Gel Plate

The Gel Plate is a new printing plate with a super sensitive surface to capture fine textures in paint or ink.

Here are some printing tips (as per the instructions):

  • This Gel Plate is 15 cm x 15 cm and although acrylic paint is recommended, oil paint or fabric paint and some water soluble inks can be used.
  • Dyes can stain the plate and so are not recommended.
  • Ideas for how to create texture are endless, eg foam stamps, stencils, bubble wrap, leaves, feathers.
  • Sharp objects are not recommended as they can damage the plate.
  • Do not use glossy paper as it can stick to the plate.

Cleaning the Plate:

  • Acrylic paint: use mild soapy water and pat with a clean paper towel.
  • Oil paint: wipe with baby oil then wash with mild soapy water and pat with a clean paper towel.
  • Baby wipes may also be used (hooray!) and pat with a clean paper towel.
  • For tough stains use baby oil.

It was given a thorough test with a small group of grade 7 students who have just completed a printing project. They used acrylic paints and a variety of materials to create designs. Some of the materials they used are:

They also needed:

The Printing Process

The students watched a teacher demo and then began blending colours.

They used paper circles, leaves and designs to prepare their gel plate for printing.

After placing the paper on top and rolling gently with a clean brayer, students pulled the paper from the gel plate.

They were impressed with the results.

These students have learned a great deal about printing over the last few weeks. They have explored simple mono printing and more complex lino printing. Their willingness to enjoy the process and accept an inevitable variety of prints, has developed well. They are able to design and print quite independently and were excited to try the gel plates. Their reactions were positive and included:

“This is so fun.”

“Where can I buy these?”

“We can do what we want with this.”

“I love blending the colours.”

Mistakes still happen and are a valuable part of the learning process. The beautiful orange and green this student had planned, turned to brown when he blended to much.

Any type of printing can be messy but it is easily cleaned up.

The options for the Gel Plate are endless. Next lesson we will try layering over the dried prints.

This print made the artist very happy!

Give the Gel Plate a try and you may be just as addicted to Gel Press Printing as this art teacher!

Written by Chris, a teacher in Pembina Trails School Division.

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