How to Use a Gelli Plate

     Gelli® plates are the hot new trend in arts and crafts. You’ll love the freedom and endless possibilities they offer. Find some of the different types here.
     A Gelli® plate is a gelatinous, rubbery, squishy slab you use to make gorgeous prints, cards, collages, mixed media, and fabrics (think of a hard Jello square). The plates are made by Gelli Arts, Gel Press, Stampendous (which calls it a “creative palette”), and some other companies, but the first three are the best. Gellis come in a variety of sizes and shapes. For your first plate, it’s best to buy a medium size, like 8” by 10” or so. This will give you a lot of ways to use it.
     Most crafters use the plates to make prints or “monoprints,” which means you make one unique print at a time. To do this, put some type of medium on the plate’s surface. Acrylic paint is the most popular and it’s easiest to put on with a rubber brayer. After you’ve put one or more colors of paint on, put a piece of paper on top of the plate and when you pull it off, poof! You’ve got a gorgeous piece of art!
     There are endless variations to this process. To make your prints more interesting, add designs or texture to the paint. You can do this by putting stencils (homemade or bought) on top of the paint, or by using your finger or another tool to draw shapes or lines in the paint.
    To make an even better creation, use the same piece of paper twice or more! This is called adding layers to your print. Here’s an example of how: put a light color of paint on the Gelli® and make your print (it’s called “pulling” a print because you pull the paper off of the plate). Clean your plate with water and brayer on a dark color of paint. Use your fingers to make swirls in it or put a stencil on top to make a design and then put your print on top. When you pull it this time, you’ll see the light color peeking through the designs you made with your finger or stencil!
     This is just the basic method of using gelatin plates. You can put different mediums on it and add lots of stencils or even items like rubber bands to make designs.
     With the beautiful prints you make, you can turn them into greeting cards, collages, mixed media works, art journals, and much more. Beware: you may find Gellis addictive!

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