Thursday, May 1, 2014

Gelatin Monoprint Plate Recipe & Monoprinting Intro

When I recently posed the question about Gelli Plates there seemed to be quite a bit of interest about both the Gelli Plate and monoprinting in general.  Today I thought I'd jump in with an introduction to the Gelli Plate, monoprinting and give you a recipe for the home-made gelatin version.

Monoprinting - a single impression made on paper from glass or an equally smooth surface to which paint or ink has been applied.    

Monoprinting is nothing's been around for ages but the Gelli Plate is a revolutionary tool that is bringing monoprinting to the masses.  I'm not sure why it's taken so long  for the Gelli Plate to catch on (possibly the price) but the buzz about it seems to be growing.  This plate is such a fun, versatile way to make TONS of your very own cool papers designs for scrapbooks, cards, art journals, mixed media projects, collages and sooooo much more.

Before the Gelli Plate came out if you wanted to try your hand at monoprinting you had to plan ahead... way ahead.  You had to make your own plate out of gelatin and water... (see the recipe below) let it set up which could take hours and THEN you could play but that's only after you remember to buy the right amount of gelatin.  Of course then if you wanted to use it more than once you had to find a place in your fridge to store it until you were ready to play with it again...  I don't know about you but real estate in our fridge is always at a premium and I've never had that much space to store something as large as a gelatin plate in there for long.

How to make your own Gelatin Plate - basically it's just like making Jello Jigglers (finger jello) and they actually feel very similar (imo).     Since you can make the gelatin plate in most any baking dish or cookie sheet the actual amount of gelatin mix you'll need will vary.  I've made mine about 1/4" - 1/2" thick which takes about 6-8 cups of water in a large baking dish - larger cookie sheets will take more.

You need to mix the gelatin using the following recipe:

1 Box (4 packets) of Knox Unflavored Gelatin + 1 Cup of Very Hot Water

As I mentioned the number of cups you'll need will vary from dish/pan/cookie sheet.  I would suggest you initially fill the dish you intend to use with 1/4" - 1/2" of water, counting the cups of water as you go.  This will give you a reasonable idea on how many boxes of gelatin you'll need to buy/use.  Once you get the gelatin mixed and it has set up you're ready to play!

Now here's the kicker - to make 8 cups of gelatin it costs approximately  $10-15.00 and it's basically a throw away item unless you have a large fridge with lots of extra space.  The 8x10 Gelli Plate is approximately $25-28.00 (less if you use a coupon), is re-usable and doesn't have to be refrigerated.  Personally I don't see how you could go wrong with the Gelli Plate in the long run - again, just my opinion.

How to monoprint -  Monoprinting is really easy...whether you use a gelatin plate or Gelli Plate it's basically the same.  You add and remove paints from the monoprinting plate in various configurations.

You'll need the following supplies to get started:

Gelatin or Gelli Plate
Brayer (soft or hard roller - personal pref.)
Acrylic Paint*
Tools to add/remove Paint**

Add a small dollop of paint to the plate and roll it out in a thin even layer.

For this example I'm using stencils  over the painted plate - you don't have to fill up the space but any areas that aren't altered in some way will print as a solid color on your paper.

Place a sheet of paper over the stencils and use either your brayer or hands to smooth the paper down so the paint is picked up onto the paper through the stencils.

NOTE: My paint didn't transfer as well as some because I was fumbling around with my camera trying to take pictures with painted fingers so some areas dried more than others.  You get the general idea though.

When you remove the paper and stencils you'll be able to get a second impression of the paints left behind...this is called a ghost or reverse print.

I wanted to add more color to my original print so I applied another layer of paint to the plate and placed several masks over the plate.   I then positioned my paper over the plate and burnished with my hands.

and here's how it turned out.... 
 I love how the original textures are peeking out from the masked areas.... 

*Paints are always debated on when people get to talking about monoprints.  Let me start off by saying you are going to use a LOT of paint for this technique.  It's not that it takes so much to make a single layered print but sometimes you're going to add 2, 3 or more layers to a single monoprint.  The other factor is that you can't just stop at one...  once you begin playing you're going to want to make more and more.  It's really very addictive!

So anyway, back to the paint - some people say you have to use student or artist grade acrylics because it offers a longer open time for you to manipulate patterns in the paints.  Being the frugal artist that I am, I have always used craft grade paints that you can purchase virtually anywhere.  I feel I get just as nice prints as others do that are using the expensive paints.  So if you work quickly it's not an issue but it's up to you.

**These tools could be virtually anything that won't damage the surface of your plate.... cotton swaps, make up sponges, feathers, leaves, fabrics, masks, paint texture tools, paint combs, rubber/foam stamps, stencils, etc.   You can also make a whole host of other tools but that's another post in the near future.

Now, this post just grazes the surface of the joys of monoprinting and the thousands of different techniques you could use to approach this art form.  In the coming days I'll share some of my personal favorite techniques and my own style of monoprinting.  Hope you stop back and join me.

1 comment:

  1. I love the Gelli plate, so much fun and it is allllways right!! :-)

    But even better... I received the book you send me - Epic Rubber Band crafts.
    It looks great, the kids will be busy with he action figures. Thank you so much.
    Thank you also for the beautiful card you send with the book, I really appreciate it!! Thank you


Thanks for your thoughts and comments!