Gelli Arts® Printing with Styrofoam Plates

Here’s a great way to repurpose styrofoam plates to use in monoprinting! Watch this video for ideas on how to make your own unique reusable designs for gel printing!

It’s fun turning styrofoam plates into reusable texture plates with your own designs! They’re perfect for creating texture plates — especially for the small Gelli® plate sizes!

Here’s how:

Place a styrofoam plate on a cutting surface and using an X-acto knife, cut some slivers or shapes from the plate. Remove them to create a few holes or empty spaces. The plate works essentially like a stencil.

If you have a screw punch, you can use it to make some holes in the foam plate. Always do this on a cutting mat.

One of the advantages of using styrofoam plates is that aside from being easy to cut, you can inscribe marks into it that will show in your print.

To inscribe marks, turn the plate upside-down. With a ballpoint pen or sharp pencil, draw marks into the bottom of the cut plate to create additional design elements. Make small holes by pushing the tip into the styrofoam. When your design is finished, you have a unique printing plate that’s ready to use over and over.

TIP: It’s a good idea to support your plate while you inscribe the bottom. To do this, invert another styrofoam plate (the same size) and place your cut plate over it. This creates a sturdy support and makes it easy to inscribe marks in the cut sections of your plate.

Here’s how to print with your styrofoam plate:

Apply paint to the Gelli® plate and place your styrofoam plate on the wet paint. Place a piece of embossed paper or other texture over the plate and press the foam plate into the wet paint. Remove and cover with your printing paper. Rub to transfer the paint, and pull your print. 

While the styrofoam plate has wet paint on it, apply a different color paint to the Gelli® plate, then press the foam plate into the gel plate. This will give you a multi-color print. 

So keep those styrofoam plates and trays and make a collection of your own designs! They’re easy to stack and store — and loads of fun to print with!


This Contest is officially CLOSED

 And we have a fabulous GIVEAWAY!

We are doing things a little differently this month for the giveaway!

Leave us a comment below and let us know your thoughts on the blog  – we love hearing your feedback. 

To enter the giveaway,  click on the red “ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE” button below! 

(This will ensure that we can contact the winner and that entries are limited to one per person. One winner will be selected from all the entries via a random number generator to receive this fabulous giveaway!)

Entries will be accepted until Tuesday, August 19th at 12pm EST. Our lucky winner will be contacted by email and announced here on the blog and on our Facebook page no later than 5pm EST on Tuesday August 19th!


This Contest is officially CLOSED

And a special thanks to our friends at Chroma for donating the wonderful paints for this giveaway!

Good Luck and Happy Printing!

207 thoughts on “Gelli Arts® Printing with Styrofoam Plates”

  1. Hi..hope all is well where u are 😆 ok firstly wanted to say how wonderful and creative this media is. I've seen quite a bit about these gel plates and was a lil confused by it all 😅 takes time for somethings to soak into this ol girls brain matter 😆
    Watching these videos has certainly helped..thanku.
    One thing still fascinates me and that's how the printed magazine pages come off into the project paper. I understand..kind of..the technique of printing but does it come off due to the stickiness of the gel pad or are they photocopied pages of prints that enable the image to be transfered? I imagine your using regular acrylic paints and nothing that is a special printing ink that somehow helps to break down the pigment in the magazine pages u use? Sorry to sound so stupid haha but if u don't ask you.ll never know right. Just amazes me how u can lay down a gorgeous image on the gel plate and press down with your hands and copy a image onto your chosen very cool and so beautiful. Thanks again
    Kaz from Oz 😃

    1. It is to do with the magazine print itself. The higher quality magazines have slightly raised print and leave an indentation on the gel plate. I have pulled magazine prints, using cheap acrylic paint, and I was happy with them. I also “coloured” in the magazine resist (transfer) with cheap make up then went over the top with another layer of paint and pulled a print. It is heaps of fun to experiment with.

  2. Ps..the Styrofoam plates idea is brilliant. So tired of cutting mine from old x-ray sheets 😅 U live and learn 😊

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