Gelli Arts® Printing: Dark Over Light

Apply layers of light paint with a DIY sponge dauber, let it dry—then brayer dark paint over it and pull your print. Watch this Gelli® video to see it demonstrated step-by-step!

There are many possible variations using this technique. This time, we’ll apply the paint from light to dark to produce interesting print effects.

To start, let’s make a sponge dauber using a round cosmetic sponge and masking tape. To do this, simply gather the edges of the sponge together, forming a ball of sorts. Wrap the gathered edges in masking tape, which forms the dauber and serves as a convenient handle.

The paints used in this video are DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylic paints, and DecoArt Dazzling Metallics. They’re wonderful for this technique!

The key is to allow the painted image to dry on the plate. This technique is perfect for using thin applications of fast-drying acrylics! If you like to take time to develop an image on your plate and have been frustrated with fast drying paint… give this technique a try!

Here’s how:

  1. Apply light colors to your Gelli® plate with a sponge dauber.
    • Leave areas of the gel plate unpainted.
    • Add focal points and patterns by dabbing paint through stencils
  2. Allow paint to dry thoroughly.
  3. Load your brayer with a dark color and roll it over the dry paint on your Gelli® plate.
  4. Quickly cover with your printing paper, rub to transfer the paint — and slowly pull your print. This should pull up just about all of the paint on the plate.

This is a simple technique, but here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Use fast-drying acrylic paints.
  • Avoid any blobs or thick applications of paint since they take a while to dry.
  • Allow the painted image to dry completely. (Do NOT use heat to hurry the drying!)
  • Roll a thin layer of paint over the dry paint — then quickly cover with paper.
  • Give a little extra time when rubbing to transfer the paint to the paper.
  • Pull the print slowly. The paper can tend to stick to the plate a bit as you pull the print.

Here are a few variations to try:

  • Use metallic and/or interference paints. They’ll pop against the final dark layer.
  • For a painterly print, apply the paint with a soft brush instead of a sponge dauber.
  • Press texture tools into the paint while it’s wet.
  • Experiment with different color combinations for very different results. Be sure to create enough contrast.

The dry layers of sponged paint created some unexpected interesting paint textures! 

These prints can be great beginnings, too! Add doodling on them with paint pens, colored pencils and your favorite drawing media.

As you can see, there’s great potential for creative explorations in printing with dark over 

light colors. Have fun!

This Contest is officially CLOSED


Judi W. is our Winner!!


And we have a SPECTACULAR GIVEAWAY!!! Including a signed copy of my new book, Gelli Plate Printing!

Our incredible Prize Package includes:

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 (Monday, Oct. 20th, 2014 at 12 Noon EST). Our lucky winner will be contacted by email and announced here on the blog and on our Facebook page no later than (Oct. 20th at 5 p.m. EST)!

Enter Giveaway Here

This Contest is officially CLOSED 

Special thanks to our friends at DecoArt for generously providing the paints in this giveaway!

Good Luck and Happy Printing!

284 thoughts on “Gelli Arts® Printing: Dark Over Light”

  1. I love synchronicity as I was about to try the «apply a layer, let it completely dry, another layer, print» technique. I love the blobs effect.
    thanks a lot for all the inspiration and for that amazing giveaway !

  2. gaylemontayostudio

    Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! I really like the looks of the DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylic paints, and DecoArt Dazzling Metallics. They're wonderful for outstanding color contrasts! One can create a masterpiece in no time..and with little effort! I really need to get my hands on some of these products. The blotched bright colors on the blotched metallic with dark backgrounds on the Gelli printing plate? Yah…I am totally excited about that! Thank you for all of the demos, techniques and ideas on your website. I love getting inspiring emails in my virtual mailbox.

  3. I would love to try this. Being a newbie I want to try everything. Awesome tutorial. I'm so excited. I hope I win.

  4. I love the blog as it's filled with inspiration for using your products and the videos are great for someone like me who is new to this sort of crafting. The give away is amazingly generous and I would so love these products to land in my craftroom!

  5. How awesome..Amazing giveaway!!! Would love love to win, been watching all the amazing art pages that come from this style of Art. Truly awesome on what can be made.

  6. Kara Chipoletti Jones of GriefAndCreativity dot com

    TOTALLY loving the tutorial and excited to enter for a chance at the give-a-way! What a cool thing for prints!!

  7. I love this technique of dark over light, and, also, the idea of making your own paint daubers. Thanks for sharing both. I'm really enjoying your blog and the video posts. It gives me alot of inspiration for using the Gelli plate for printing in many different projects, and , wow, what a great giveaway. Thanks for the opportunity to be part of it. I'm looking forward to more posts…..Linda E.

  8. A great video and an ingenious way to make a dauber too. I think this effect is superb, I would never have thought to put dark over light and it looks superb. I would love to know who's music is playing as the soundtrack, I really liked it. 🙂

  9. This is my first visit to your blog and I am in love. I used to do lino block printing so I could totally get into this! Can't wait to nose around your blog even more!

  10. You keep coming up with new ideas. I always amazed at receiving yet another colorful and fun u-tube! Thanks

  11. Awesome! Can't wait to try this tomorrow (if I start now, I'll be up all night). thanks for continuing to inspire!

  12. Love the inspiration and the techniques… It's best to create simply yet beautifully looks so doable want to try it .

  13. would love to try the gelli printing and all the new techniques, thank you for a chance to win these fab products !!

  14. Love your videos, and love my GelliPlates! This is another 'have-to-try' techique.. 😀
    Awesome giveaway!!

  15. most fun of my week is printing paper. great inspiration from your blog and videos. thanks as always for sharing.

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