Posts Tagged ‘Gelli plate’

New Year and New Priorities

January 1, 2018

Here we are, already well into a new year, but my celebration began a few days earlier, when I got word from the editor of Art Doll Quarterly magazine that my submission was accepted for publication in their first issue of 2018! The theme for the Spring issue is the horoscope sign of Aquarius. When I saw the call for submissions, I immediately wanted to participate, as Aquarius is my star sign and I have loved the 5th Dimension song Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In since childhood.

I’ll admit I am quite intimidated by the amazing artistry showcased in Art Doll Quarterly because I am by no means a doll sculptor, not even a mediocre one! But – glimmer of hope! – they publish one “paper persona” in each issue. Paper I can do!

I covered an 8″x10″ canvas with painted paper made on a Gelli plate, then cut a silhouette from black cardstock to serve as the body of the “water bearer.” I dressed her in a gown of tracing paper that had been painted lightly to retain its translucence and then outlined everything with black ink and used charcoal to create shadows and depth. The Aquarius constellation is depicted on her watery gown in black ink and rhinestones.

aquarius small

The fine folks at Stampington did a much better job photographing her than I did, though their version is a bit paler than the original.

Mallette_ADQ0218-page-001One of my resolutions for 2018 is to submit more work for publication, and to attend more classes and art retreats. Usually I don’t have the time and/or finances for these activities, but this year I will make them a priority as they bring me the most joy. Life’s short and time stops for no one, so why not make the most of it?

Is This Meta?

June 17, 2017

So I’ve been wanting a sewing machine cover for a very long time. Dude asked me, “Why, is your sewing machine too dusty?” I told him I’d read that dust is fatal to sewing machines, so it was, of course, a purely practical desire. Secretly, though, I wanted to make something for my studio that would be unique, colorful and awesome, and because I already have too many impractical things stuffed in there, a sewing machine cover seemed like the perfect project.

Also, it will keep the dust off.

sewing cover front

(I had to take photos on the front porch because it’s too dark in the studio and my outdoor photo booth isn’t big enough!)

The idea was planted a couple of months ago, when I watched a video about using a Gelli plate to print on muslin. The ultimate project in the video was a book cover, but I got to thinking, why couldn’t I make any fabric item I wanted to with Gelli prints?

sewing cover back

After spending a couple of hours happily Gelli printing a yard of muslin, I used several different rubber stamps to add more detail to the designs. I had measured my sewing machine and added an inch on each side for good measure; this came to 11″ wide, 13″ high and 17″ long. (This allowed space to keep the thread spool on the top, as I didn’t want to keep removing and replacing it.) Using those measurements, I cut five panels from Pellon fusible Flex Foam interfacing; this stuff is great for making sturdy fabric items that will hold their shape.

sewing cover front 1

The printed muslin was torn into smaller “patches” and ironed onto the Flex Foam, then I sewed various decorative stitches along the edges of each patch. Because I love hearts, I also used leftover printed muslin to create layered heart patches to sew on at random spots.

Black and white fabric with a tiny flower design was cut into one-inch strips, wrapped and stitched around the edge of each Flex Foam panel, then the panels were sewn together to form the cover. It fits perfectly, pops right off when I need to use the machine, adds a fun splash of color to my sewing area, and, the best part: it’s unique!

sewing cover back 2

So, is it meta that I used the sewing machine to make a cover for the sewing machine?

Gelli Cats

May 14, 2015

In the Jan/Feb issue of Somerset Studio, there’s an article by Melissa Johnson explaining how she’d made a piece called “Jeweled Elephant.” You can see most of it here by clicking on the table of contents image near the bottom of the page.

I was so intrigued by the process that I wanted to try it right away. Some of the prettiest papers I have are those made with the Gelli Plate; I have a giant stack of them made on deli paper. I chose three of my favorites and glued them down to 7″x8″ pieces of manila file folders with Mod Podge.

Elephants are nice, but I’m a cat person, so I chose a silhouette of a cat from Google image search, traced around it on another piece of manila file folder, then cut it out and used it as a mask.

gelli cat 1

After brushing acrylic paint all over the folder, I removed the mask to reveal…a Gelli cat!

gelli cat 2

I added more color to each piece by applying and smearing Gelatos with my finger (actually, Gel Sticks, which are the “kids” version of Gelatos; I can discern no difference between them except the price). The deli paper crinkles and wrinkles nicely, which makes it easy to add texture. A few dots of acrylic paint at the bottom, swirls with a gel pen and stamped words completed each piece.

gelli cat 3

These were still a little curvy when I photographed them; a few hours under some heavy books flattened them nicely. They’re the perfect size to add to my art journal.

These were fun and fast experiments – all three took less than an hour total before the stamped words were added – and I’m quite happy to have this great technique in my repertoire!


May 6, 2014

It’s been a long time since I made something for myself and I’ve been at loose ends the last few days, so I decided to make a smash book for next year.  (Dude says, “It’s a little early, isn’t it?”  Well, yeah, but I might be too busy later.)

I usually purchase a yearly desk calendar to use as a smash book (this year it’s a wire-bound beauty from Papaya), but it occurred to me that it would be even more special and meaningful if I made my own.  I started by shopping my gigantic stash of 12″ papers.  I only needed 26 (to make 52 weekly spreads), but decided to use 28 so there would be room for an intro and an epilogue.

bingo book pages

Lots of pink, green, aqua, florals, hearts and dots!  I don’t know why the dots; they just happened to appeal to me at the time.

While looking for a suitable cover, I came across a padded wedding guest book that I’d found at a thrift store awhile back. Turned on its side, it was the perfect size to hold 6″ wide pages.  I cut the papers down to 8-1/2″ tall and folded them in half. This part always takes a little while!

About a week ago, I had run across some inexpensive muslin in my stash and got the brilliant idea to see how fabric worked with my Gelli plate.  I made eight pieces and they turned out beautifully! The printed muslin was wrapped around the guest book covers and glued with Fabri-Tac. This print, which I used for the back cover of the book, was made using big bubble wrap.  (I LOVE bubble wrap for Gelli prints!)

bingo book back

The front cover was made by rolling paint onto the Gelli plate and blending the colors slightly; I didn’t use any mark-making tools to inscribe it.  Because it was so “plain,” I added a piece of deli wrap paper that had been printed with small bubble wrap as the background for a pretty Bingo card printout.

bingo book front

Naturally there had to be a butterfly, too.  And bling!

It took about an hour to do the hole-punching of papers and sewing of the book, as there were 14 separate signatures.  I folded 14 narrow sheets to use as inserts that fatten the spine, ensuring that the book won’t become fan-shaped as I add ephemera to it throughout the year.

bingo book spine

But just in case the book does become super-fat (it’s already pretty thick!), I added a ribbon closure so I can tie it shut (or at least try).  The pages weren’t quite as wide as the covers, so I used green floral washi tape to line the inside edges.

bingo book tied


Now the hard part: waiting seven months before I can use it!  🙂

Gelli Every Month!

March 25, 2014

So my bestest gal pal, Terri, and I have a long-standing tradition of creating artistic calendars for our personal use.  Each of us creates two calendar pages for each of six (alternating) months, changing out the months on alternate years.  This year I’m responsible for February, April, June, August, October and December.  Rather than, say, making them all ahead of time (I actually used to do this, honest!), I almost always end up making them at the last minute.

Ever since learning to use the Gelli Plate, I’ve been looking for projects in which to use the resulting (piles and piles of) prints.  Naturally the calendar pages sprang to mind!  For April, I managed to use one each of every kind of print made during the learning process: deli paper, kraft paper, book page and manila tag.  This is an homage to the Gelli plate!

april 2014

I was still in the “Gelli” mood when it was time to do June’s pages, but this time instead of using existing prints, I made some in colors and patterns specifically to use with the fun, beachy image.

june 2014


(The actual pages are not this color; I was wearing a hot pink T-shirt when I took the photos and the reflection of it gave them a pinkish tint.)

Hooray for spring, hooray for summer and hooray for Gelli!  Time to go make more prints, ’cause they haven’t quite piled up to the ceiling yet!

Hooked on Gelli

March 11, 2014

So my gal pal Terri finally talked me into a getting a Gelli plate.  We’d been considering them for awhile, but they’re a little costly, and we had agreed that blindly following the latest trends didn’t always work out so well for us.  (A testament to this is my large collection of gee-gaws and gadgets from past retreats and conventions that I went crazy for when demonstrated and are now gathering dust!)

Terri was the first to cave in, and thank goodness – she loves her new Gelli plate.  She talked me into getting one, too (granted, it didn’t take much arm-twisting: see above about my going crazy for the latest gee-gaws and gadgets).  We had an “art day” at her place a couple weeks ago and made dozens of fabulous prints with our plates.  I have since made at least a hundred more!  (I should mention it’s a bit addicting.)

gelli plate

My favorite surface to print on is deli wrap paper, and Terri very generously let me keep the rest of the box we’d been using while I learned to print.  Deli paper is large, fairly transparent (which makes it easy to tell when you’ve got a great print) and so versatile.  I love finding new ways to make marks in the paint for unique and colorful prints.  It’s always exciting to see what you get!

bubble wrap 1

Bubble wrap!  Isn’t this fabulous?  So unusual and organic.  It reminds me of something you’d find in the sea.

bubble wrap big

This is the result of pressing the bubble wrap onto a clean sheet after using it to mark the plate.  I love this look, too!  There are lots of colors because I didn’t clean my plate in between rollings, so dregs of paint from the previous batch were pulled up at the same time.

rubber ball 1

The marks on this sheet were made by rolling around a small ball (thank you for letting me steal your toy, kittehs!) that had been wrapped in a few rubber bands.

rubber ball 2If you leave a plain sheet next to your work surface, you can roll the rubber-band ball onto it to clean off the paint and make yet another interesting background.  (The colors behind the marks are from another printed sheet that is glued to the back of it.)

bubble wrap 2This is large bubble wrap plus rubber-band ball.

bubble wrap smallAnd small bubble wrap!

So, what to do with all those printed papers?  I needed to figure out something before they reached the ceiling.  I checked around a little and found a blogger who said they had glued the papers together back to back and used them as journal pages.  What a great idea!  I happened to have a set of 5″x7″ canvas book covers from the clearance aisle at Michael’s that were just the right size for a photo album.  Once the pages were glued together and cut, I sewed around the edges to make sure they didn’t separate and to add some texture and interest.  I also adhered printed deli paper to the canvas covers.  I didn’t think glue stick would work that well, so I glued the paper on with gel medium.  It took some time to dry, but it worked perfectly!

photo album

The heart was made from leftover scraps of patterned paper cut into squares, with “stitching” added with a black pen.  Though you can’t tell from the photo, the heart is mounted on foam tape to add dimension and pop it off the bubble-wrap printed background.

I had some small pieces left over from cutting out the pages for the album that were the perfect size for an ATC (Artist Trading Card).  So, on to my next project!  I will definitely be making more of these.

gelli atcI have big plans for a few more of the deli papers.  Recently Michael’s had a sale on photo boxes, which I like to use for studio storage.  They didn’t have any patterned ones that I especially liked, so I purchased several of the plain white ones.  I think the Gelli prints will look amazing on them; bonus: they’re thin enough to cover a box without causing issues with the lid fitting properly.  After that, I’ll need to come up with even more ideas, because my stack of prints is getting dangerously near the ceiling, and I make at least a dozen more of them per day!

Many thanks to Terri for encouraging me to try the Gelli Plate.  This is one “trendy” gee-gaw that was well worth the investment!