Gelli Plate Printing Extras! (Part 1)

(The following demonstrations are bonus techniques from Gelli Plate Printing by Joan Bess, copyright 2014.)

Folded Circles into Squares

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Create several Gelli prints that are printed on both sides of the paper. Print using your favorite techniques, textures and marks. Printing on card stock works well for this project.

Cut Gelli prints into 1½” circles. This is easiest if you have a 1½” punch, but a circle cutter of any type will work.

Apply a decorative line around the edge of each circle with a metallic gold leaf pen so that it shows when the edges are folded inward.

Cut a 1″ square from chipboard (cereal box, etc.). This is the template for marking and scoring the Gelli print circles.

Place the 1″ square template in the center of a Gelli printed circle and draw a pencil line along the square template edges. Use a bone folder to score the pencil lines. Fold the sides inward, creating a square. Run the bone folder over the creases. Do this for each of the circles.

Position the squares and glue in place onto the substrate of your choice. You can create a solid grid . . . or leave spaces empty, stagger the squares, place them on the diagonal . . . or however you choose to create your design.

Quilters may recognize this design concept as inspired by the traditional Cathedral Windows pattern. It translates easily to paper, and the folds give the pattern a dimensional aspect. If you prefer a flatter design, you can glue the folded flaps down.

You can change the dimensions of the circle and square size. Just be sure that each of the corners of the square template comes up to the edge of the circle.

Layers of Holes

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For this piece, I created three different prints on card stock using a stencil design with random ‘hole’ shapes. The same effect can be accomplished with any prints by cutting holes where you want.

Fuse each print to a piece of stiff interfacing (I use Peltex with fusible on one side). With a sharp craft knife, carefully cut out the holes. Peltex is lightweight and easy to cut. Its thickness adds structure and dimension to the piece. Instead of Peltex, you can adhere the prints to heavier paper, then cut the holes.

The inside edges of the holes are painted with acrylic paint. A decorative painted edge around each hole is added with acrylic paint pens.

To assemble the piece, adhere a piece of printed paper, text or other image on a sturdy substrate to serve as the background base. I used a piece of mat board and glued a black and white laser print to it.

To create space between the layers, you can use self-adhesive foam pop-up dots. I used self-adhesive foam spacers to separate the layers.

Adhere each new layer to the layer below with self-adhesive spacers, rotating each print so that the holes are not aligned. This creates a variety of spaces as you look into the piece.

To finish the piece, I cut a mat with an opening a bit smaller than the print. The result is a dimensional layered piece that is visually similar to a tunnel book.

Altered Book Files

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To make the altered book structure, select an old book that has sturdy pages. The book should measure a bit larger than your cards. I used a book measuring 7″ x 4¼”. The cards are manilla 3″ × 5″ index file cards with tabs.

Fold each page in half, bringing the fore-edge toward the spine. When the book pages are all folded, the book will splay open. Place the book opened flat on a table or shelf and the folded pages will form a semi-circle.

Create prints on as many index cards as you want to use in this project. This is a perfect opportunity to test different techniques and color combinations. When the prints are dry, print on the other side of each card.

After the prints are dry, insert them between the pages of the altered book, which serves as a card file. These cards are perfect for adding collage, journaling and doodling. The open book is great for displaying your cards. This is also a great ongoing project, as you can keep adding cards over time.

Zen Doodled Stencil Print


Create a print using a commercial stencil, or cut your own. The stencil should have large openings. The stencil used here is one I hand-cut on a plastic stencil blank using a Dover clip art stencil design.

For this piece, you want the holes in the stencil design printing as blank areas. To do that, apply paint to your Gelli plate and place the stencil on it. Cover with paper and press into the holes to remove the paint. This will give you a positive print of the stencil design. Repeat as needed to pick up the paint from the stencil hole areas.

Remove the stencil and cover with a piece of smooth heavy paper, such as card stock or Bristol. Pull your print. When it’s dry, use your favorite markers to doodle on the print within the blank areas, filling in your stencil design.

Doodling in Negative Space

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Make several imprints that do not overlap on a single piece of paper. Leave space between the imprints. Create the printed images using any techniques.

Doodle into the blank negative spaces and leave the imprints as they are. A variety of acrylic paint pens were used for doodling this colorful example, filling the negative space between the printed images.

A very different look can be achieved by following the same concept of doodling into the negative space using black pens in a Zen doodle style.

Note: This example was done using the 8″ round Gelli plate. Several partial imprints were made with no overlapping areas on a piece of 11″ × 14″ bristol. The original 11″ × 14″ print was scanned to capture an 8″ × 11″ section. That section was printed on matte photo paper on an inkjet printer. The doodling was done directly on the inkjet printout.


(The following demonstrations are bonus techniques from Gelli Plate Printing by Joan Bess, copyright 2014.)

T0883_CM_GelliPlate.inddTo find out more or order a copy of Gelli Plate Printing click here.


Learn more about Gelli Arts and the Gelli Plate at the Gelli Arts website,!

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