As an avid crafter, I’m always on the look out for new gadgets and materials to use. So when asked to demo Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate, I was excited and intrigued. Armed with an assortment of colorful acrylics and pristine card stock, I was ready to get down and dirty with some printing projects.
According to the Gelli Arts website, the Gel Printing Plate is made with mineral oil and is a hypoallergenic polymer material. The pad itself is quite sticky and squishy and there are specific instructions on how to care for it. Make sure you follow them, as the gel pad will last quite a long time if taken care of properly.
The process seems complicated at first, but it’s actually very easy. I quickly read through the directions, cleaned up my work space, and then gave it a go. To start you apply drops of paint directly onto the gel pad and then use the roller to spread out the paint to cover the pad. For my first try, I used blue and yellow paint, which mixed together while rolling to make a nice wash of blue, yellow, and green.
Once the pad is covered with paint, it’s time to add a texture. I used some of the bubble wrap the kit came in and pressed it firmly against the pad. After removing the bubble wrap, I was left with a very interesting texture on the pad. The bubbles had removed much of paint, and left a distinct circle pattern. Now it was time to transfer the design to the card. I placed the blank card on top of the pad and firmly pressed it into the paint. When I peeled the card off the gel pad, the entire design was printed on the card and the gel pad was practically clean. The end result was a beautiful bubble print on a card that I can now customize for any occasion.
While fairly simple, the process can be quite messy, so make sure you have plenty of scrap paper and paper towels to clean up. But even these materials can be used later in the print making process to enhance your designs or create different textures. Not only can you create a variety of textures using regular household products (bubble wrap, sponges, crumpled paper, etc), but you can also make stencils to use with the gel pad. I think for my next batch of cards I’m going to make stencils of Boathouse Row, Independence Hall, and The Liberty Bell to give my cards some Philly flair.
My favorite aspect of this product, aside from the simplicity of use, is that you can really explore when using it without fear of messing it up. As colors mix, you end up with varied and unique patterns. Each print you make will be completely one of a kind. This process allows you to easily make a lot of beautiful prints that you can use for a multitude of other projects, such as cards, gift wrap, or even clothing. According to the company’s website, the gel pads come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The application of this product is only limited by your imagination.