Art Party: Making Gelli-Arts Prints

In early May, I hosted an art party for myself and a few friends. For a number of reasons, I had started feeling like a hermit. We had a very long, very cold winter where many people felt like hermits. I had even started calling myself that, jokingly. But that's not really who I am. I enjoy people, and enjoy hosting events. It just hasn't been the season to do that at home.

I wanted to plan an arty party. I couldn't do at my house. I thought about the John Wooden quote at the bottom of my blog. I found a place that rents space by the hour (COEspace). The rental of the space was a gift from my husband and boys for my birthday.  

We made prints using Gelli-Arts Printing Plates and Createx Monotype Colors.  I am not paid anything for mentioning these, but I told my sister I would write down all the supply names. I told her I would write down the process, and decided to do it as a blog post so I could write it down again.  This was an activity designed for "non-artsy" people.  And it truly is and can be. Of course, if you have art skills, you're allowed to use them.  ;-)  There is an art party album of art we made and some of the process.

Gelli-Arts plates were developed to be an alternative to "gelatin plate" printmaking, which is made with unflavored gelatin.  With the Gelli-Arts plate, you don't need to mix up gelatin plates, the Gelli-Arts plate is always ready.  I know I sound like a commercial, truly I am NOT being paid anything for this, I bought my own plates.  I love them, because life doesn't always allow for me to be mixing up gelatin plates.

Making Textural Prints with Gelli-Arts Plates:

Supplies Needed:  

Gelli-arts printing plate
Createx Monotype Colors
textural items to put on the plate
   (such as lace, leaves, cut-out paper shapes, etc.)
paper to print on
spackling knife for mixing colors
rubber brayers to roll ink on the plate
water for cleaning plates
paper towels for wiping plate clean


1.  Choose ink color/colors.  You can apply one color or you can mix colors with a spatula to form a unique and new color.  Squirt ink out and roll rubber brayer until the brayer is even coated.  

2.  Roll the inked brayer onto the Gelli-Arts plate so that the plate is inked as desired.

3.  Lay textural items on the inked plate.  Loosely woven fabrics, lace, leaves, etc

4.  Lay a piece of paper evenly onto the plate with the objects still on the plate.  Using the flat of your hand wipe in gentle motions from the center of the plate out.  You can also use a "barren", but most people used the flat of their hands and that was fine. 

5.  Remove print and set aside to dry. 

6.  Remove items on the plate and the print the "ghost" of the plate as well.  

7.  You can repeat the process so that you print on top of an already printed piece.  Layering creates a more complex image.  

Interactive Painting

The painting below was a group effort. I prepared a wood panel, painted in green, and set it out so that the people attending could paint random brushstrokes on the panel. 

It's now hanging above my fireplace, as a reminder of good times had with friends. 

We talked about doing it again, but next time we will combine it with a wine-tasting party.   Hmmmmm.  Wonder if that will affect our art process?  

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"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden