Thursday, 7 March 2013

Gelli plate review

Last week I treated myself to a Gelli Arts printing plate. As I'm inexperienced in monoprinting I thought you might like to know how I got on.

The plate is made of a clear gel which is about 1/4 inch thick which is impregnated with a mineral oil.  It is recommended that you use acrylic paint as this cleans off the plate easily.

For my first session I used a mixture of cheap craft acrylics, and tubes of Daler & Rowney System 3 and W&N Galleria acrylics.  All of them performed well. In fact the craft paint was runnier and was easier to apply.

I used paper cut out masks and lifted the paint off the plate in several ways. Using bubble wrap, sequin waste, and by pressing on foam stamps, some of these were home made and others bought.

It was extremely easy to use. You just squeeze a little paint directly onto the plate and roll it out. I used newsprint to take a ghost print which removed most of the paint from the plate with pleasing results.  The plate cleaned really easily, even if the acrylic dried.

Above you can see a plate I made using foam stuck onto a piece of mount board off cut. .Top left I just 'inked' up a square of the gel plate and used the stamp to remove the paint.  I was then able to use the paint on the stamp to take a second print (top right) The bottom stamp was also made using paint I'd lifted from the plate.
Here are a couple more. The right hand one has been drawn into with a white corrector pen.

A couple more 'ghost prints'. Next time I shall use decent paper for this too, as these gave some really exciting results.

These figs were cut from a print made by combing the paint with a card cut with pinking shears. I then washed watercolour over the top. 
I must say the Gelli plate was very easy to use and clean - either with a baby wipe or by spraying it with water and wiping (You can put it under the tap)  It does need treating with respect as I guess it would be easy to damage it with sharp tools. If you just wanted to pull a few prints, it is easy to do without having to set up a big printing session.  I may sound like an advert, but I have read lots of rave reviews so I thought I would add mine.  There is lots of experimenting to do with getting the right quantity of paint on the surface etc, and I was inclined to overprint too heavily, but that is down to my skill not the plate. Hope you find this useful.