Adventures with Gel Plates by Sherrill Willis & Terri Gifford

Hi, everyone! Today I have a special guest, my friend Terri Gifford is joining my blog today to help show the many uses and techniques of using a Gel Plate. As I’m a beginner with this, I thought it would be helpful to have Terri, who has decades more experience than I do, join me to go beyond the basics. So I’ll start at the very beginning, which is a very good place to start.
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I used a clear cutting pad from my Big Shot as a base for my gel plate just to stabilise it, and I may have been a bit overconfident (just a tad) of my abilities, as shown in the next picture:
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Full disclosure: I absolutely did not use all the above items. But oh I wanted to and gave it my best! For me, I had to get over my initial hesitancy, aka fear, of using it. So after much procrastination, and some gentle prodding from Terri (how’s it going? Any questions? – thank you again, Terri, for all your help!), I gathered up my courage and decided to go with some acrylic paint first. I put the three paints on, white, black & coral, then brayered over them, laid my paper over the top, smushed & smoothed the paper into the plate, and did my first “pull.” I got mud. It was a little like the Goldilocks story, I used too little, then too much, before I got it just right:
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Too Little! Too Much!
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Almost just right, still a bit too much, but now I was getting the hang of it. So my advice for anyone just trying it out, is cut up a bunch of paper (I used Cold press watercolour paper, just FYI), get out whatever mediums you want to play with, then practice with the least expensive/whatever you have the most of until you get the hang of it, then get out your good Starlight paints, distress sprays, etc. I did a bunch of backgrounds, some I’m very happy with, others…well, I didn’t throw them away because even the not so good ones are there to show my progress:
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So while I can’t show you cool techniques, I hope I showed that even mud making is a step forward. Using the brayer and having a piece of paper to roll off excess is a must (thank you, Leonie!), so do make sure you have that next to your gel plate. That, my friends, is the extent of my knowledge about how to use a gel plate. So here’s Terri to show you the really fun stuff!
Hi all, Terri here, and this is my first ever blog post… eek. Sherrill has asked me to team up with her to have some fun with our Gelli plates. So, if you’ve always been curious or would like to see someone else’s perspective… here we go.
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There are many sizes and shapes of Gelli plates, here are just a few of them. I also like to use a mount with my plates. I have a 4 and 6” mount and use one of my cutting plates from my die cutting machine with my large gelli plate.
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I like to use a variety of stencils, printing plates (these are from Carabelle) texture plates and various tools to add designs, marks and drawings on the Gelli plates.  I also always have a few brayers with me.
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You can use many different mediums on you Gelli plates, from paints (acrylic or watercolour), inks, sprays, crayons (distress, gelato, etc.)  Today, I am using a variety of acrylic paints. I have used Indigoblu, EcoGreen (great deal from Craft Price Drop), Pebeo (mostly for neutrals) and a few great bargain paints from Aldi and Home Bargains.
Now that we know what to use…Lets get stuck in…
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Today I am going to work on one card but include multiple gelli prints. I have selected a coral and tourquoise for our first round of prints. I am also using a die cut from Creative Expressions.  From this die and colours I am hoping to get 4 options to use:
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I start by brayering the two colours onto my gelli plate. Before I print onto watercolour paper, I add the die cut in the center of my plate. I also use a single sheet to clean my brayer off with these colours (this will come in use in a few steps…)
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I pull my first print. By placing my sheet of watercolour paper on the gelli plate I use my hand to rub evenly all over to insure I get a good print.
After removing my 1st sheet, I use tweezers or a pokey tool to carefully remove the die cut.
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After the die cut is removed, I wait…and wait…and wait…until the remaining paint is dry, even if it is not that visible, I still wait for it to dry completely. Usually at least 5 minutes to be sure. Once I am sure it is completely dry, I add another layer of a neutral…or colour of your choice, but here I used a linen colour and put a complete layer on the gelli plate. Once it was brayered out, I pulled another print.
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Here are the results from the initial print. I have one print with the die whited out, the die cut painted, a neutral print from the left over paint and my waste paper that I cleaned my brayer with.
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Now, time for another background. For this background we have to first pull a print in another colour…I have brayered copper as a single colour on my gelli plate. Before printing, I imprint my Carabelle Studios art printing plate. I then print. As you can see when there is still paint from other prints it is transferred to this print, it makes a beautiful background.
And after, again I wait…and wait…and wait…the paint needs to be completely dry again.
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Once the paint is completely dry, I brayer a layer of pool paint and again print onto a piece of watercolour paper.
I did take much better pictures of these past couple steps…however, I am not sure what happened to them, but I think the pictures here show the process.
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Now, lets use our waste paper…I have used the waste to cut out a couple dragonflies and a butterfly from the same die set used earlier…
So…what do we do with all these beautiful techniques we’ve just done…well…we make a card.
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I had a good play session…here are a few more of the backgrounds I made…
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I hope you enjoyed this process…I know I did…and I’d like to thank Sherrill for inviting me to participate. If you have any questions or comments please leave them below and I will respond as soon as possible.
Thank you, Terri Gifford
Thanks, Terri, I’m so glad you agreed to join me on this blog today, because no way could I have done all that myself! I appreciate everyone reading and commenting, and I do hope you will all take a moment to let Terri know how much you liked what she did (I keep telling her she’s great, but does she believe me?) and thank you all so much for spending some time with us. I hope this will help anyone who may have been a little hesitant to use the Gel Plate, and we’d love to see your makes, so be sure to post them in a comment below. Have a great one, and happy crafting!

5 thoughts on “Adventures with Gel Plates by Sherrill Willis & Terri Gifford

  1. Thank you Sherrill & Terri. . .brilliant blog. I have recently got my first gel plate – just a small one – to test the water so to speak. Your contribution Terri is very informative :), I’m looking forward to having a go 🙂 xx

  2. I’ve seen Leonie using gel plates, now Sherrill and Terri the results are beautiful, I won’t however be tempted “yet” but who knows. Thank you Sherrill and Terri for this blog I found it interesting and informative.

  3. This is really helpful and inspirational. I bought my Gelli plate and was raring to go and then my Mum died. I lost my crafting mojo and although I’m doing other paper crafts I haven’t opened my gelli plate, I’ll give it a try

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