Enjoy the Journey Journal page

This week I have shared a gel plate video and a series of cards made with prints and leftovers from that gel printing session. If you look closely at this journal page you will see a couple more prints put to use.

The Darkroom Door set, Nomad, recently arrived in my mailbox and the main reason I chose it was the pile of suitcases. I own one old suitcase which belonged to my grandmother; it houses the ‘dress up’ collection. It is not unlike the third one in the left hand stack. The stamp set also has a single suitcase, some passport stamps and two sentiments, one included on this page.

To add even more vintage-ness to the vintage suitcases I stamped them on a grid and striped prints from the gel printing session. I used corrugated cardboard to make the patterns on the gel plate originally. I stamped the suitcases in archival inks then added extra colour with distress inks and gel pens. To create the background I smooshed blueprint sketch distress inks on a piece of acetate, spritzed water over the ink then transferred it to the masked journal pages. With the blue protected I blended a brown base, also with distress inks. Over the top of the inking I added some impressions with the DD world map and scratches background stamps. To balance the suitcases I added the vintage car and sentiment on the right hand side.

Maybe these pages came from my longing to be out and about seeing new and old places, or a longing to be poking around antique and thrift stores. The latter will probably happen before the former.

Are you longing for a trip somewhere? Are you thinking near or far?

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Landscapes from leftovers

In my recent gel printing video I kept a piece of heavy weight paper off to the side for cleaning my brayer. I turned it around half way through the printing session so it ended up browns on one side and blue/grey/yellow on the other.

The colour and texture was too yummy to waste so I cut two rectangles which both spanned the centre or ‘horizon’ line of the large sheet. Because the panel above has a dark sky I punched a circle moon from another area and made it a night scene with the addition of black silhouette trees die-cut with the PB ‘into the woods’ die.

Not only is there plenty of visual texture in these panels the brayered paper is also very rough to touch. There is no trick to making these papers; I definitely don’t keep the clean up sheets every time but I find if I work with the same colours for a while and flip the sheet around when it has plenty of paint on it the combination of colour and texture can be beautiful.

The second card is more of a late afternoon scene. The colour of the sun is similar to what we saw two days ago when the sky was hazy due to bushfires in northwestern Ontario.

The trees blend into the landscape somewhat as there is not a lot of contrast between the die cuts and the base. I used the PB ‘tall trees’ dies and cut them from the left over edges of the panel.

This is not the first time I’ve used scraps and scratch paper for cards and journal pages. This cityscape is made from gel printing masks and two of these cards are from a clean up sheet. Today I glued a large ‘clean up’ sheet into my art journal as a background for a future page. I don’t know what to do with it yet but I liked it too much to toss it away.

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Gel print backgrounds – stripes and grid

Yesterday I posted a gel printing video where I used both an egg carton and a piece of corrugated cardboard to add texture to my prints. I used a couple of the corrugated cardboard prints to make today’s cards.

You can see how I printed this panel in the video. To turn it into a card I used a couple of new stamps from Penny Black. I stamped the mountain stamp five times in browns and blue then inked the rushes with a brown and a blue ink. I love the way it looks like a sunset or sunrise because of the background print. It wasn’t something I tried to create but a possibility I saw when looking at the prints.

The print below was made with the same piece of corrugated cardboard pressed down on the gel press twice to create a grid pattern. You can see the process in yesterday’s video. I decided to stamp flowers on it as an experiment. I knew it might be too much pattern but I wanted to try. I stamped and embossed the Penny Black ‘companions’ stamp in versafine clair nocturne ink and it looked bold just as an outline.

By painting inside the flowers I was able to separate them from the background enough to make them a feature not a competitor with the very busy grid pattern. I used a couple of layers of pearlescent paint on the flowers but quite diluted pearlescent black on the leaves and jug.

Tell me what ‘recycled’ items you have used for gel printing. I am keen to print with ‘all the things’! To be honest gel printing is top of my list of techniques right now. I hope you enjoyed the two recent gel printing videos. I will definitely make more. Tomorrow I have a couple of cards made from the piece of cardstock I used to clean my brayer. I showed a glimpse of it at the end of the video.

See you soon.

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Gel Printing with recycled cardboard

I posted a video last week featuring gel prints with stencils. In today’s technique video I use cardboard found at home. One piece was the packaging for eggs and the other a piece of corrugated cardboard.

The huge snowballs falling in the card above were printed using the large circles on the egg carton. I could have done more on the gel plate with extra colour or texture but I kept it simple which works well behind the more intricate sleigh. You can see my process in the video below.

The card below also features a gel print background made with an egg carton but I pulled two prints on the one panel both with green and white paint and egg carton circles.

The card below also features a gel print background made with an egg carton but I pulled two prints on the one panel both with green and white paint and egg carton circles. I stamped leaves from the Darkroom Door stamp set, ‘carved leaves vol 1’ over the bokeh-like circle background. To get the right tones of green in the stamping I used both shady lane and rain forest versafine clair inks one over the top of the other. The sentiment is from the ‘happy birthday’ sentiment strip.

In the video I also made prints with a piece of corrugated cardboard pressing it down on the gel press once for a striped pattern and twice for a grid pattern. I’ve turned a couple of those prints into cards which will be on the blog tomorrow. I hope you try gel printing with some recycling you find at your place. See you soon.

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Gel Printing with stencils + video

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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Fern gel print journal page

Another art journal page today which is unusual for me. After noticing there was a fern growing beside one of the drainpipes off my roof I had to try gel printing with one of the intricate fronds. I made a card with a fern gel print too but carelessly I let it leave the house before being photographed!

To gel print a leaf or feather I use a two step process. I apply paint to the gel plate; I used blues and greens and the large 12″x14″ gel plate. I lay the fern frond as flat as I could on the plate and then took a print; once again I used rice paper. The first pull picks up all the surrounding ink leaving a white empty frond shaped space in the middle. I carefully removed the fern which reveals the print of the frond still on the gel plate. I took a second pull, laying the paper down in the same place so it picked up all the detail of the fern. You can see a video of the same process in an earlier post.

To attach the large print to my art journal pages was a little tricky. I cut it in half and worked one side at a time applying the matte medium to the page not the print. I will do the opposite next time. Rice paper is thin which makes it less bulky but I had to be careful not to use too much glue. When I made the card (which is gone!) I applied a thin coat of matte medium to the gel print and immediately pressed a piece of cardstock down on the rice paper and put something heavy on top. It worked well.

Thanks for joining me this week as I went off in card-less directions. I have enjoyed your encouragement and thoughts in the comments. If you are free tonight at 7:30 EDT and want to see me creating live online for the first time I would be thrilled. I have no idea what I’ll make; it all depends on what the wheel spins for me!


Gel print city journal page

Continuing my week of gel prints you might see a resemblance between yesterday’s projects and todays. I posted large cityscape projects yesterday made by masking areas of the gel plate with paper rectangles cut from stiff magazine paper. Some of the masks had little shapes cut from them with dies. I used the magazine masks over and over on several prints and experiments so by the end they were covered in paint and way more interesting than they started out.

Rather than save the masks or throw them away I turned them into a city scape art journal page. Once again my scraps are prettier than some of my prints! Every time I brayered a new colour onto the gel plate I lay the rectangle masks paint side down so they ended up picking up paint, pattern and texture while occasionally letting a bit of text or photo show through.

The background sky was done with distress sprays, a few blues and a black (listed below) spritzed over the open spread to cover the top half of both pages.

Once the sky was dry I arranged and rearranged the ‘buildings’ so I would have contrasting heights and colours across the scene. Some of the tiny shapes die cut from the masks also had paint on them so I used a few as doors on this scene. The windows are all cut outs revealing some of the prints underneath. I used matte medium and a Tim Holtz collage brush to glue everything down then decided to outline the shapes with gel pens to separate them a little more.

This art journal design was one of those rare ones that turned out as I imagined it might. Doesn’t always go that way!

I mentioned a couple of days ago I am appearing on Craft Roulette Live Improv show on Friday night. I’d love to see you there if you are free. You can hop on the chat and say hello. The details are here and here

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Gel print cityscapes

Yesterday was coast line, today we are back to the city. I hesitated before sharing these as I am still experimenting with the technique but I think these two panels are good representations of what I am aiming for.

These panels are quite large; they are printed on rice paper from a 12″x18″ pad. My gel plate for these is 12″ x 14″ so it was tight on the edges and sometimes I didn’t get it lined up exactly. With gel printing not getting things lined up exactly is part of the charm in my opinion. I initially bought the rice paper for painting but it was the perfect size for large gel prints so I tried it and liked it.

My technique for both these panels was the same. I began with a two or three colour base layer then every time I printed over the top I lay rectangular pieces of thick magazine paper over sections of the panel to mask ‘buildings’. Some of the rectangles had little squares and rectangles cut out; I used the Waffle Flower ‘color combos’ dies for that.

The tall panel has gold stars in the sky created using the Darkroom Door large ‘stars’ stencil but other than that I didn’t add texture to the layers. I plan to do more of that as I keep experimenting.

My plan wasn’t to make one rather dark and the other light but that is what happened. Both feature gold paint but in the lighter one it has showed up as a sheen in the photograph and distracts a bit from the ‘buildings’.

The process is enjoyable but takes some planning and thinking because any surface that I want to preserve has to be masked on the next and subsequent layers. Sometimes I get it right, sometimes not, but I’m still happy with these abstract cityscapes.

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From the ocean or the shore?

Today’s gel prints are inspired by aerial views of parts of the West Australian coast. I haven’t been there but the views I’ve seen on youtube show these colours. These panels are roughly slimline card size but they are not made into cards yet because I’m not sure if I want to send them or display them. I think a very slim black strip with a sentiment could look good but I can’t commit to it yet. I’ve already started worked on a larger similar print so I might be able to part with these ones.

I also have a bit of exciting/terrifying news about Craft Roulette; if you want to hear more about that make sure you read to the end of this post.

I also wonder which way you think they should be oriented. The view above appears to be looking from the ocean back to the beach. The view below is from land out to the ocean. What’s your preference? There is no right or wrong of course.

I created these on a large gel plate in a few layers, not too many as I didn’t want to muddy the sandy end. I started with blue acrylic paint in two tones covering half the plate then mustard covering the other. The next print once again had blue but I put some texture marks in it with a homemade ‘wide comb’ edge and added a rusty colour at the other end.

The final prints were to add the white foam and extra blue so I sponged the blue and white acrylic paint onto the gel plate in roughly the middle, took another print and then repeated the sponging. I used a mixture of acrylic paints, some liquitex basics, some decoarts Americana, but in the midst of a gel printing session I don’t always take note of what colours I use and by the end of the session all the colours are out on the table! The cardstock is a lightweight white card, about 60lb weight, not the usual 110lb I use for card bases.

In other news, on Friday evening I will be a guest on Craft Roulette, a live improv crafting game show on youtube hosted by Mary Gunn. I have never created live before and it is improv so I don’t even know what I will be making until they spin the wheel. Pop over to the Craft Roulette youtube channel; you can find out what it is all about, check out old episodes and get ready to watch on Friday night. It is 6:30 MT so that’s 7:30 EST and beyond that you will have to do the math!

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Gel print backgrounds

I have had my gel plate out recently and I am addicted. It is what happens when I get it out. Gel printing can be frustrating because some of the prints are a whole lot of nothing much while others are full of pattern, texture and colour. I never know whether the next print will be the former or the latter so I keep on printing. I have a stack of prints sitting around and I decided it was time to cut a few up to make cards. I added some stamping and die-cuts.

This first card is my favourite but I must be honest with you, it isn’t a gel print. It is the scrap paper I cleaned the brayer on! I love how pretty the colours and blends are but I’m a bit miffed that my clean up page was prettier than many of my prints!

To turn it into a card I stamped and embossed the PB ‘contemporary’ stamp in white and added the hello, cut with the PB ‘thanks & hello’

Same deal with this background but embossed with gold and adorned with the PB ‘jumbo joy’ die.

I’m glad to add another card to my very small Christmas card stack. My resolution to add to it every month seems to be a bit off and on.

This background is a recent print and includes a fun thread printing technique I saw on Birgit Koopsen’s instagram. She recently completed a challenge gel printing every day in May. She generously shared all the techniques she tried.

I added flowers from the PB ‘perfumed’ set and a sentiment in white embossing powder.

I guess the title of this post was a bit inaccurate as only one of these cards features a gel print background! Watching beauty emerge when gel printing is so much fun. To glance over at my brayer clean up sheet and realise I have to save it because it looks like a pastel check table cloth is a bonus. To see the pale ghosts of stencils turn up on third or fourth prints also amazes me.

I did not participate in Birgit’s recent challenge as I was busy busy launching the new online Floral Faves class but now the gel plate is out I am challenging myself to post something gel-print related every day this week. See you tomorrow.

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