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Gelli Printing

Gelli printing created with a stencil from The Crafters Workshop and Frames dies from Altenew.

Gelli printing is a fun way to create unique backgrounds for your handmade cards.

It's a wonderful opportunity to de-stress especially if you tend to be a bit of perfectionist (like me!) as you have to let yourself go and enjoy the process.

And if your mojo has flown away it's a no pressure way to be creative without worrying about the results.

So, what do you need to get started?

Gelli Plate

The gelli plate is a reusable printing surface made from non porous mineral oil.  You can make your own, but as time is my enemy I purchased mine.

What size gelli plate should you buy?

It all depends on what you want to use it for!

There are lots of different sizes available up to 16" x 20".  Small shapes such as squares, triangles and circles are good for card fronts.  While the Faith Impressions set is perfect for Bible journalling.

Faith impression Gel Plate

As I make cards I bought a small 3" x 5" plate and a 6" x 6" plate. 

My 6" x 6" card making stencils are a perfect fit for the 6" x 6" plate.  I also purchased a 7" x 7" Mega Mount from Clarity Stamps to make it easier to move the plate around. 

For smaller plates you can use a large acrylic block from your stamping stash.

I will buy a larger plate to make full sheets of patterned paper that I can cut up for batch card making.  But that's for the future!


Brayers are rollers with handles.  These too are available in a variety of sizes. 

You should use a soft rubber brayer as this spreads the paint or ink over the gelli plate smoothly.

I use a Speedball brayer with a 4" roller and this works well for me.

Paint and Other Mediums

In the first instance start with what you have. 

I started with my Distress Oxide inks using printer paper.  Dye based inks may stain your gelli plate.

The recommended medium is acrylic paint.  There are lots of different brands to chose from available at a range of prices. 

I use the range from my local craft store.

The Dina Wakley and Dylusions range are a popular as they have bright and cheerful colours.

More expensive makes include Deco Art, Americana and Golden Open acrylics.

A colourful example of gelli printing using multiple colours.  Stencil from the Crafters workshop and die cut sentiment from Honey Bee Stamps.

Paper for Gelli Printing

You can use any almost any type of paper with your gelli plate.  As you use a lot of paper start with printer paper especially when you are practicing.  

When you feel confident using your plate try different papers and card. 

If you want to use your prints for collage use Deli paper a fine translucent dry wax paper sold in boxes of 500 sheets.

Textures and Patterns

There are specialist texture tools you can buy for your gelli printing. 

But there's no need to go out and spend lots of money as you can add texture with household items.  Such as bottle tops, bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard, string, fabric and leaves.

Be careful not to use anything sharp as this may puncture the plate.

Stencils are also an ideal way to add pattern and texture to your designs.  Your card making stencils are ideal - wash them straight away before the paint drys.

Use Embossing folders to create positive and negative patterns.  Again wash quickly after use.

A beautiful gelli print card created with a leaf stencil and sentiment die cut from Simon Says Stamp.
Gelli printing on a handmade greeting card.  Created with a stencil from Clarity Stamps and a die cut sentiment from Altenew.

🎉 Creating Your First Print  🎉

Once you have all your supplies it's time to create your first print.

  • Squeeze your paint onto the gelli plate.  A couple of small blob is enough to start.
  • Slowly use the brayer to spread the paint to cover the plate.  Add more paint if required or blobs of another colour if you want to make a blend. Use colours next to each other on the colour wheel to avoid creating a muddy mess.
  • Brayer off any excess paint to a scrap sheet of paper to the side of your plate.
  • Lay a piece of paper over the plate rubbing the top of the paper with your hand.
  • Slowly peel back the paper to reveal your first print.
  • Add another piece of paper to the top of the plate to take a second print - known as a "Ghost Print".

These are the basic instructions to creating a print.  Step it up a notch by adding a stencil or other textures on top of the paint to create pattens.

As you get more confident try adding layers of paint.  Allow each layer to dry before adding another layer.  

Have a go at gelli printing for card making to create unique backgrounds for your handmade cards,

More Gelli Printing Cards....

Gelli print Birthday cards
Vintage hugs gelli print card

Need More Information...

Take time to watch You Tube instruction videos by the two manufactures of gelli plates....

Gel Press

Gelli Arts

And check out some excellent artists to discover additional techniques.  I would recommend.....

Teresa Morgan

Carolyn Dube

picture shows a gel press, brayer and art materials

Discover More Card Making Techniques....

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