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Gelli Plate Printing with Stencils for Making Mixed-Media Backgrounds

For beginner gel plate users, the tutorial below is an example of an easy printing method using stencils. The final prints make lively and colorful backgrounds for mixed media art.

How to use stencils and a gel plate

What is a Gelli Printing plate?

gelli printing plate

A Gelli Printing Plate is an art product made by Gelli Arts. It is a transparent, squishy-like silicone slab. When covered with paint, you can create a print of the color onto paper using a brayer (a rolling pin with a handle). You can make some unique designs when you use layering and mark-making techniques. Using items like stencils and masks makes the process even more fun. The Gelli Arts website has a ton of tutorials with lots of different techniques to try.

Can you make your own Gelli plate?

Buying a Gelli Plate at Michael’s might end up costing more than you might guess. Getting the larger size might end up costing close to $30.

The good news is, for a few dollars, you can make your own gel plate. All that you need to get is a box of unflavored gelatin and a baking dish. Make the gelatin using the instructions on the back, but keep in mind, that you want the gelatin to only be 1/4 to 1/2 an inch thick. After it’s cooled, you can cut out the shape and size you want for printing and go to town.

How to make gel prints using stencils

The first thing I did was grab a combination of colors that I wanted my final print to have. Most prints you'll see will be very colorful.

paints for gel plate printing

I started my process by adding dollops of acrylic craft paint to my Gelli Plate, spacing them out so there is just enough paint to cover the plate once it's spread out. Using a couple of colors will make a more interesting result.

paint on gel plate

Once I had enough paint, I used my brayer to spread the paint over the gel plate.

rolling paint on gel plate

I made sure that the two colors did not completely mix together.

gel plate with paint

Next, I placed a stencil over the paint.

Using a stencil on a gelli plate

To make my print, I covered the gel plate and stencil with a piece of card stock. I used my brayer to roll over the paper to get the print.

Using a Brayer for gelli plate printing

This is how it turned out:

 print from gel plate

One of the cool things about using a gel plate is that you can usually get two prints each time you add paint to it, especially when you use something like a stencil.

This is because, underneath the stencil, there is still more paint. This is what my gel plate looked like after I removed the stencil:

gel plate print

So, I grabbed a new piece of card stock and placed it on the plate with the stencil removed, and rolled it with my brayer.

Here is the result from that print:

gel plate prints

After washing the paint off the gel plate, I continued the same process 3 more times using different color combinations.

printing with gel plates

With each new color combo, I alternated the pieces of card stock when printing with the stencil on and the stencil off.

prints from gelle plates

And here are what my final prints looked like:

backgrounds from gel plate printing

gel plate backgrounds

I love how colorful they are 😄

I used one of them to make an artist trading card:

for you to check out and try!

gel plate backgrounds

Using gel plates


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