Watch Your Back!

In my last blog post I talked about using different media to add color to Gelli® prints that aren’t quite “there yet”.

What I didn’t mention is that there’s “another side” to the story. Literally!

Back of overdyed Gelli® Print

On a number of prints, where the print surface was saturated with dye, the color seeped right through the paper to the back. And the acrylic paint from the original Gelli® print created a resist! Talk about a cool effect!!!

Just like when you’re working with fabric — sometimes the wrong side feels more “right”. You may discover the back of an overdyed print is quite wonderful. Don’t be surprised if at times you prefer the subtle, blurry, watercolor look.

The incidental images on the back of my spray-dyed prints inspire me to keep exploring! I’m hooked on this process 🙂

Following the same basic steps from my previous blog post, I applied additional color to Gelli® prints and blotted or wiped it off with a damp paper towel.

To keep things simple, this time I only used Adirondack Color Wash Spray to overdye the prints.

Here’s what I learned in the process…

1. Gelli® prints created with a heavier application of paint — using stencils, masks, and drawn or blocked out images — often create more dynamic reverse-side prints.

In other words, you want to be sure there’s enough paint and pattern on your print to create an interesting resist 🙂

Gelli® print created with stencils as masks, then overdyed.

2. Thinner paper works better. I was especially pleased with many of the reverse-side prints created on plain computer paper.

3. Dampening the gel print with water BEFORE adding the spray dye helps the colors blend together and absorb all the way through the paper.

Back of damp print

TIP: When the front of the print is saturated with water, flip it over and look at the back (or hold the print up to a light source). You’ll see where the added dye is going to seep through on the back.

 4. Wet, saturated prints will buckle as they dry.

So, you might want to iron the prints flat once they’re dry. It’s important to cover the print with parchment paper or a press cloth to protect your iron! (I use a piece of muslin)

5. This is an intuitive process. On some prints, I add water to the front and back to encourage the colors to spread. You can’t always predict how the colors will react — so experiment!

6. And if you’re like me and can’t decide which side to use — scan both sides! Then use the images in art journals, collage, ATC’s, and any paper, mixed media or digital art project! Perfect!

And the best lesson of all? Spraying dye onto Gelli® prints is a crazy-fun process!!!

In fact, we at Gelli Arts are having such a good time with this easy technique, we want to give one of our readers the chance to win a set of six Adirondack Color Wash Sprays to play with!!!

Just leave a comment on this blog and you’ll be entered to win the Adirondack Color Wash giveaway!

The winner will be selected by a random drawing on Friday May 11th. Nancy will announce the lucky winner here and on our Facebook page. Good luck!

I hope you’ll find some inspiration in this slideshow! And thanks for watching my backs!!!

Accompanying music – Sonatina in C Minor by Kevin MacLeod

64 thoughts on “Watch Your Back!”

  1. I'm getting so many great ideas from your blog. THANK YOU! My Gelli is on order can't wait for it to get here.

  2. Gerrie Johnnic

    These Andirondak sprays sound like yet another way to play the day away! These prints are so beautiful, need to get in there and play away.

  3. Wow what great effects, I get such great ideas from your blog, I hope I am in for a chance to win so I can give this a try too! Thanks for posting this, keep up the ideas please!

  4. Just got my Gellis–and wow, are you fast! Now to find some time to play. Love the blog–lots of inspiring ideas, especially for those of us new to printing!

  5. Ingrid Vient

    I'm doing the Gelli happy dance now that I got my order yesterday. I'm going to be doing a demo with it for my art group tonight.

  6. What a great tip, i agree sometimes the backs are better than the fronts. Can't wait to try sprays on some of my prints.

  7. I am just in the beginning of the Gelli play and get so much inspiration from your blog!Should love to try the inks!
    Gunilla in Sweden

  8. Gosh, I never thought about using them with the Gelli plates. Wow! Thanks for the giveaway. Lynda – happyacres at

  9. Cool effects. I got my Gelli-plate a few days ago but haven't had time to try it yet(a certain new puppy is taking up all my time!). The color wash sprays would be great to play with.

  10. Eve Bowar Brown

    I just discovered this page and want to try the Adirondack Color Wash – a subtle layer of color.

  11. I just received my Gelliarts printing plate! I can't wait to use it! These are very cool pages! Thank you!!!

    1. Congrats Brian!! You are the lucky winner of the Adirondack Sprays!! I'll send an email to you via your blog (which is fabulous). Congrats – hope we get to see some of your work on our facebook page!

  12. I love this, thanks for sharing. It is amazing how paint and Gelli prints can get you hooked. Maybe I will try this? or I wonder what will happen if I do this? So cool and fun!!! What else would you want to play with.

  13. Great technique – I can't wait to give it a try. I really like the print with the turquoise background. Lovely color combination!

  14. Patricia Gelinas

    I have needed something artsy to get me out of the winter blahs this maybe very well be it. I am taking a class tomorrow and am ver excited to be playing once again…

  15. Oh, what a sweet giveaway ! So many fun toys ! Thank you for the chance to win and have more play things that work so well with the Gelli.
    Cheers !

  16. Michele/TextileTraveler

    I had other plans for this morning, but now I have to go get the Gelli plates out!

  17. I have to have a Gelli plate!!! You make it look so easy to use. What a great way to create back grounds. Love all the great colors in the samples.

  18. I love making my own backgrounds so I must get myself some gelliplates, the technique looks so cool and the results are just awesome.
    great colours too

  19. MarveLes Art Studios

    I've never tried these, but I would love to! You guys make such gorgeous prints. Love the results. Thanks for the give-a-way chance!!

  20. Beautiful prints, as always! I would love to win the colorwash sprays, they're fun to play with!

  21. I'm longing to play with these amazingly fun and creative techniques – do you have a stocking of gelliplates in the UK yet?

  22. I was given a gelli plate as a gift but have not had time to play with it yet. I would love to win these and experiment with your techniques.

  23. The colorwash sprays give beautiful results! I have never used them before! I have only used cardstock to print with my Gelli plate, so "the other side" is an interesting concept I will have to try!

    Also, I never thought about scanning my prints! Thanks for all the ideas!

  24. I just received my Gelli plate in the mail yesterday! Can't WAIT to start experimenting and I'd love to win the sprays. Silly me, I thought it came with the brayer but, luckily, I already have one!

  25. I'd love to win the Ranger Adirondack Color Wash set! Great samples. And very cool you combined one with digital accents. The colors are so vibrant. I love my Gelli!

  26. This is amazing! I'd so love to win the Color Wash set to try out on the Gellis that I don't have yet but plan to get soon.

  27. Ooo. What an amazing prize. The color washes are one Ranger product that I have not had a chance to play with…so winning some would be great…then I'd have to buy some Gelli plates to use with them! Very interested in your plates…I found your blog via the Ranger Ink facebook page. Definately going to check out your products!

  28. Beautiful! I've had this experience where I have loved the back more than the front. It's nice to know others find it just as great!

  29. As the weather warms and I can take my printing outside, I have been looking for ideas. Presto! You have awoken the creative juices! Thanks so much for the video (and past videos) and the chance to try out some inks. Your gelli plates are so much fun.

  30. Hope I'm not too late to enter! I'm a big GELLI fan, and teach workshops locally on GELLI Plate Monoprinting.

  31. I love Colorwash sprays and I bet Dyan's new colors from Ranger would be just faboo! Thanks for the kick in the pants to get up from the computer and spray some color around!


  32. Anne-Mette Larsen

    I bougt a Gelliplate about a month ago and I LOVE playing with it… so far I've only used acrylics but it could be so much fun to take it a step further with color wash

  33. I am just blown away by the effects you are getting with these sprays and the Gelli Plate. I have something new for my wishlist now! Thanks for the tutorials!

  34. Ooooo, pick me! I'd love to win these sprays. I just got a Gelli plate and I'm anxious to play.

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