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35 Cool Gelli Printing Ideas + Techniques for Beginners

35 Cool Gelli Printing Ideas + Techniques for Beginners

gelli printing

If you’re new to gel printing and searching for inspiration, this list of 35 cool Gelli printing ideas and techniques for beginners is perfect for you! Gelli printing, also known as gel plate printing, is all about creating stunning prints using acrylic paints and a gel printing plate. It’s a fantastic way to express your creativity and explore endless possibilities on paper and other mediums. In this blog post, we’re going to walk you through 35 cool gelli printing ideas and techniques, perfect for beginners looking to dip their toes into the vibrant world of gelli arts. So grab your gel press plates, acrylic paints, and a sheet of paper, and let’s get started!

What is Gelli Printing?

Gelli plate printing, also called gel printing, is the process of making custom prints using acrylic paints and a special tool called a gel plate. The use of gelatin plates eliminates the need to carve into materials like wood or linoleum as traditional printmaking methods require. The surface of the gel plate has a similar feel silicone and is easy to clean and reuse. Making gelli prints is like painting without a brush – it’s all about spontaneity, creativity, and endless possibilities! With Gelli printing, you’re not bound by rules or limitations – you’re free to experiment, play, and create one-of-a-kind art pieces. 

What do you need for Gelli Printing?

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  1. Gel Printing Plate: Invest in a high-quality gel printing plate in a size that suits your preferences and project requirements. Gel plates are available in various thicknesses, with thicker plates offering more durability and stability. The most commonly available gel plates are made by Gelli Arts. I  They are high quality and come in a variety of sizes. While the price point is high, these really do stand the test of time. I also love that they come in a clamshell package which makes it easy to store. Do not throw away the original packaging. I don’t suggest a generic or homemade gel plate.
  2. Acrylic Paints or Stazon Inks: Choose a selection of acrylic paints or printing inks in your preferred colors. Acrylic paints are readily available, affordable, and offer vibrant hues suitable for Gelli printing. Alternatively, printing inks provide a smoother consistency and faster drying time, ideal for creating multiple layers without smudging.
  3. Brayer: A brayer, or roller, is used to spread the paint evenly across the gel plate. Opt for a soft rubber brayer that glides smoothly over the surface without leaving streaks or marks.
  4. Paper or Fabric: Choose paper or fabric for printing your designs. In my experience, printer paper and deli paper work best. Some people like to experiment with tissue paper as well. Thicker papers, such as watercolor paper do not work well as well because they have more texture and they absorb more paint and capture intricate details. Fabric can be used to create unique textile prints suitable for art quilts, garments, or mixed-media projects. The best part is that you can make your very own papers. I would not recommend using glossy photo paper, however, gelli printing is an open ended experience, so feel free to experiment with any type of paper and see what beautiful prints you will create!
  5. Stencils, Texture Plates, and Found Objects: Enhance your Gelli prints by incorporating stencils, texture plates, or found objects into your designs. These tools add depth, dimension, and visual interest to your prints, allowing you to experiment with different patterns and motifs. We’ll go into more gel printing ideas in this post!

*I love ordering supplies on Amazon because there are tons of selection results, free shipping (typically ships within a few business days) and it’s never final sale so if you change your mind, you can send the supplies back. Check out my favorite items on my Amazon storefront. You’ll find a full page of all of my favorite things!

What can you make with gelli plate printing?

When it comes to gelli arts, the possibilities are endless! It’s most common to make gel prints on paper to create custom art journal pages. You can also make gelli prints on fabric like denim, jewelry, wood, stone, and more! Once you learn how to make gelli plate prints you can design custom patterns on just about anything!

How do you make gelli prints?

If you’re new to gel prints, check out my comprehensive beginner’s guide with step-by-step instructions before getting started. Here’s the basics of gelli printing: 

Apply acrylic paint to the gel plate

The first step is to put several drops of paint in your chosen colors on the gel plate. The amount and color of paint you’ll use will depend on your desired design. 

Use a brayer to spread the paint

The next step is to spread the thin layer of paint onto the gelli plate with the brayer. You can also use a paintbrush to achieve an ombre effect or a different pattern of your choice. Manipulate the paint

Use a variety of tools, such as brushes, textures, or even your fingers, to manipulate the paint on the gel plate. Create swirls, lines, or abstract shapes by dragging, blending, or scraping the paint across the surface of the plate. 

Add different effects using design elements

Use stencils, texture plates, or other objects to add various textures to your print. Keep reading to get inspiration from our 35 gelli printing ideas! 

Print your design

Place a sheet of paper, fabric, or whatever else you’re printing on top of the gel plate an gently press down using even pressure. Peel the paper off to reveal your print. If you like your first successful print, feel free to use that same piece of paper to make a second print. If there is still paint remaining on the plate, you can actually pull a third print with the remnants. This is called a ghost print. 

35 Cool Gelli Printing Ideas & Techniques

Now that you’ve got the basics of gelli printing down, try out some of these creative gelli printing projects.

Gelli printing techniques

1. Gel print with leaves from Hop Along Studio

Use leaves to add some texture elements to your gel prints.

2. Pasta from A Colorful Journey

​There are so many different ways to give unique texture to your gelli prints – you can even do it with pasta!

3. Building Textured Layers from Kim Dellow

Learn how to build textured layers in your gel prints with this online workshop video.

4. Gel printing with watercolors from Marsha Valk

Using watercolors instead of acrylic paints is a creative way to use your gelli plate.

5. Stamps from Susanne Rose

If you’re gelli printing with kids, using stamps is a great way to add simple shapes to your design.

6. Spun Rainbow from A Colorful Journey

Use different colors to create a spun rainbow design. Print it on paper, fabric, and more!

7. DIY Stencils from Susanne Rose

Stencils are a great way to add texture and negative space to your gel prints. You can use premade stencils or make your own stencils using a laser cutting machine or die cutting machine.

8. Plastic Wrap from Gio Gio Craft

Add some texture with everyday items you find around the house like plastic wrap or bubble wrap.

9. Felt Tips Markers & Paint Pens from Gelli Arts

Want to mix it up? Try using felt tip markers or paint pens to design your gelli printing masterpiece!

Using leaves to create texture is a great idea for your first print of an art journal page. Try leaves of different sizes to create an interesting pattern! 

Gelli printing is a very abstract art form. There are so many different techniques to add patterns, texture, and negative space to your designs. Honestly, there’s no wrong way to make gel prints! You don’t need a lot of art supplies to make beautiful gel prints. You can use different things you find around the house such as leaves, pine cones, plastic wrap, and even pasta! Here are some ideas for using different materials in your gelli printing technique. 

Unique gelli printing projects

35 gelli printing ideas

10. DIY Printed Earrings from Vicky Myers Creations

You can combine gelli printing with other craft mediums such as resin art to create beautiful DIY jewelry like these one-of-a-kind earrings.

11. Woven Paper Greeting Cards from Sum of Their Stories

If you have gelli prints left over from a previous project, recycle them into this fun woven greeting card!

12. Leaf Print Coasters Vicky Myers Creations

Use decoupage and gelli prints to make these DIY coasters in 5 easy steps.

13. Gift Bags Vicky Myers Creations

Homemade gift bags add such a special, personalized touch to gift giving. Pick a creative print and follow this great tutorial from Vicky Myers Creations to create a one-of-a-kind gift wrapping. 

35 gelli printing projects

14. Motivational Quotes Vicky Myers Creations

Looking to add a little flair to your DIY home decor? Try making a decoupage picture frame with your gelli prints and add a motivational quote!

15. Gold Leaf Bracelets Vicky Myers Creations

It’s hard to believe these beautiful gold leaf bracelets are made with gelli prints!

16. Christmas Cards Vicky Myers Creations

Skip the store-bought cards this year and make your own Christmas cards with custom printed designs.

17. Valentine’s Day Cards Vicky Myers Creations

Show your loved ones how much you mean to them with handmade Valentine’s Day cards made with your favorite gel prints.

35 gelli printing projects

18. Rainbow Sneakers from A Colorful Journey

Want your own custom printed sneakers? Gelli print them!

19. Gel printing on the wall from A Colorful Journey

Time for a colorful update to the white paint on your walls? Try making gel prints on the wall for a unique decorative accent!

20. Collage with a photo from Marsha Valk

​Want to learn how to make a Gelli print collage? Watch this free video that mixes gel prints with photos for a mixed-media masterpiece!

21. Floral collage fodder from Susanne Rose

Make your own collage fodder with your mono-printing tool. 

35 gelli printing projects

22. Personalized photo prints from Gelli Arts

Make a one of a kind keepsake with a personalized Gelli photo print. These would make the best Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gifts!

23. Colored image resist from Gelli Arts

I love the pop-art style of these image resist gel prints. The final print is so cool!

24. Flower pots from Gelli Arts

Add a pop of color to your porch with custom gelli printed flower pots. Perfect for spring planting!

25. Tissue Paper from Artsy Fartsy Life

​Gelli printed tissue paper is a great medium to use in a mixed-media collage.

35 gelli printing projects

26. Custom Fabric from Gelli Arts

​Create custom gel printed fabric to use for your seasonal sewing crafts. How adorable are these fabric ducklings? 

27. Mini Cards from Gelli Arts

It’s always handy to keep some blank cards on hand for last-minute gifts or events. Make your own mini cards with Gelli prints!

28. Paper Mache Bowls and Vases from Gelli Arts

These paper mache bowls using custom gelli prints would be so much fun to make and display!

29. Recycled Jeans Purse from Gelli Arts

Have some old jeans lying around? Turn them into a bright and colorful gelli printed purse!

35 gelli printing projects

30. Candles from Gelli Arts

Using gelli printed tissue paper is an easy way to create your own custom candles.

31. Jewelry from Gelli Arts

Make your own custom jewelry using gelli printed shrink plastic. This is such a great way to do gelli printing with kids or teens. Each detailed piece of jewelry is unique!

32. Faux Leather Bag from Gelli Arts

This custom faux leather bag is such a beautiful DIY accessory. What do you think of the finished piece?

33. Fall Inspired Wreath from Gelli Arts

Not sure what to do with all of your gelli prints? Make a paper wreath! This one is fall-inspired, but this craft goes great with any season!

35 gelli printing projects

34. Iron-Ons from Gelli Arts

Create unique iron-on patches by gelli printing onto fusible interfacing!

35. Drawstring pouch with image transfer from Gelli Arts

​Have your teen create their own custom drawstring bag with an image transfer or someone they look up to. What a cool summer project!

How to maintain your Gelli plate so it lasts

After you’ve finished gelli printing, it’s essential to properly clean and store your gel plate to ensure its longevity. Begin by wiping off excess paint from the plate using a baby wipe or damp cloth. For stubborn residue, you can use a mild soap and water solution. Be gentle when cleaning to avoid damaging the surface of the plate.

Once clean, allow the gel plate to air dry completely before storing it. To prevent dust and debris from sticking to the surface, store the plate between two pieces of wax paper or in its original packaging. Keep the plate in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to maintain its integrity for future use. With proper care, your gel plate can continue to provide endless creative possibilities for your gelli printing projects.

FAQs about Gelli printing

What supplies do I need to start Gelli printing?

To start gelli printing, you’ll need basic supplies like a gel printing plate, acrylic paints (preferably Golden Open Acrylics for optimal results), a sheet of paper, and some cotton cloth for cleaning excess paint. Additionally, having texture plates, rice paper, and sharp objects like pine cones for creating unique textures and patterns can enhance your prints.

How much paint should I use for gelli printing?

Using the right amount of paint is crucial for successful gelli prints. Avoid starting with a lot of paint, instead start with a thin layer of paint on your gel plate so you don’t overload it. A little too much paint can result in muddy prints. Experiment with different amounts to find the balance that works best for you.

Can I use dark colors for gelli printing?

Yes, you can use dark colors for gelli printing, but it’s essential to consider the contrast and opacity of the colors. Darker tones may require more paint to achieve the desired intensity, so be mindful of the amount you use. Experiment with layering and mixing colors to create depth and richness in your prints.

How can I achieve the best results with gelli printing?

Achieving the best results with gelli printing requires practice, experimentation, and a clear goal in mind. Start with a clear idea of what you want to create and experiment with different techniques, such as using different directions for pulling prints or incorporating texture plates and stencils. Don’t be afraid to embrace mistakes and learn from them.

Can I reuse old paintings or original pieces for gelli printing?

Yes, you can repurpose old paintings or an original piece for gelli printing. Simply place the painting face down on the gel plate to transfer the paint onto a new sheet of paper. This technique allows you to create unique prints while giving new life to your existing artwork.

Are there any online resources or courses available for learning gelli printing?

Yes, there are many online resources and courses available for learning gelli printing. Check out our beginners guide for using a gelli plate here. Consider signing up for free courses or workshops, watching tutorials, or joining online communities to connect with other gelli printing enthusiasts and learn new techniques.

​When it comes to gelli printing, there are unlimited possibilities for what you can create! Whether you’re diving into your first gel printing craft or you’re a seasoned pro, I hope you found a project that excites you in this list of 35 gelli printing ideas. 

Happy Crafting!