Thursday, May 24, 2018

Gelli Plate Transfers

I am always swept over the moon when I see beautiful pages that were made using a Gelli Plate, but I never felt the urge to rush out and buy one. I am a gatherer of projects and I know it got added to my long list of "must do's", but for some reason that particular subject kept popping up getting moved further to the top of my list. That's when I decided to look into what all you can actually do with a Gelli Plate. There are a lot of tutorials on YOU TUBE. You just have to scour through them and find the ones that really appeal to you, like the one I found on transfers. That alone made my decision to go purchase a Gelli Plate. I am now a proud owner of a large (9" X 12") Gelli Plate. Check out Gelli Arts

The first thing I did was to jump right in like I knew what I was doing. I found out quickly that even finding a well done tutorial on transfers, it still takes some practice to get the hang of it. There are a lot of factors involved that will have a bearing on the outcome of your transfer. Like anything else, practice, trial and error and once you get your own nuance down, you won't stop!

Here are some of the transfers I made using my large Gelli Plate and some things I learned along the way:
 Size Matters - I went with the large Gelli Plate because my interest was already peaked at making print transfers from the beginning. With the larger size Gelli Plate, you can make large or small prints. If you are wanting to make cards, or smaller scale prints, there are smaller Gelli Plates perfect for just that as well as round ones and there are Gelli Stencils to use on your Gelli Plate. I will probably get a round Gelli Plate as well once I move on from transfers (if ever) and start playing with making back ground papers. (Another whole world of possibilities ahead).
 Paper Matters - depending on what you are wanting to use your transfer for, try all types of paper. Good practice paper is plain ol' white copy paper, also great for using in journals and collage work. You will also need this for cleaning your brayer and you can also save those papers for background work, cutting out shapes etc. Otherwise, you can use any magazine pages, book pages or even junk mail to clean your brayer each time, maybe even envelopes, etc.. see where my mind is going with that?
Once I got my mojo going, I did make some large prints on
....... water color paper. A nicer, thicker paper that transfers really well and is great for prints...(Still working on being less messy for those).
      This is one where the face did not transfer well, but I   figure I can fill in the face on my own.

Paint Matters - most all the tutorials said that paint didn't matter and for the most part, I found that to be true. However, as you experiment and practice you will find the ones that work best for you. I found that my best image transfers were done using Golden Fluid Acrylics, they roll out a nice thin layer, which you need. Too much paint on your Gelli Plate will cause your transfer to smear and the image you are transferring to move around which also causes smearing. No matter what type of paint you use, you need a thin layer and that will just take some practice to get a feel of how much works best for you.
  The places that are white is where I had the paint too thin and it did not transfer. Again, I can add my own colors to the print.

Image Matters - The first tutorial I watched said you needed glossy images. I did not have any success with those. The transfers that worked the best for me were not glossy images but ones that had good contrast with light and dark colors. Practice, practice first. Don't use an image you love without some successful transfers first because once you use that image, it is gone.  A great resource I found is the public library. Our library has a book sale once a year. That is a great time to find some interesting images and books to use, some for practice and some images for keeps, as well as flea markets etc. You can pick up a lot of nice coffee table books at flea markets with great images.

Patience Matters - I only say this because no matter how many successful images you have, you never know how the next one will turn out. That is one of the things I love about the Gelli Plate, the amount of you paint use, the amount of pressure you put on applying your image, the type of paper you use, the type of image you use, all these things affect the outcome and most of the time I am always happily surprised at what transpires onto  my paper. 
 This is another example of too much paint and the face smeared but offers up another fun challenge to play with this print.
Sometimes, Small Things Matter - I am a huge fan of baby wipes when creating art but  I found that the baby wipes, at least the ones that I have, leave little lint hairs on the Gelli Plate that show up when doing transfers. This may not matter when you are creating backgrounds, but I switched to a wad of wet paper towels when cleaning my Gelli Plate between transfers. I also randomly clean off my brayer , I  was finding little specks of paint stuck to my brayer and anything stuck to your brayer will "lift off" the paint on your Gelli Plate.

 White spots where the paint was too thin can always be filled with colors of my choice.

On this print, I painted the roses right on the Gelli Plate with a brush, I didn't layer it with another color so not all of the paint picked up on the paper, which I sorta really love because now I get to play with this print even more.

  I hope I have inspired you to try your hand at transferring images using a Gelli Plate and mind you, I am just a wee beginner finding my way in this magical maze of Gelli Art. If you are a Gelli user and you have tips to share or a site you found to be helpful and inspiring( including your own) please do share here and leave a comment and or follow, I would love to follow you back. It would be greatly appreciated. I am definitely excited to move onto the next phase of making back ground papers... and more!

Happy Creating!


  1. I'm delighted you are enjoying your Gelli. For three years after they came out, I asked for one for Christmas. NO one took me seriously, so I ended up purchasing one myself. Back then, only one company made them, and only in two sizes. Mine is the same size as yours. Between the tax and shipping, I spent over 2/3 of my annual art budget, but I didn't care. That was how badly I wanted it.

    Then I received it and I HATE IT. You need a large space to set up and create. If you nick the plate, it's not like the gelatin plate that you can boil down and start over fresh. You live forever with the nicks, scratches, etc.

    I was delighted to read your post and how you tested each part of the process. I look forward to seeing more of these awesome transfers soon.

    1. Thanks so much for leaving your comment and visiting. The verdict is still out on the Gelli plate as I have only experimented with the transfers so far. I am really looking forward to utilizing the plate for some fun background papers. There are a lot of utube videos for that and I will probably watch a few to get some good starting ideas. I wouldn't worry too much about the scratches if you are doing background papers as all those little bits add to it and no sure anyone would know it but you. Also not sure when I will get to it as I have so many projects on the table to finish. When I do, I will for sure post here again and let you know if I still LOVE my plate or not... LOL. Don't give up! There is probably something entirely new you can do with it, we just haven't discovered it yet. If you do, let me know! xoxo

  2. OMGOSH KIM! I am first of all exhausted after reading how much research and experimenting you did-lol
    But ,mostly, I just LOVE all of your transfers! These are fabulous!! I totally adore your roses print, but really love a few of the others as well, especially those with the orangy colors- So beautiful!
    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this all out and share with us! You are a doll for doing so!
    Sending love & hugs Jackie

    1. Thank you Jackie, I still have a lot of experimenting to do. I haven't moved on to background papers yet, which is what I really think I will use it for the most. When time permits I will go to utube and watch a few videos to get some good starting tips and some what happens! As always, thanks for stopping by and I hope you feeling much better and enjoying some sunshine and art! Love and hugs back to you!!


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