Gelli Plate Printing Extras! (Part 3)

(These demonstrations are bonus projects from Gelli Plate Printing by Joan Bess, copyright 2014.)

Landscape Mixed-Media Collage

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This is a great way to use your prints! Tear several prints into various sized pieces and place them on a substrate, arranging them to overlap in a way that resembles a landscape.

Add fabric, yarn and found papers, tucking them in between layers. Dyed cheesecloth, novelty yarns, and snippets of various papers—like music, maps and text from old book pages—all work well layered in between the torn Gelli printed pieces.

Glue the pieces in place to create your collage. When the adhesive is dry, you can add more surface interest with hand stitching. When stitching on paper, it’s always good to stabilize the piece with interfacing on the back.

Silk Habotai Layered Collage

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Printing on sheer fabric, such as silk habotai 5mm gives you wonderful layering options for inclusion in collage.

This piece begins by making of a collage of twelve 2″ squares of vintage paper glued together in a grid. This grid is 3 squares across and 4 squares down.

Use your original paper collage in the piece, or scan and print it, if you like. I scanned my original collage and enlarged it slightly, then printed it on matte photo paper. This will be the back-ground of the piece shown here.

To create the Gelli print on silk habotai, first iron the silk to remove any wrinkles. To make it easy to handle this extremely sheer silk, it’s best to iron it to the shiny side of a piece of freezer paper to stabilize it. Doing that makes it as easy to print on the flimsy silk as printing on a piece of paper.

When printing on silk, I recommend using a thin paint, such as Golden High Flow Acrylics, so that the hand of the fabric stays soft. Transparent colors work best for this technique. Thin paints can have a tendency to bead up on the Gelli plate. If that happens, try washing the gel plate with a dish soap, like Dawn, then rinse with water and dry it with a paper towel.

The process for printing on stabilized silk is the same as printing on paper. Here’s how this print was made:

1. Apply Golden Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold High Flow Acrylic paint to the gel plate. Roll into a thin layer with a brayer.
2. Place a stencil on the wet paint.
3. Pull a print, rubbing the paper into the holes of the stencil to remove the paint from the open areas of the stencil. Thin papers, like deli paper or coffee filters work well. I used deli paper and pulled at least two prints to remove most of the paint.
4. Quickly roll out a layer of Golden Indigo (Anthraquinone) High Flow Acrylic paint over the stencil and pull a print on thin paper to remove paint from the holes.
5. Remove the stencil and cover the plate with the stabilized silk habotai. Rub with your hands to transfer the paint, and pull your print.
6. When the print is dry, release it from the freezer paper by gently lifting a corner. The silk should easily separate from the paper by gently pulling it off. Some of the dark blue paint has seeped under the stencil around the edges of the holes, adding interest to the print.

To finish this piece, place a piece of thin fusible webbing, like Misty Fuse or Wunder-Under, onto the collaged paper (or in this case, an inkjet print). Place the printed silk habotai onto the fusible, then cover with parchment paper and iron to fuse. The text beneath the silk is slightly veiled, but remains easy to see.

Intaglio-Inspired Overprint

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Create an intaglio-inspired printing plate following the step-by-step directions in the Gelli Plate Printing book on page 68.

Instead of printing the design you create on an inscribed styrofoam plate onto a blank piece of paper, this time you’ll print the design onto an old Gelli print.

The process is the same as demonstrated in the book. The only difference is the paper. This is a great technique for adding lines and structure to an old Gelli print that can benefit from another layer.

The geometric design printed as a new layer over an old print in this piece made it easy to work back into the print. Using a few strips of text and NeoColor II water-soluble crayons, the print is transformed into a livelier and more complex image.

The intaglio-inspired plates can be used many times, and each piece you create can become a unique image.

Zen-Doodling on a Comb-Patterned Gelli Print

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First, create a Gelli print using a comb. A curvy motion with a comb, such as a Catalyst Wedge, or a hand-cut comb will provide a good graphic element in the print to doodle around.

Draw a bold outline around the shape of the curved comb pattern. Draw patterns and doodles all around the comb pattern, working outward from its outline toward the edges of the paper. This creates a strong design element against a patterned background. The patterns in this piece are primarily inspired by Mehndi designs, and drawn with Copic Multiliner SP Markers. Be sure to use pens that will write smoothly over acrylic paint.

Paper Cloth Vase

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First you’ll need to make paper cloth from snippets of Gelli prints—a great way to use some of those prints that may be piling up. Start by tearing some prints into pieces! Follow the step-by-step demonstration on page 90 in the book Gelli Plate Printing for making paper cloth.

To make the base, start by drawing and cutting out a template to the desired shape. (For symmetry, fold your paper template in half before you cut.) Trace the pattern on the back of the paper cloth. You’ll need two of these vase-shaped pieces (front and back). My vase pattern is approximately 13½” tall by 8″ wide.

Iron fusible webbing to the back of the paper cloth following the manufacturer’s directions. A heavier fusible, like HeatnBond works well on this project. Cut the pieces out.

Cut two strips as wide as you’d like the sides of the vase to be. The strips for the sides of this vase are 2½” wide. You’ll need strips long enough to go from the top corner to the center of the bottom, along both sides. Cut your strips at least an inch or so longer than you think you’ll need, as they get trimmed later. Measure the perimeter of your vase pattern so you know how long the strips need to be. I do this by laying a piece of string along the edge of the cut pattern piece, then measure the length of the string. That takes into account the curves.

When the paper cloth pieces are all cut out, fuse them onto black felt, leaving extra space around each piece to add a 1/4″ seam allowance. When fusing paper cloth onto felt, be sure to cover the pieces with parchment paper before ironing.

Cut the felt along the shape of the vase adding 1/4″ beyond the paper cloth edge. The 1/4″ allowance of felt is used to sew the pieces together to form the vase structure.

Line up one side strip with a top corner of the front pattern piece, wrong sides together. Whip-stitch the felt edges together to attach the vase shaped piece to its side (using embroidery floss). You’ll need to carefully ease the pieces together as you sew along the bends in the vase pattern. When you get to the center of the bottom of the vase, tie off the floss. The strip at the bottom should have some extra length, which you can fold inward. Repeat the same process with the other side strip piece. Trim the side strips where they meet at the bottom of the vase, allowing for a small overlap.

Line up the corner of the corresponding back pattern piece and sew the side strip to it, again, easing around the bends. Take care as you sew the edges together, making sure the pieces are correctly aligned. Stop at the bottom and tie off the floss. Line up the remaining corners and sew along the edge, meeting the other side seam at the bottom. The pieces can get out of kilter as you sew them together, so be sure to keep aligning the pieces as you sew, making sure they fit correctly at the bottom the vase.

At the bottom, trim the second side piece where it meets the first side piece. The finished vase should be a sturdy structure.

(These demonstrations are bonus projects from Gelli Plate Printing by Joan Bess, copyright 2014.)

T0883_CM_GelliPlate.inddClick here to find out more or order a copy of Gelli Plate Printing by Joan Bess.

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

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