For a gelli fan, that’s like asking: What’s the best pizza? Can there be a bad one? Gelli (short for gelatin) plates are so much fun, so versatile and so easy to use, you might think they’re all good. But some are better than others and there is one that tops them all.
Here are the top three, in order of worst to best:
-Gel Press – Gel Press does not make many sizes of plates and is not popular with gelli fans. Its plates sometimes have indentations and its case is weak, which isn’t good for storing the gelli. Click here to see some Gel Press gelli plates.
-Stampendous – Stampendous calls its gellis “Creative Palettes.” One of their biggest selling points is they’re cheaper than the top seller – Gelli Arts. These plates are also lighter to carry because they’re thinner, but that thinness also means they don’t work well with stencils, which are crucial to making great gelli prints. Some thin stencils stick on them. Other common complaints are paint dries too fast on their surface and papers stick to them, too. In addition, the Creative Palettes have to be soaked in water for 5 minutes before using. View a Stampendous gelli plate here.
-Gelli Arts – This is the best gelli plate maker and they make the most types of gelli plates, from small (or mini) sizes in geometric shapes (triangle, oval, rectangle and three others) to large, 12” x 14” plates. Their best seller is the 8” x 10” plate, which offers a lot of versatility. Here are many types of Gelli Arts plates.
Gelli Arts’ plates have a good thickness so they’re firm and can handle thick or thin stencils easily. They don’t need to be soaked in water or have any preparation before using them. You can use a wide variety of papers on these gelli plates, too, from thin magazine papers or book pages to cardboard. These plates are easy to clean and store (they have a sturdy storage case) and they can last for years. Gelli Arts also has a wide variety of instructional books and tools to help your printmaking.
Sometimes the Gelli Arts plates can get indentations, but you can fix those pretty easily and the company has online instructions that tell you how. The plates are covered on both sides by thin plastic protective sheets. If you don’t peel those sheets off carefully, chunks of the plate can sometimes adhere to the sheets.
Overall, these plates are the best value. Even though they cost a little more, their sturdiness and long life are worth it.