holidays upon us, it helps to be organized. And setting aside time to be creative is important. It's no wonder that combining these efforts into artful to-do lists and visually interesting calendar entries in planners and journals is such a huge trend!

Having a planner that doubles as an art journal (or the other way around!) is such a great way to express your creativity while staying organized and motivated.

And so many of you are adding fun stickers to your planners and art journal pages. So why not make your own gel printed stickers!! I'm not the first to do this, but it's such a cool idea!

All you need is label stock—and a scissors, or punches—and you're ready to gel print and cut your way to a batch of fabulous unique stickers!

Monoprinting on full sheets of self-adhesive label stock (8.5"x11") gives you the opportunity to cut it up into whatever shapes you want—or use punches.

Using die cut label stock is another great option. I experimented with both types, having discovered some very fun Avery label shapes at my local Staples. For gel printing on the die cut shapes, do not use the glossy labels—choose Matte White, White Textured or Kraft Brown for great results.

I started by printing with my 8"x10" Gelli® plate—first covering half of a full label sheet, and printing a second pull on the unprinted half to get a bleed print on the entire label sheet (a bleed print has no margins—the paint goes to the edges). Then I added layers of stamped Gelli® Mini imprints, using different shaped Mini plates. But you can print on label paper with any Gelli® plates!

Overlap and layer your printed images. Create your prints using your favorite techniques and textures! This is a great time to experiment with abandon—the paper is going to be cut up anyway! Have fun with it!

Materials used in the video: 

  • The paints are Americana Multi-Surface Satin and Media Fluid Acrylics, both by DecoArt. All stencils are also from DecoArt, including some great designs by Andy Skinner.
  • Tsukineko StazOn solvent ink works great on acrylic paint—and, as you can see in the video, is easily cleaned off the Gelli® Mini plates with Purell (gel hand sanitizer) and a paper towel. 
  • The punches I use are Fiskars Squeeze Punches. So easy on the hands!
  • TIP:  Because StazOn is a solvent ink, it cleans up with gel hand sanitizer (alcohol-based cleaner). Clean up for other stamp pad inks is done with baby oil, followed by washing with dish soap and rinsing with water (as explained in this previous blog post).  

Before cutting or punching your printed full sheet print into stickers, or removing the paper around die cut labels—you can add writing, drawings, rubber stamping and stenciling to further embellish your prints.

When the paint is dry, you're ready to cut or punch shapes into stickers.

Now you're ready to get creative! Peel the liner off your unique stickers and put them on your journal pages! And planner pages, tags, and envelopes! Use cut pieces for collage—no glue needed! How easy is that!

Stick a little piece of your art wherever you want!

Printing on die cut label sheets not only gives you fabulous pre-cut sticker shapes—you also get the negative area on the sheet. So create wonderful areas in your journal, planner, collages, or artwork using the sticker 'waste'! You can use every last bit of each sheet!

Making stickers with gel printing is so easy, so relaxing, and so much FUN!! Try it!


Winner is Katie Kelley!
Our AMAZING GIVEAWAY is a kit for Gelli® print stickers—and an Arc Planner to keep you artfully organized!

One lucky winner's prize kit will include:
  • 1 - 8"x10" Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plate
  • 1 - Set of Gelli Arts® Minis (Square-Round-Triangle shapes)
  • 1 - Set of Gelli Arts® Minis (Oval, Hexagon, Rectangle)
  • 1 - Package of Full Sheet Labels
  • 1 - Arc Planner
  • 1 - Arc Travel Punch

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 Monday, November 23rd at noon EST.

Our lucky winner will be contacted by email and announced here on the blog and on our Facebook page yes later Tuesday, November 24th at noon EST.

Please—share your prints with us on our Facebook page, or on Instagram using the hashtag(s) #gelliprint, #gelliplate or #gelliarts - we will be sure to find you! Tag us with @gelliarts on Instagram and Twitter too! We love to see what you're creating!!


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 this blog: 
Gelli® 8x10 Plate
Gelli Mini Plates - Circle, Square, Tirangle
Gelli® Mini Plates - Rectangle, Oval, Hexagon
Assorted Avery Specialty Labels

Fiskars Squeeze Punches

Fluid Acrylics
DecoArt Americana Multi Surface Satin - Acrylic Paints
"M" by Staples Arc System Project Planner

Andy Skinner Mixed Media Stencils from DecoArt
Tsukineko StazOn Ink Pads
Arc Punch
Gelli® Printing Tools

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Mini Gelli® Plate Stamping with Ink Pads!

The NEW Mini Gelli® Printing Plates are perfect for stamping—and so much fun to print with! Simply remove the mylar cover sheets and press a Mini plate onto an acrylic block or smooth plastic sheet—and you're ready for stamping!

Because the Mini plates are small and stamp-like, you may be wondering…what about using them with rubber stamp inks? 

To date, Gelli Arts® has taken a cautionary standpoint—advising (in our FAQ) that some stamp inks may stain the plate. But we also point out that a stained plate doesn't have any impact on future prints or the performance of the plate.

Along the way, we've learned that lots of you have been using stamp pad ink on your Gelli® plates—with wonderful results! And we now know that stamp pad inks do not appear to permanently stain the gel plate.

So it's time to take a more in-depth look at Gelli Arts® printing with a variety of stamp pad inks. I'm experimenting with some popular stamping inks—and we'll see the results.

A good place to start is by describing the basic differences between dye and pigment ink pads, for those of you who may not be familiar with them.

Dye ink pads have thinner, translucent ink that typically dries fast on porous substrates. You can easily identify dye ink pads—they have felt pads. 

Examples of dye ink pads:  Ranger Distress Ink and Archival Ink.
Tsukineko StazOn and Memento Dye Ink. Hero Arts Shadow Ink and Neon.
Pigment inks are thicker, opaque and slower drying. These are also easy to identify—they have foam pads.

Examples of pigment ink pads:  Tsukineko Brilliance, Versa Magic, and VersaColor.
Clearsnap Colorbox Classic and Colorbox Fluid Chalk 
There are inks that are ideal for stamping on fabric, as well as a variety of substrates, including wood, leather, plastic, etc. They may require heat-setting for permanence on porous materials—per the manufacturer's instructions—so you'll want to read the labels.

Examples of mixed media and multipurpose pigment inks:
Tsukineko MementoLUXE and VersaCraft
Having worked with both dye and pigment stamp inks on the Gelli® plate, I'm excited to share the good news:  Most did not stain the plate!  And when they did tint the gel plate, I was able to remove the stain by following these easy steps:
      1. Apply baby oil to the gel plate and wipe with a paper towel until the plate is clean.
      2. Wash the plate with a dish soap (such as Dawn) to remove the oily residue.
      3. Rinse the plate with water and pat dry with a paper towel.
TIP:  This cleaning process is the recommended method for removing any stains from the Gelli plate—such as graphite (pencil marks) and newsprint ink. This is also how to clean the gel plate after using oil-based paints or inks. 

For my experiments, I applied the ink pads directly to the Gelli® plate by tapping the ink onto the gel surface. Some inks provide excellent coverage, while 'wetter' inks tend to bead up a bit. For ink that beads up, rolling with a brayer helps smooth it out.

Or, you can roll your brayer directly onto the ink pad to load it with ink—then roll your inked brayer onto the Gelli® Mini printing plate.

The 'juiciness' of the ink pad makes a difference in whether or not the ink goes on smoothly—or if it beads up.

For example, Ranger's Distress Ink is a relatively wet ink, which can bead up. Rolling out Distress Ink can make a difference in how it prints. However, I found no need to brayer the ink from my older, drier Distress pads. So it's not always simply a matter of brand and ink type. Be ready to experiment! 

Ink that is beaded up on the plate creates a print with a speckled or mottled appearance—which you may find interesting. Inks that are not rolled out also print slightly darker.

After the stamp ink is applied to the gel plate (and rolled out if desired)— you can press stencils, stamps, and found textures onto the plate to create designs in the ink. Then stamp your Mini plate to create your print! And you can often get a beautiful ghost print or two, so have paper ready to stamp again and again!

NOTE:  Dye inks tend to soak into the paper—and the ink can bleed through to the back. I printed all of these images on Staples Card Stock 110 lb.—and some inks bled through. Printing with stamp pad ink is quite different in that respect from printing with acrylic paint.

Layering stamped prints with Mini plates is easy since you can see exactly where you're placing the next imprint. Different stamp inks—with their unique translucent or opaque qualities—are great for creative layering. 

TIP:  After using stamping inks with stencils and other tools, it's a good idea to clean them off with a baby wipe or paper towel. Some inks can stay wet for some time on non-porous materials and smear or rub off where you don't want it to.

Ink formulations vary by brand, so it's important to read the instructions on the back of the ink pad. Some stamp inks are permanent and waterproof and can be used in layered prints without having an impact on other layers. Some inks require heat-setting to be permanent and waterproof. And there are water-based inks that react with water and other stamped layers. So it's good to know what to expect from the ink you're using.

With so many manufacturers producing such a wide variety of different ink pads, it wasn't possible to try them all! But I feel that I'm able to provide an overview of the results you might expect using dye and pigment ink pads on your Gelli® plates. Individual results can vary. 

If you've been itching to try stamping or printing with your Mini plates—or any other size Gelli® plate—with stamp pad inks...we can now say "Go for it!!"

Stamping with Mini Gelli® plates using stamp pads is so much fun!! Give it a try!! 

There are so many ways to use your colorful stamped papers! I cut the paper in half before printing (5.5"x8.5")—then punched each page with my ARC punch. Now the prints are ready to pop into my disk-bound planner/journal to be worked on further.

PLEASE — share your prints with us on our Facebook page, or on Instagram using the hashtag #gelliarts and/or #gelliprint. Tag us with @gelliarts on Instagram and Twitter too! 
We love to see what you are creating!!

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

Have Fun and Happy 'Mini' Printing! 

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