Sunday, August 25, 2013

DIY Gelli Plate

I had not even heard of a Gelli Plate until I took a card class. Although the instructor used a Gelli plate for making monoprints she also gave us some alternatives of things to use. I tried monoprinting using a piece of acrylic and it was fun. However, a lot of things I tried did not come out as I would have like. In fact I have several of the prints that I printed that day that I will eventually print over until I get something that I like.

I loved what the instructor had done with the Gelli Plate but alas when I checked it out they are not cheap. So I did research looking for an alternative. I read about using gelatin to make your own plate. But the drawback was that it has to be kept refrigerated and will deteriorate in just a couple of weeks. Then I found a recipe that is suppose to keep without it being refrigerated. Great I thought but it requires glycerin which I don't have. Then I remembered that I used Vodka because it doesn't really smell as a preservative in gelatin air fresheners which I made. I remembered that the air fresheners lasted a long time without having to be refrigerated. So today I made up my own plate substituting the Vodka for the glycerin. I don't know how long it will last but hopefully longer than two weeks. Also if it does break down as long as it does not get moldy I can reheat and remold after adding a little more Vodka since the reheating will evaporate some of it.

 Here is my finished Gelli Plate. Directions say to use a flat bottom container but since I am going to use this right in the tray I didn't worry about that. I picked this up at a thrift store and had not noticed the chip on the edge. When I saw it I thought this would be perfect to use for my Gelli Plate as the chip will not make a difference.

I started out by seeing how much water I would need to get the thickness I wanted. Three cups of water gave me the perfect thickness. I dumped out the water and placed in a large mixing cup seven packages of Knox Gelatin. Then I added one cup of water and mixed. I boiled one and a half cup of water and added that stirring until the gelatin was dissolved. I let the mixture cool down but not set. Then added a half cup of Vodka. Because I'm not patient I went and placed it in my refrigerator until it was firm. It took about three hours. The larger and thicker the longer it will take to firm up.

Here are my first prints using my DIY Gelli Plate. I'm glad that I played today before having my granddaughter come over and play making prints.
This is my first  one. I heard that the paint should not be thick and thought I could use my Speed Ball acrylic ink. I used a pan scraper to mix the colors on the Gelli plate. Opps! The paint was too thin and when I placed the paper on the counter it bled through to the counter. Luckily I discovered it in time and placed the paper on a paper towel. I was able to clean the counter with bleach so there is no stain. Not that the counter is the best to begin with as someone used it to cut on but I am renting.

I left the acrylic ink on the plate while I was cleaning up my mess so it dried some. Then added some Simply Art gold metallic acrylic paint to the plate.  After mixing the colors a little with a pan scraper I stamped a foam stamp into the paint. I love how this turned out.

I never cleaned the Gelli Plate while I was playing. I added Sapphire Simply Art metallic acrylic with a foam cosmetic wedge so it would look like waves. Then I took my stencil and placed over the wet paint and carefully lifted it up. Because the stencil is small I placed it twice so you can see the outline of the stencil. That is no big deal since I'm a card maker I'll be cutting this up anyway.  If you use a stencil don't let the paint dry on the stencil. I immediately placed it in a pan of soapy water. If you decide to use the stencil again you can always rinse it off and dry it with a towel. Of course if you use a stencil you make yourself with packaging plastic then you might not care whether you can use it again or not. Oh yes I'll be making stencils to use this technique with as well as use other stencils I already have.

And the last one I did this evening. I brushed with a bristle brush Pearl Simply Art metallic paint and also added more Sapphire. Then I placed pieces of lace I bought at a thrift store. Some of the lace someone had tried to dye and were not successful at it. You know me I'm frugal and usually don't throw things away.

There you have my DIY Gelli Plate play. It was really easy to clean my Gelli Plate with a couple of squirts of hand sanitizer and a paper towel. The hand sanitzer should also keep it from breaking down due to contaminants. I covered my tray the Gelli  Plate is in with plastic wrap. I read where someone said not to do that but others said they had no adverse effect using the wrap. Perhaps it has to do something with the composition of the commercial Gelli Plate. Later on I'll let know if the Vodka kept the plate from getting yucky outside of a refrigerator or if it cracks.

I can't wait to try some of my other paints and other things but my dogs were getting yellow eyes and I knew if I didn't stop and clean up that I would be up until the wee hours playing.

Wishing you Happy Frugal Crafting till we meet again!


  1. Myoriah
    So glad you got time to play with your gelli plates. You are far more patient than I am for sure. I would not have the patience to make them.
    I like your lace one best.

  2. Myoriah, I'm so glad I didn't miss this. The results are beautiful.Thank you for sharing this technique and money saving tips. Hugs, Debbie

  3. So cool. I'm glad you explained about the gelli plates as it is the rage these days and I didn't know what they were. Your frugality always impresses me. Love your new photo.




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