Practical Printmaking

Hi friends! I mentioned in Sat chat that I wanted to do some gel printing and the response was overwhelming. I was glad so many people had an interest. I think a lot of people have the supplies to make gel prints but often are puzzled by what to do with all the prints. In today’s video, I have a practical approach to gel printing where we will use every print we make and end up with a stack of cards when we are done.

Supplies (affiliate links used)

Gel printing (aka gelatin printmaking) has been growing in popularity over the past few years with the invention of synthetic gel printing plates. I tried a new one today from the Textures line on Craftstash (and it is 50% off right now!) and I like it as well as the Gel Press and Gelli Arts ones I have used. I’ve tried other brands that I did not like as well but you are good to go with any of the above 3 brands. I realize availability is different in various parts of the world so go with what is easy for you to get. You can even make a gelatin plate from unflavored gelatin.

7 gel printed cards

You are going to need some acrylic paint and a rubber brayer. I like the Gelli Arts, Speedball and the Textures one I just tried. I prefer a brayer that is around 4″ wide. Just make sure it is a soft rubber and not a hard rubber or acrylic. Foam rollers will soak up a lot of paint so even though they cost less they will use up more paint and be harder to clean. A good rubber brayer will last decades with proper care and lessen the amount of paint you use. It’s a good investment.

5 gel printed greeting cards

The sky is the limit with what you can use to enhance your prints. any stamps, stencils, texture plates, or even found objects like bubble wrap, mesh produce bags and cardboard can be used to make textures. Keep your eyes open and keep a collection of interesting textures for your next gel printing session. I have a whole box of junk and trash I use for printmaking!

6 gel printed cards

To clean or not to clean your plate and brayer? I am in the “clean plate club” when it comes to my printing plates and brayers (and watercolor palettes for that matter) because your tools will last longer if you take care of them. You will also get a more detailed print if you start with a clean plate. I know a lot of modern gel printers like to leave the grunge on the plate to impart texture on another day’s print but not me. Instead, what I do is take some mod-podge or thin acrylic paint (the kind used for paint pouring) and lay down a thin coat, and then place a sheet of paper on top and let it dry. Then I can usually pull off all of that delightful grunge at once. If needed I wash the plate before storing it. I try to wash my brayers before the paint dries on them. Some people like to let the paint build up and then soak it all off in a satisfying acrylic skin. It’s probably fine but good brayers can be a bit on the expensive side and I only want to buy them once. You do you. I hope today’s video and tips inspire you to try your hand at gel printing! Happy crafting!

many gel printed cards

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