Printing WORDS With Gelli Arts®!

Maybe you’d like to include words in a Gelli® print? Watch this video and see how to do it!

Words can add meaningful visual interest to your prints. Especially on art journal pages!

But here’s the tricky part… words and letters written or stamped in paint on a Gelli® plate will print in reverse! 

So, unless you’re proficient at mirror-image writing — OR, you’re willing to stick with X’s and O’s … and a few other letters with vertical bilateral symmetry 😉 — you’ll probably find the following step by step ideas helpful! 

Below are two easy techniques for making your gel-printed words reader-friendly! These are subtractive methods — meaning paint will be removed to create the letters.


Technique #1 — Just follow these easy steps!

Step 1

Write a word (or words) on a piece of tracing paper with a Sharpie or other marker. You want BOLD writing!

TIP:  You can also add some guidelines for your print composition! They’re especially helpful when you print multiple layers.

Step 2

Flip the tracing paper over — so the writing appears backwards. Tape your tracing paper in place to your work surface.

Step 3

Place your Gelli® plate on a clear protective substrate — such as Mylar, acetate, Plexiglass, DURA-LAR, glass, etc. (I’m using DURA-LAR for this demo)

TIP:  Roll a clean brayer over the plate to squeeze out air bubbles. 

Gelli® Plate on piece of DURA-LAR

Step 4

Place the clear substrate on top of the tracing paper and position your Gelli® plate over the writing. Tape in place.

TIP:  If you want your writing skewed to one side of the print, remember to place your Gelli® plate over the writing on the OPPOSITE side from where you want the writing to appear on the print. This compensates for the left/right reversal in the printing process!

Step 5

Apply a thin layer of paint onto the gel plate with a brayer. Avoid opaque paints, as you want to be able to see your lettering under the plate 🙂

Golden Open Acrylics Used in this Demo

Step 6

Trace over the lines using a cotton swab. It can help if the swab is slightly dampened with a drop of water first. 

**The writing in the paint will be backwards (mirror-image).

Step 7

Use various texture tools in the wet paint to add another level of interest to your print.

Step 8

Cover the painted plate with your paper. 

Rub gently to transfer the paint … then remove paper to pull your print.

TIP: This technique will work best with fairly transparent and slow drying paint … to allow time for tracing. Golden Open Acrylics are ideal for this! Or add Golden Open Medium or Acrylic Glaze to your regular acrylic paint to increase its working time while adding transparency.

Step 9 – Fun and Final Step!

Add a second gel- printed layer using transparent pigments — to create wonderful mixed colors on your print!

Technique #2 – Three Easy Steps 

for Including Words in your Gelli® print!

Use cut out letters! Ideally, with some dimension. 

This can include hand-cut letters, die-cuts, craft foam letters, and chipboard letters. Self-adhesive alphabets are available at art and craft stores — and they’re great for this technique!

Step 1

Arrange the letters and adhere them to the substrate of your choice — to create a lettered printing plate. Adhering letters to craft foam gives you a flexible and reusable stamp for gel printing your favorite words! 

Tip: Do not reverse the letters. Your placement should be right-reading.

Step 2

Press the lettered plate into the painted Gelli® plate — and remove. The letters will remove paint and leave a mirror-image impression on the Gelli® plate.

Step 3

Cover the painted Gelli® plate with paper, rub — and pull your print. So easy!

Have fun putting words in your Gelli® prints!


Our Giveaway Prize Kit will get you started putting words in your Gelli® prints!

Our GOLDEN GELLI® Giveaway Includes: 

The three 8 oz. jars of Golden Open Acrylics included in this prize are:  

            • Quinacridone Magenta
            • Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold
            • Manganese Blue Hue

To enter to win, just leave a comment here on the blog — or on our Facebook page! Share this blog post on your Facebook page, blog, Pinterest or Twitter … and we will enter your name twice! Just let us know 🙂

One lucky winner will be chosen by random selection on Tuesday, July 23rd!! We will announce the winner here and on the Gelli Arts® Facebook page!

Special thanks to our friends at Golden Artist Colors for supplying the generous 8 oz. jars of Open Acrylics for this Giveaway! Our winner is getting a GIANT haul of premium paint!!! 🙂 Talk about LUCKY!!!

Good Luck and Happy Printing!

500 thoughts on “Printing WORDS With Gelli Arts®!”

  1. what great ideas!!! I just bought a gelli plate and haven't even taken it out of the package but I sure could use some paints!!! and I will share it on FB too!

  2. Joanna Grant Art

    What a wonderful chance to win, thank you so much! And I love the tutorial on reverse lettering, that will add so much to our Gelli print possibilities!! I am also posting this blog link on Facebook. Cheers! Joanna Grant email:


    What a great giveaway! Would love to win it. I've been telling all my arty friends about your gelli plate and how much fun it is!

  4. Great,helpful hints-can't wait to try them-oh wait, I need to win first so I have all the supplies-my collection is lacking several things necessary to do this technique!

  5. I would love to win too, but since I'm never drawn (bad luck apparently!) I wanted to thank you for posting this video and teaching me how to add words on my Gelli plate. I love playing with my Gelli and have gotten my best friend hooked too! I've posted this video on my Pinterest so I can share it with her ^_^

  6. So cool tecnique… I would like to try :-)Thanks for this prize 🙂 I shared on facebook and twitter

  7. I love Golden and I love Gelli! What an awesome marriage!! I love that I don't have to mix my own gelatin any more. The tutorials are awesome & make process of putting the layers on layers on layers achievable for anyone. The videos always make me want to pull out my art supplies right away and start creating.

  8. Lorrie Grainger Abdo

    I have a larger gelli and love it. So I'm coveting the smaller plate (lots of possibilities) and the paints. So much nicer to work with good paints! Keep up all the FB tutorial posts. They make me want to get back to another gelli session!

  9. I gelli about two times a week. Can't wait to try this technique. I have done almost every one from the youtube channel, but this one is awesome!

  10. The Gelli Plate is a marvel. I have used mine non-stop and the creativity it affords is boundless! Truly the best thing since sliced bread, especially since I'm still discovering my creative talents. Thank you for this video, I am truly inspired!

  11. Coming Abstractions

    Wonderful tutorial — I've been wondering how to print words and can't wait to give these tips a try. I'd love to win the package with the Open Golden paints, and look forward to seeing more tips and videos by you Gelli-Geniuses!!!

  12. Magnificently smashing! You never fail to surprise me with those great ideas! Thank you so much for the chance to win. Shared on FB. Suzanne x

  13. I watched it on YouTube close after it was uploaded. It seems a great technique. So clever. And looks so much fun! Really would like to win this great prize. Every time I want to order it, it's sold out. Gelli plate is so popular!
    I'll share this on both Facebook and Pinterest.

    Xx Monica

  14. Would so love to win – all these ideas keep me up at night and I would LOVE the opportunity to start playing with a new Gelli plate!

  15. I love all your posts, such great ideas for using the Gelli plate! Pick me, pick me!! I want to try it!

  16. Loved the tutorial. Great pace. Can't stand super slow tutorials. One quick question. For substrate could I use my glass matt that I use for cutting?

  17. What a very cool idea with the chipboard letters and foam, I just love how they turned out on the gelli plate 🙂

  18. Janelle Atencio

    I would love to try this and would love to win this! Posting to Twitter and Pinterest. Thanks!!

  19. Cozy Crop House

    I love this post! Great ways to add words with your Gelli printing!
    Thanks for the chance to win.

  20. One Creative Queen

    This was fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing it! I would keep a new Gelli for me…my daughter has literally killed mine.

  21. This giveaway is so exciting!!! I have only been able to make gelli plates to use at home because your gelli plates are not sold in our local art stores. But I watch your facebook page and follow your blog and I use these techniques to teach Art in our Homeschool to my children. We are a crafty family keeping art journals and doing mixed media. Also the paints you offer are like "gold" and I would just die to have them all at once!! :)) Love this giveaway!!!

  22. Win Dinn, Artist

    Love my Gelli plate, love this video, and love it that I'm so lucky! Must be my name….

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