Monday, 24 March 2014

Gelli Plate - home-made recipe & 'proper' Gelli Plate

Home-Made Gelli Printing Plate

As this seems to be a new 'fad', and I love monoprinting, I found a recipe and decided to try and make a gelli printing plate.   First effort was awful, (just very sticky and wet), as I didn't use any Isopropyl (alcohol), but the second tryout came out pretty well - I managed to buy some Isopropyl from Amazon as it wasn't easy to get hold of.  It does smell, and is very flammable, so do be careful where you use and store it.

Once I made the plate, I left it outside in the cold to set - covered -  (which didn't take that long.) Then brought it indoors and left it overnight - (you dont have to leave it this long) but the smell seemed to have disappeared.  I patted it with some kitchen paper to remove any excess stickiness. It doesn't need to be stored in the fridge.

I did some research on the You Tube, where there are loads of tutorials, tips and recipes, but this is the recipe I  used:

Recipe for DIY Gelli Plate
6 or 7 tablespoons of gelatin powder
dissolved in 1.1/2 cups of cold water
1.1/2 cups of hot water plus
1 cup of Isopropyl (take care with this - use gloves)
Stir well, pour into a rectangular mould - mine is approx. 1/2" deep, leave to set.  
(It has a rather nice feel about it once it's set! and is pretty robust)

You can also zap a 'dirty' gelatin plate, very quickly in the micro to dissolve it again, and re-set it.  Make sure the mould is flat and doesn't have any bubbles in.  When re-dissolving it - you will probably get a lump of the excess paint in the middle of the gelatin liquid.  Strain this through some kitchen paper and a sieve to clear it.  The amount of gelatin will reduce but it will become clearer/cleaner.

I haven't tried anything too adventurous with it, as yet, but have printed some quick 'backgrounds' using Acrylic Paints rolled directly on to the gelli pad.  You can either use a roller for extra pressure, or your hands to rub the back of the paper into the inks.

If you use several different layers of acrylic colour, place your paper* on top, then pressing down quite firmly,  little pieces of acrylic paint come off on to the printing paper - this makes a very nice textural effect.  You have to work pretty quickly, if not using an extending medium, as the acrylic tends to dry very fast.

I have also tried water colour paints from tubes.  These work very well, and are easy to clean.

* TIP:  dampen your paper first - you get a much better print.  For speed you can just wipe the  paper over with a wet/damp Jcloth - dont use thin paper. However, it is best to soak the paper properly .

New Note: (June 2014)
I have recently bought a small Gelli Plate and have used Golden 'Open' Acrylics - these work beautifully as they are slower drying acrylics and also have a lovely feel to them.
You can achieve some wonderful monoprints very simply, but also more complicated layering, collage, stencils, templates etc. and other effects - the ideas are really limitless.  You Tube also have lots of tutorials. 


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