Rachel Greig from Darkroom Door is hosting ‘Artful August’, a challenge to make something arty each day in August. She has provided 31 prompts and I am going to play along as often as I can. Circles was the prompt yesterday so I cut circles from a just few of the many gel print panels I have piling up. I used only gelprints done on rice paper and they cut and adhered very easily.
Once I had cut circles in different sizes from different gel printed panels I stamped flower silhouettes from several Darkroom Door sets. Before gluing the circles to the pages I painted the pages with a base of gesso + light brown paint and added some scribbly circles by tracing inside circle dies.
I glued the printed, stamped circles with matte medium both on the back of the paper and over the top to seal it. To add a bit more interest around the circles I blended antique linen ink through a homemade paper stencil.
The prompts in the challenge are very open and participants are encouraged to interpret them in any way and with any medium. If you are on instagram you can view the submissions by searching for #artfulaugust or #rachelgreigartfulaugustchallenge
As I participate in the challenge I will have simple experiments along with some completed projects like this one. The fun is simply playing with the prompts. In making today’s journal pages I was very happy to use some pretty scraps, experiments and clean up pages from gel printing sessions. There are always too many to turn into cards but each one has a unique texture and colour mix.
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In recent gel printing sessions I have used some of my intricate stencils from Paper Rose Studio. This stencil, ‘little swirls‘ makes a particularly beautiful background. I’ve been printing on a 6″x6″ gel plate with a 6″x6″ stencil but I cut the print down to make a 4¼” x 5½” card.
I used stamps from Darkroom Door’s nature walk , butterflies and happy birthday sets. (all linked at the end of the post). The process for making this type of print is shown in the video below.
After any gel printing session I usually have quite a pile of prints, some become cards but I am hoping to use more in my art journal. I have to be a bit more adventurous in tearing and layering and turning them into more than just a patterned print.
The making of the background above is included in the video. To turn it into a birthday card I stamped ‘have fun’ directly on the print then popped up a sentiment strip on top. The words are stamped in Gina K obsidian amalgam ink using the Pink Fresh Studio ‘Heather’ lowercase alphabet set.
The making of the background below is also part of the video and you can see the mustard paint beaded on the surface of the gel plate making an allover pattern when printed. I didn’t necessarily want the beading but was happy when it ended up uniform. Paints of different brands perform differently on the gel press so experimentation is necessary to work out how much paint and which brands will give you the results you want.
I turned this background into another birthday card by embossing a car from the Darkroom Door Classic Cars vol 1 set along with a sentiment from the same set plus one from the Happy Birthday set.
I also filmed some gel printing with a few textured surfaces from the recycling box; I’ll be sharing that video soon.
I’d love to hear how you use your gel prints; I’m always open to ideas.
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Last week I posted a card featuring gel printed leaves from herbs I grew. I tried to explain my process but a few of you wished for a video so I picked some more leaves and had some fun printing them.
I used two different methods in the video, the leaf printed in yellow at the top of the page uses a two step method. The blue + green leaf above uses three steps and has one technique layered over the other technique.
I think the part of gel printing that gives me most inconsistent results is the way I apply ink. I’m getting better but I still get unwanted lines from the edge of the brayer. That wasn’t so evident on these prints as I was working on little gel plates called ‘petites’ from Gel Press.
I did a bunch of prints for this video on the square and the circle ‘petite’ plates as shown on the top cards. For the ‘slimline’ card I used three of the square prints but die-cut them smaller so I could fit them side by side on a 8¾” x 3¾” card.
I hope you give this a try, it’s quite satisfying and addicting once you get going!
It is a long time since I had my gel plate out for monoprinting; I’m definitely keen, but for the last few months my time has been taken up by an exciting new project I’ll be sharing with you soon. I decided to go through prints from previous gel print adventures to make a few cards with Darkroom Door stamps.
Most often I use acrylic paints on my gel plate but to make this natural coloured background I used water colour powders. I can’t remember which paint colours I used, possibly only one like sandstone which can give a range of browny orange tones. To turn the monoprints into cards I used stamps from DD sets ‘leaves’, ‘butterflies’ and ‘global postmarks’. I also used the small ‘mesh’ texture stamp.
I stamped in ‘vintage sepia’ versafine ink, brushed corduroy and rusty hinge distress inks. Initially I stamped the sentiments from the ‘friendship’ sentiment strips on watercolour paper scraps but they looked too stark and clean so I splattered and swiped some ink on them so they blended into the background a bit more.
I also added some linen thread which worked with the natural tones and the postal images. I popped up the panels with a couple of cardstock layers on white luxe textured card bases.
I have some mixed media goodness for you today. I know it’s pretty flat and doesn’t involve any fibres or other funky textured things but it is mixed media and currently my favourite mixed media option – gel printing. I spent a day with a friend a few weeks ago, and we printed up a storm on our gel presses. This is one of my backgrounds patterned with Darkroom Door stencils then stamped with DD stamps.
The textures in the background were made with the DD small stars stencil, diamond stencil and some corrugated cardboard. This background was cut from a bigger panel and I chose a section that had a pop of yellow in the corner; it’s only a small thing but it provides some contrast and leads the eye from left to right.
Once I’d trimmed my panel I stamped one of the cars from ‘classic cars vol 1’ in versamark ink and embossed in white. The background is so busy I needed to do something to make the car stand out a bit more so I coloured it with a white pencil which softened the area inside the stamped car just enough to make a difference. I added numbers from the new ‘number medley’ set in black so they would subtle but noticeable. The sentiment also from ‘classic cars’ set is embossed on a strip of the gel print then matted in white and popped up on some foam tape.
Thank you for all your lovely comments about my recent art journal page. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I have a couple more pages in process in my journals which I look forward to showing you in the future. I would love to hear from other art journallers. What are some of your favourite mediums and techniques?
Today’s cards are made with my latest fave: the gelli plate! I am very much a beginner but learning as I go and watching the myriad of techniques shared on the Gelli Arts youtube channel. The panels in today’s cards were made by printing layer after layer while rearranging die cut paper butterflies and blossoms on top of each new layer of paint. The dies are Penny Black ‘monarch’ and cherry blossom’.
I wont’ try to describe my process because I don’t remember exactly what my order was or what paint colours I used. I know there was green, white, burgandy, gold and pink liquitex basic acrylics but there could have been more. Like many artistic techniques success with a layered gelli print can be knowing when to stop. Once I was happy with the one above I still had paint and pattern showing on the gelli plate so I added one more layer of paint then pulled a ghost print (I’m learning the lingo!) on patterned paper. The paper I chose was a woodgrain print from Alexandra Renke.
You can see the woodgrain print through the paint and pattern. I ended up matting both panels in burgandy cardstock then attaching them to a base panel of the same AR woodgrain paper.
It’s always hard to capture shimmer on camera but all three panels have gold shimmer on them so I added some gold accents to each one. On the top panel I stamped the PB script stamp, embossed in gold powder and matted the panel with gold cardstock. On the card above I added a gold embossed sentiment from the PB set happy snippets and stamped the same script stamp in chianti versafine clair. On the card below I stamped the script stamp in shady lane versafine clair ink and added a gold vellum die cut butterfly, the same butterfly used as a mask in the gel printing process.
I love all the texture from the gelli printing process, the paint which builds up after several layers of printing adds so much interest
I spent a delightful day learning how to use my gelli plate last week. I have had it for years and only used it once or twice so everything my friends showed me was new and exciting.
I was so happy with these feather prints, I couldn’t believe the detail using real feathers. If you want to see how it’s done check out this video on the gelli arts youtube channel.
I did a few with navy and shimmery gold paint as well as some with burgandy and gold. Half of them got sentiments but only small ones as I didn’t want to cover up the lovely detail. I had a MFT sentiment already stamped and die cut which matched the panel below. I haven’t listed or linked any of the paints because I don’t remember what brands I used or colour names. If I continue with my gelli plate (and I’m pretty sure I will!) I will let you know what paints I buy.
My favourite panel is the one at the top of the post which also has the texture of the new ‘diamonds’ stencil from Darkroom Door in the background. As I was learning and experimenting I used computer paper for most prints, not the weight of cardstock I would usually use for panels on my cards. To make sure I didn’t tear or buckle the panels with glue or narrow adhesive I covered the back of all the panels with double sided adhesive sheets.
These last two narrow panels were done on watercolour paper strips. I decided to add sentiments from the new Darkroom Door sentiment strip ‘Sympathy’
Have you used a gelli plate? I love to hear what your favourite techniques are.