Wednesday 4 June 2014

Homemade Gelli plate.

I have had a 'proper' gelli plate for a while now, probably 18months. I think I have used it 3times, I love the idea of it, I just can't get terribly excited about using it... I have no idea why. Maybe I just need to be inspired by the right person. i do love the pieces made by Andy Skinner, he has a very arty approach rather than a crafting approach. I also really like the way Barbara Gray  uses her gelli plate. She has more of a crafting approach, but her end results are quite arty... besides which she is funny. 

Then I started seeing people making their own gelli plates, wow I wish I had seen them before I got the real one...I love making tools, trying to save money where possible, but mostly because I get satisfaction from creating rather than buying...  

So I decided to make one, for no other reason really than I wanted to try it. My real one is 8x10 inches, so I knew I wanted to make a different size. I thought that one big enough to use with tags would be a cool size, and easy to transport to demos. 

I used the recipe from Pam Thorburns blog, I have researched many recipes and blogs and they are all pretty much the same. many use american weights/volumes. As Pam is in the Uk and had worked out the uk equivalents I just followed her recipe. 

Now I only wanted a small tag sized plate, and I knew the amount in the recipe was going to give me a bigger plate.... no matter, I will make a big one, cut it in half and give half to a friend. 

I was going to use plastic storage boxes as the molds, but eventually settled on using this biscuit tin as it had a completely smooth base. 

I mixed up the ingredients, and poured.. and got lots of bubbles. Very disheartening. So I chopped it all up and remelted it in the microwave, this time I poured it slowly through a sieve... much better, but still not as good as I wanted. So again I remelted the gelli and poured again. This time i got a nice smooth surface. 

It was pretty much set in 4hrs, but I left it overnight before using it. As you can see I have cut the plate in half. Each plate now measures approx 11cm by 22cm, which is the size of a large tag. 

I am keeping the plates in these plastic boxes, very handy as they are perfect size and have lids.. I paid 99p for each box. 

I trimmed the plates so that they are just smaller than the boxes, just enough to get a finger under the corner to help lift them out. 

As you can see they are the right size for all my tags. 

So, now I have done the bit I was interested in .. I guess I had better use one of them.. 

I layered up some PaperArtsy Fresco paints, and this is the page that I pulled. As you can see, I used 2 masks in the process to give me a couple of unpainted areas. I wasn't aiming at anything in particular, just trying it out. But I did like the resulting colours. 

It is always a good thing to have spare paper next to you, to clean off your brayer. so after I pulled my main print, I was left with this scrap piece and also the 2 mask bits.. 

I cut my main print in half, and now I had all these usable pieces. 

I could have stopped right here, put them away in a box or drawer. I cannot tell you how many videos I have watched, seeing people pull prints, use scrap paper and then do nothing with them. Don't get me wrong, I am as guilty of hoarding as much as the next crafter, but I do believe gelli print hoarding is a whole other phenomena. There are drawers the world over full to bursting with painty papers..

Not me... at least not this time. I decided to use them straight away. 

I emptied out a bag 'o' bits.. 

and I made cards.. 5 of them. All from one pulled print, the masks and the scrap paper. 

Make something with your prints people, I want to be inspired!

Darcy x


  1. I don't have either a home made or a shop bought gelli plate as I prefer to make my own backgrounds direct as it were, but can see the attraction (addiction!) of these... love the cards you made from some of your prints!

  2. Look fantastic! I'll be interested to find out how long the plates keep.

  3. I'm sat here shaking my head in amazement at the wonderful cards you made! They are really great. I think I'll be one of those guilty of filling drawers with prints ..... once I get round to using my totally neglected plate. I still have some alcohol ink backgrounds I made at least 5 years ago..... Shame on me!

    Lesley Xx

  4. Thanks for this Darcy,very useful as the price of gelli plates are quite high especially as you can't tell in advance whether you will use it or not!


  5. When I made a gelli plate I put a double layer of cling film in the tin (use plenty so it hangs over the edges) and used it to lift the plate in and out!

  6. Does your brain ever take a rest?? Ust try!!!

  7. Fabulous as usual! Must dig out the gelli plate again ... Not played with it for a while... Usually challenge myself to make something from the prints in one session before I do anymore otherwise it just gets silly!

  8. Bought my Gelli Plate in 2013, i have stared at it for ages. Decided to try it out last month, only pulled two prints off & used them straight away.

    Can't stand the thought of wasting paints and time just so i have a stock of backgrounds. I am not impressed with my results so far, prefer to make as i go along and get inky.

    Your cards are arty and fun, amazing results from your home made plates. Looking forward to more inspiration :-) xxx

  9. Great tip, the biscuit tin. I have a gelli plate too but have also, recently, fancied having a go at making my own. Apparently you get some really interesting effects when it starts to break down.
    My gelli plate sat in it's packet after a couple of uses but then Tracey (from Lavinia Stamps) showed me how to use my dye ink pads with it and I fell in love with it. I was recently asked to demo the creative palette at a show (for the stampman) and decided I really needed to'crack' using paint on my plate/palette. I want my printing plate/palette to give me effects I can't do any other way, otherwise what's the point!! I blogged about it (the art of Moodling) if you're interested.
    Love your pieces,

  10. Doh....has biscuit tins I could have used(makes plans to remelt gelli). I made mine in January, keep it in a plastic bag in my craft room, and it is still going strong. I left the bubbles in mine to add texture instantly lol, but then I don't worry about how grubby looking it gets :D XXX

  11. Never understood gelli plates. Maybe because I don't have one and have never seen one. Seen lots of people make very interesting effects but never been inspired enough to buy/make my own. Yours looks good and the scientist is knocking on the brain cell insisting it looks like a fun thing to do........ The cook is wondering if strawberry is a good flavour for a gelli plate........ The gardener sees no practical use and is thinking about cabbages.......... I love the cards/tags you made especially the two with the long heart

  12. Guilty as charged, made prints, put them to one side never to see light of day. I love that you've made your own Gelli plate AND used the pulled print straight away. Maybe I'll dig mine out again...... Sue C x

  13. Your cards are fantastic Darcy, well done for using the prints immediately. I'm very tempted by the idea of making my own gelli plate, but I can't seem to get excited by it & I know I would me a few prints & leave them sitting on my craft table with the rest of the stuff I *must* do something with one day...

  14. These are fabulous card Darcy!
    I bought Jelli plate (big last month and lot's of fresco and paper wasted and didn't get the good results. Although I have watched youtube. Now I'm afraid to lose interest in it and wasted money too lol...

  15. These are just fabulous! I saw your plates over on ning.