Friday, 13 May 2016

Gelli Plates

UPDATE, these gelli plates are now 8 months old. They have not gone mouldy or brittle and they work just fine. A couple have scratches in them not though that just adds to the texture of the prints. i could remelt them and reset them then they would be like new. I may do that at some point. 

Over on the PaperArtsy blog this past two weeks we have seen lots of inspiration using gelli plates to do mono printing. I do have a large (real) Gelli plate, but I fancied playing with some smaller ones, especially the small shaped ones. 

When I looked into buying some I found they were just too expensive for me, so I had a play at making some. 

There are many recipes online, I modified the amounts used for this session to achieve an amount of gel that would be just enough for the shapes I wanted. 

First I sourced my moulds, these are lids from tins and boxes,  mostly metal or plastic. The heart is only cardboard,(it was a chocolate box) to be able to use this I had to coat the inside with some matte medium. 

In a bowl I poured 1 and 1/2 cups of glycerin, to this I added 6 tablespoons of powdered gelatin , allowed it to soften a little and then gave it a good mix. 

I then added 1 and 1/2 cups of boiling hot water. 

The water will sit on the surface to begin with, you have to mix it really well, but not whisk.. you do not want lot of bubbles. i mixed a little bit and then let it stand a minute or so while I got on with making dinner, then I mixed again and let stand again. Each time the gelatin sinks a little so you keep going back to it and mixing some more. 

You have plenty of time, this does not set immediately, and remember the water is boiling hot, it will stay hot for a while. 

I think i went back to it and mixed maybe 5-6 times.. as I said i was making dinner, so it was no problem to keep mixing it as i went past. 

Pretty soon it was all well blended and time to pour. 

I filled my moulds and left them to set, this takes about 4hrs. Though you are better to leave them overnight if you can. 

The tiny circle tore badly as I released it, I had thought it might, it was shallow and very small. But that was ok. I popped that gelli into the microwave with some other leftover gelli and melted it for 30seconds. I then poured it into another lid. 

I used the small square and circle lids twice, I let the first lot set, released them and then poured more gelli back into them. I had my leftover gelli in a jug, it set in the jug but was easy to remelt when I needed it. 

So here are one of the circles and one of the squares. I made a paper template from baking parchment and used this and a large sharp kitchen knife to make the straight cuts. 

Voila! here are my shaped gelli plates, along with the heart. 
Heart is 7cm wide x 5.5cm tall (dip to bottom point)
Triangle 9cm long on each side
Hexagon 8cm across

Here are the other two squares. 
Medium square 12.5cm x 12.5cm 
Small square 9cm x 9cm 

Finally the circle and rectangle. 
Circle = 9.5cm diameter.. 
Rectangle = 7cm x 10.5cm

This recipe does not need to be kept in the fridge, just lay then somewhere flat and free from dust. I will be keeping mine in a plastic box that has a lid.I have them laid on acetate sheets so they are easy to lift out, with another sheet between the layers. 

Now to have a play with them. I shall make another post once I have some prints. 

Darcy x


  1. looks like you have enough gellis to last a while... looking forward to seeing the results.

  2. Ironic that I compared gelatin plates and printing for my Thursday tutorial. I should try that recipe. It's definitely new to me.

  3. Lol...still got my scabby homemade gel plate from about 2 years ago. Ought to make some new ones like yours :D XXX

  4. GOOD idea of using all sorts of buckets and forms!

  5. How interesting Darcy, I STILL have a small gelli plate sitting in it's packaging...LOL.I look forward to seeing how your homemades compare to the real thing x

  6. Fab post. How long will they last before deteriorating do you reckon?!

    1. I made some a year or so ago but I gave those away so I really have no idea. There is no reason why they should go mouldy, I read on someones blog that they had had theirs for several months already and they were still going strong.

      For the princely sum of £4.50 for the whole lot I am happy to just get a few uses from them. Though if sored flat and kept clean and dust free they should last a decent time.

  7. Will be bookmarking as its great to have the recipe to hand....I have the gelatine already just never got around to making! Can't wait to see your experiments and can imagine using the triangle and hexagon to create some fab patchwork on fabric! Thanks Darcy. Ruth xx