Thursday, January 17, 2019

Gelli Arts® Gel Printing with Moldable Foam

Hi there and welcome to the Gelli Arts® blog!
It’s Birgit here today and I want to share with you a fun and easy way to create textures to use on the gel printing plate using moldable foam.

You can find these blocks online by searching for moldable foam blocks or stamps.

There are many things that you can use to add texture to the blocks. For instance you can use a stamp with a bold pattern and create a negative texture of the stamp.

Use a heat tool to heat up the foam. It takes about 20-25 seconds. Keep the heat tool moving so you don’t heat the foam too much in one place - that might cause the foam to melt.

Once the foam is heated press it down on the stamp firmly and keep it in place for a couple of seconds to let the foam cool down. The texture will now stay in the foam.

You can also do this with your favorite stencils.

Besides stamps and stencils, you can use whatever you find in and around the house that will create a texture. Look around and get creative!

Just go ahead and experiment! In case you end up with a texture you don’t like, you can simply heat the foam again until it gets back in its original shape and then start over. You can even do this right after you used it to print! Just clean the foam, which can be easily done with a baby wipe, and heat it again. Keep in mind that the longer you leave the texture in, the more difficult it will be to remove.

You can print with the foam the same way you would any other stamp, texture, or art printing plate.

Of course you can also stamp off the paint from the foam to another sheet of paper to get the opposite effect and not waste any paint!

Texture created with a paint grid:

Texture created with a piece of rope:

Textures created with stencils:

Texture created with tin foil:

Thank you for visiting! We would love to see all the textures you come up with so please share your work on IG using #gelliarts

Happy Printing!

© 2018 by Gelli Arts®, LLC
Philadelphia, PA All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Collage with Gelli Arts® by Catherine Tonning-Popowich

If you are like me and you have a few extra prints that you made with your Gelli Arts® printing plate then this blog post is for you! I have accumulated hundreds of prints from playing with my gel plates and they are starting to take over my studio! I decided to try my hand at making collages from some of them.

I discovered a technique from artist Kathleen Mooney with whom I took some workshops with this past summer. This technique involves coating both sides of the prints with matte medium to virtually create skins. I used Liquitex but any brand will do.

You will need to use a clear trash bag to paint on (clear trash bags for glass recycling). You can also use heavy 4 mil plastic from Home Depot that is found in the paint department. It comes on a roll. You are basically making an acrylic skin. When the paper is thoroughly dry you just peal it off the plastic. Look at the edge of the second image below and you can see the skin edge.

Using a sponge brush, paint the matte medium on the plastic bag and then put your print on top of it. Brush the print into the medium while pouring more on top of the print and brushing it to cover the entire paper. You can fit a couple prints on the plastic bag and then move it to a safe place to dry for a few hours.

I spent a day just coating the prints I wanted to use for collages. Then the prints are dry and ready to go when inspiration strikes. I most often use my prints that are made on deli or parchment paper. This technique lends a bit of translucency to the prints and makes great collage material.

Next, I coat my collage surface with the gel matte medium and leave it to dry. With this technique you can collage on mat board, wood panels, canvas board, or stretched canvas. I choose to paint my surface with black gesso before coating it. I like the dark background behind the collage.

Now that your surfaces and papers are dry you can start to create the collage. I chose to use the beautiful blue papers I made. What better way to use them but in a sunset over a water scene. I made a variety of them using various surfaces. My favorite is cradled wood art panels.
I trace the shape of my board on a piece of parchment paper and move the board aside. I will then arrange the pieces to be collaged on the parchment within this area. Each piece should be overlapped a bit so they will adhere to each other when heat is applied. When I have all the pieces in a pattern that I like, I iron them together between 2 sheets of parchment. They do not adhere to the parchment paper. This leaves me with a collage skin to place on the prepared surface.

Set the iron on medium or polyester and press over the top of the parchment paper. It doesn’t take long and then lift off the top parchment layer and peel up the fused piece. Now you can lay this on top of your surface of choice and place a sheet of parchment on top and iron it onto the surface. Check to make sure it has adhered. If not, iron it a few more seconds. When set, trim the edges with scissors or X-ACTO knife being careful not to pull it off the board or panel.

Look at your design and decide if you want to add more pieces. I wanted the sunset to stand out more so I added some pieces to make the reflections in the water and to shape up the sun more. What’s nice about this process is you can add more pieces on top of the fused piece as long as they all have been coated with the matte medium. When you are satisfied place the sheet of parchment on top again and give it a quick press with the iron.

When you are completely satisfied with your piece you will now apply more matte medium over the top to seal the entire piece and leave to dry for a few hours. Once mine was dry, I did some metallic pen and ink work on top. You can use gel pens if you like but I prefer my dip pens and gold ink. Just a few lines -- don’t over do it as it can take away from the collage technique.

I would like to share a couple storage ideas for your gel prints. It is easier to find what you are looking for if they are out in the open instead of filed away so I save those plastic pant hangers that most of us throw away. I sort my large papers by color and clip them onto the hanger and hang them over the door or from my wire shelf. For the smaller pieces I again sort them by color and put them into a blank journal or spiral notebook. You can put an elastic band around the book to keep them from falling out.

Thanks for stopping by!
Share your collages with us by tagging us on social media!

Finished gel prints on parchment, deli, or tracing paper
Clear recycling trash bags
Matte medium
Gel matte medium
Sponge brush
Canvas panel or wood panel

© 2018 by Gelli Arts®, LLC
Philadelphia, PA All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Gel Printing a Nested Design with the Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plate

Hi there! Happy 2019! It’s Marsha here today with a fun, relaxing printing technique for you to try as the New Year begins.

After all the end of the year busyness, entertaining, and partying, I’m sure we can all use some creative time to relax and focus. That’s why I was thinking of a mandala when I came up with the idea of a nested design.

Think of it like completing a jigsaw puzzle. You need to focus and keep the final result in mind when you want to create a print like this.

You don’t have to stick to round shapes though! It works with any shape you can think of, as long as everything fits together like a jigsaw puzzle.

Step 1:
Take a sheet of paper the same size of the printing paper you intend to use.

Cut nested shapes. You can sketch a design on your paper first, or you can cut freehand. Try to keep it simple though. You can always add details later!

Step 2:
Re-nest all of your shapes and mark them to make it easier to align them later on.

Step 3:
Use tape to close the paper shapes if needed.

Step 4:
Set up your printing station.

Place the Gelli Arts® gel printing plate of your choice onto a smooth, flat surface. My paper is 12”x12,” so I’ve chosen to work on the 12”x14” Gelli Arts® gel printing plate.

Choose the paint colors you want to use. I like to limit my color palette to just 3 or 4 paint colors that mix well together.

You’ll also need an inking palette or a sheet of plastic to roll out your paint.

Step 5:
Place your paper shapes on your gel printing plate. Start with the outline shape. Align the bottom and right edges of your paper with the bottom and right edges of the plate. Now it’s easy to nest the shapes needed inside.

Step 6:
Cover your brayer with paint and then roll out the color exactly where you want it on the plate. I used bubble wrap to create texture in that section.

Remove the paper shapes.

Align the paper you want to print on with the bottom and right edges of the gel printing plate and pull your first layer.

Step 7:
Continue until you’ve printed your complete nested design on your paper. Use your favorite gel printing tools in the process.

Once you’ve covered your paper, you can print more layers on top. A fun way to do this is to alter your paper shapes by cutting parts away.

Keep going until you are satisfied with the result!

Wishing you lots of Gelli Arts® gel printing fun in 2019!

Gelli Arts®:
12”x14” Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plate
Gelli Arts® Premium Acrylic Paint – Cosmic Blue, Freshwater, Kiwi, and Lemon Zest
Gelli Arts® 8"x10" Flower Stencil
Gelli Arts® Mini Printing Tool

12”x12” Paper
Inking Palette
Small Brayer
Bubble Wrap
Tissue Paper

© 2018 by Gelli Arts®, LLC
Philadelphia, PA All rights reserved.

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