Saturday, April 7, 2018

Printmaking with Book and Calendar Transfers on a Gel Plate

Loved the idea on the Gelli Arts blog that shows the imperfect experiments of Birgit. She used various magazine and book images to transfer an image on the plate and, once dried, pulled a print. Other artists have jumped on the idea and have shared their results.

Yesterday, tried it. Since Birgit mentioned she didn’t have much luck with heavy bodied acrylics, I went out and bought some craft acrylics. But, I had no luck with them and on my third try, I switched to my favorite Liquitex heavy bodied acrylics and had my first success.

98 lb. Strathmore Mixed Media paper 

Although I had a huge stack of possible magazine and book images to try, I stuck with what was working—black & white, high contract images from a photo book about John F. Kennedy.

140 lb. Fabriano Artistico hot press watercolor paper

140 lb. Fabriano Artistico hot press watercolor paper

Before stopping, I used some smaller, high contrast calendar images from Susan Boulet (1990 and 1991!) and they turned out well, also.

60 lb. Strathmore Sketch paper

98 lb. Strathmore Mixed Media paper 

Your result may vary. What worked for me:

Lots of contrast of darks and lights
Both black & white and color

98 lb. Strathmore Mixed Media paper (from the coil-bound Vision pad)
140 lb. Fabriano Artisitico hot press watercolor paper

Liquitex heavy bodied professional acrylic paint
Some Golden fluid acrylics-- if mixed with the heavy bodied ones (they dried too quickly)

Rub book/magazine image on plate firmly with a brayer and a bone folder

Still curious how and if the craft acrylics might work, how and if other book, calendar, and magazine images might work, how and if other papers might work (especially printmaking ones), I will continue experimenting.


  1. Love this technique, but I'm finding that when I lay down the second layer of paint, by brayer is picking up the first layer. How long are you waiting for the paint to dry? I'm also using a homemade gel plate so perhaps that's part of the problem. I ordered a real gelli plate today. Lol

  2. I waited a while before adding the second paint layer but didn't time it; I’d leave it alone while finding other images or preparing papers. Touching the first layer to make sure it was dry helped also.

    Wondered how a real gelatin plate would work! In other techniques, it worked better than the Gelli plate. Hope you have better results. Have fun experimenting!