Thursday, June 1, 2017

GelliArts® Printed Headboard

Hi There! It’s Marsha here today with a fun DIY project to spruce up your bedroom!

This headboard is an easy DIY project, but it takes a bit of time -  getting the supplies, constructing the headboard and prepping it for printing and also time to Gelli® print a larger surface.  The end result is a colorful new headboard!  

Step 1:
Measure your bed and decide how wide and tall you want your headboard to be.

My bed is 1.60 m wide (~63") and I decided that the headboard should be at least 60 cm (~24") tall. I also decided that one sheet of 63”x24” was too large for me to handle, so I divided it into two 31.5” x 24” plywood panels.    

Step 2:

The base of this headboard is wood. Before you can start Gelli® printing on wood, you’ll need to seal and prime it. Wood contains lignins and tannins that can seep through the paint layers and can change the colours of your project.

Treat both sides of the panel to prevent against warping, especially if you are using a thin sheet of wood.

If you want to be sure there will be no discolouration, you can use GOLDEN GAC 100, an acrylic medium or a painting ground to seal the wood and then ground it with regular gesso.

Because it’s such a large substrate, I was willing to take a chance, so I only applied three layers of regular white gesso to prep my plywood.

Sand each dry layer of gesso before you add another layer. Also, sand once the last layer is dry. You want the wood to end up as smooth as possible.

Step 3:
If you’d like the background colour of the headboard to be anything other than white, then you need to paint the background in your desired colour first.

I decided that I liked mine white, so I started Gelli® printing directly onto the gesso.

Step 4:
When working on wood, especially large sheets of it, it’s easier to mount the Gelli® plate on an acrylic block and use it as a stamp.

I didn’t have an acrylic block for my 8”x10” Gelli® plate, so I cut a 9” x 11” sheet of plexiglass to mount it on. My 5”x5” student plate fit on a regular acrylic stamping block.

I used a rubber brayer to apply extra pressure.

Stamping on wood doesn’t always give an even and crisp print. The result is much softer and a bit distressed because of the grain in the wood.

Sometimes you get white patches in the middle of your print.  This happens when you don't apply pressure evenly or when an air bubble gets trapped between the wood and Gelli® plate.  

You can also try stamping without a mount.  You’ll have more control over how much of the plate touches the wood.

If you are working on two panels like I did, it’s best to work on both at the same time to ensure all-over consistency. That way you know exactly what paint combo you used on the left and which stencil pattern needs to come back somewhere on the right panel.

Put the two panels side-by-side and let blocks and patterns crossover in the middle, so that it will look more like one big panel once assembled.  Work on it until you are happy with the complete composition and then let the paint dry.

Step 5
Build a simple frame for the headboard.

My husband made this for me using framing lumber. He measured the panels, cut the wood and used a combination of glue and screws to assemble the frame.

To prevent the lumber from splitting, pre-drill holes before you screw the screws in.
You can also omit the frame and hang the headboard directly on the wall!    

Step 6:
Paint the frame to match the background of the panels or your bed.

Step 7:
Fix the panels to the frame. We decided to use an electric nailer because the nails are tiny and once I touched them up with paint they are almost invisible.

Make sure that none of the nails stick out. Hammer them flat if necessary. Use a piece of cloth to protect the printed surface from the hammer.

Step 8:
To make the headboard scratch and wipe-resistant, I recommend varnishing it with a non-yellowing clear varnish. Make sure the paint is properly cured (at least 48 hours) before you varnish.

Step 9:
Fix the headboard behind the bed and enjoy!  

Hope this encourages you to make your own new headboard! Make sure to share it with us when you do! 
Happy Printing!

Gelli Arts®:
8" x 10" Gelli® Printing Plate
5” x 5Student Gelli® Printing Plate
4" Pop-In Soft Rubber Brayer

Gesso (Royal Talens)
Acrylic paint (Royal Talens Amsterdam Brilliant Green, Emerald Green, Neutral Grey, Sky Blue Light, Titanium White, Turquoise Blue, Turquoise Green)
Stencils (Stencil Girl Products: Art Deco Wallpaper, Clustered Leaves, Mesa Verde, The Crafters Workshop: Arabesque)
Plexiglas 9” x 11”
Acrylic stamping block
Large flat brush (or a sponge)
Detail brush for touch-ups

Wood panels or plywood sheets (I used two sheets of plywood, 31.5” x 24” each)
0.9” x 1.2” framing lumber to build a frame for the headboard
Wood glue and/or screws
Wood filler
Miter box
Measuring tape
Electric nailer


  1. This headboard is absolutely STUNNING! Thx for sharing your creativity and inspiring us!

  2. Pick my jaw up from the ground! I'm beyond impressed with not only the idea, but the fact that you followed through with it. What a marvelous piece.

  3. I am grateful for this blog to distribute knowledge about this significant topic. Here I found different segments and now I am going to use these new instructions with new enthusiasm.


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment on our blog! We hope you find it fun and helpful in your artistic endeavors!

We will try my best to answer your questions and provide good, helpful information in a timely manner.

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Happy Printing!
Gelli Arts®

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