An Introduction to Gelli Arts Gel Printing

10 May 2024

Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plates pioneered this innovative and versatile medium for printmaking, offering a simple setup, easy cleanup, and a cost-effective printing solution. These reusable, durable plates can be used repeatedly, providing beginners to seasoned artists alike with a unique monoprinting experience without the need for a large, expensive press.


We're here to guide you in caring for your Gelli plate and optimising your printmaking experience. Below, you'll find a collection of tips and instructions to ensure the longevity of your Gelli plate and help you achieve the best results in your prints. Take a moment to review these recommendations, or feel free to print the Instructions and Care PDF for easy reference as you begin your journey with Gelli Arts.



The Basics


- We recommend the use of acrylic paints for gel printing. Cleaning the plate between prints is optional, though paint residue can lead to surprising and pleasing results!


- While there's no necessity to clean your plate between prints, it's advisable to do so before storage to ensure the removal of all paint residue.


- Avoid using dyes such as rubber stamp inks, spray inks, and fabric dyes when printing on the plate. The gel may absorb some of the dye, resulting in permanent staining. However, these stains will not impact printing performance.


- Many different paints and inks are compatible with monoprinting, including water-soluble printmaking inks and fabric paints.


- Additionally, washable and permanent markers can be used. When using permanent markers, the ink dries more quickly, so you have to move quickly to pull the print. Washable markers offer more time as they stay wet longer.



Making Your Mark


- Discovering fun textures for your gel prints is easy! To begin, experiment with items such as bubble wrap, plastic grids, foam stamps, stencils, leaves, and string to add intriguing imagery to your plate.


- When experimenting with hand-drawn mark-making, opt for soft-tipped tools such as paintbrushes, cotton-tipped swabs, or soft rubber-tipped tools.


- Steer clear of sharp tools such as pencils or toothpicks, as they can scratch the gel plate surface, resulting in permanent marks.


- Avoid using glossy paper stock, including glossy photo paper, as it may adhere to and harm the surface of the gel plate.


- It is advisable to protect your work surface by positioning your gel printing plate on a smooth, flat, non-porous barrier such as a Teflon sheet, baking tray, or glass surface.



Caring for Your Gelli Arts Printing Plate




- Acrylic paints can be easily cleaned from the plate using mild soap and water. After cleaning, rinse the gel printing plate and gently pat it dry with a paper towel.


- Gel hand sanitisers can effectively remove paint residue from the plate. Simply rub the sanitiser onto the plate and wipe it clean with a paper towel.


- Baby wipes are also suitable for cleaning your gel printing plate.


- Some paint pigments may stain or discolour the gel plate. However, stains can usually be removed by following the cleaning instructions recommended for oil paints.


- Over time, it is normal for your gel plate to lose its glass finish and become matte and cloudy. This change does not impact its performance.




- For storage, we recommend covering both sides of your Gelli plate with plain white copy paper. Ensure to remove any air pockets by smoothing out the paper as much as possible, taking care not to trap any debris or paint residue between the paper and gel plate.


- The gel printing plate features an extremely sensitive surface that will imprint any texture it comes into contact with.


- Avoid covering your gel printing plate with plastic wrap or waxed paper, as well as placing it on these materials. Wrinkling and imprinting of their texture on your gel printing plate may occur.


- The clamshell package is specifically designed for storing your gel plate. Alternatively, the plate can be stored on a smooth tray or piece of glass. Always keep your gel printing plate laying flat on a smooth, clean surface.


- Please note that the large 16" x 20" plate does not come in a clamshell due to its size. Instead, we recommend storing it in the box it arrives in and covering both sides with plain white copy paper. Remember to remove any air pockets by smoothing out the paper and avoiding trapping debris or paint residue between the paper and gel plate.


- It's advisable to keep the label with instructions that come packaged with your gel plate, but avoid leaving it in direct contact with the gel plate.



Other Things to Note


- In warm environments, the gel printing plate may exude a small amount of harmless mineral oil. This is a normal occurrence and wiping it off will not affect printing performance.


- Avoid placing your gel printing plate directly on surfaces that may absorb the harmless mineral oil, such as a wooden table.


- Keep the gel printing plate away from open flames and other heat sources. It is intended for art and craft use only and is not a toy.


- The gel plate does not contain latex or any animal products.


If you need further guidance or you want to check out our range of art and craft supplies, come and see our friendly staff in store. Many of our staff are artists themselves and they are always happy to share their expert knowledge.