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. Love my gelli plate, thanks so much for your awesome tutes and for the opportunity to win this package. I've had so much fun creating journal page backgrounds now!

  2. I love the Gelli plate! I can't wait to try this technique. It's very similar to the cleanup technique I've been using with light paints to "cleanup" the plate. It's amazing the "happy accidents" that I've been able to create.

  3. Wow!!!! Love this technique. Thanks for you tutorials. Never would have thought to let the paint dry completely.

  4. OK, here's another thing to try, fill up a small balloon with water, (not too full, only until you get a nice round bottom. Dip it into paint and print onto gelli plate, try dipping several colors too from your pallette fun, should work exactly like this, after drying paint and lift off, or use the transfer tape method I mentioned in above video.

  5. I love the pop of the metallic paint! the video is VERY helpful. Thank you for this opportunity to win such a generous prize.

  6. Very interesting. I must try this technique. I subscribe to your videos on Youtube so I don't use this blog much, but thanks for making it available!

  7. In stitches and seams

    I always enjoy seeing what you have come up with and want to try out each and every idea …… soo many ideas I just hope I can find the time to play with them all.
    thanks for doing up such a fun filled printing blog
    in stitches

  8. This is such a great idea and with the doodling it looks absolutely fantastic ! Thank you for this blog, when i bought my Gelli plate i did not know what to do with it and now no excuses for not using it ! 🙂

  9. It is truly amazing all that you can do with using the Gelli Plates. What is even more amazing is all the things people keep coming up with. It just goes on and on and on……

  10. Your products have turned my world upside down! I was always so structured with my art and your products have allowed me such liberation in my art! Thank you!

  11. Love the simplicity and creativity of what you can do with this product. Now if I could keep up with the pace of doing something with all of my prints.

  12. Just learnt about the gelli plate and a very inspiring blog can't wait to get one and give a go it seems so versatile hours of happy playing.

  13. I have always loved print-making, and this is just the BEST way to do it! Even before I read your blog or bought your book, my mind was bursting with ideas, after I saw my first little video about it. I bought Gelli plates for me and for my friend Lois, and on Oct 22nd, she's coming over to help me have fun printing. I can't wait! Clear the decks! I now visit your blog often, to see what new ideas you have. They are all merging into one huge firework of creativity! THANK YOU!

  14. I just love watching your gelli print videos – they are always fun and show a brilliant technique that inspires me, such as this one! I would love to try these fluid acrylics with the gelli plate and to get your new book – I'm thinking it might go on the Christmas list! Thank you!

  15. Cora from Hidden Riches

    Can't wait to try this! Thank you so much for all your tutorials. Love them so much since I'm new to all this!

  16. Heather Iggulden

    I love your posts … they are so informative and gelli plates are so amazing!! I use mine with my students as well as in my own mix media work – so much fun! I look forward to collecting more of your products!! Thank you so much they have unlocked creativity and excitement in many! x x

  17. I have the large gelli and the 8×10. I am super excited to try the new fluid acrylics. Thanks for the great tutorials. It really is addicting.

  18. StampingbugKerry

    Love the layering upon layering of circles and the fun everyday stencils you used. The doodling after monoprinting is a fun way to give some added personalization to your design. Thanks for this great post…off to play now!

  19. your video was awesome and the tutorial to go along with it! I love all the colors you used by deco art!This effect is simply gorgeous!

  20. Great tutorial. I didn't realize you can wait for the paint to dry and then add another layer. I will have to try this. Thanks for sharing.

  21. I thought I'd entered this great giveaway, but I didn't see my post, so……
    I love my gelli plate! I love to play and try new techniques, and your videos are often the inspiration for another play date. Please keep them coming. Thank you!

  22. merveilleux cadeau et merveilleux blog, merci pour tout vos tutoriels que j'attends avec impatience pour apprendre à chaque fois encore plus de nouvelles possibilités

  23. What a wonderful giveaway. I love Gelli printing. It's very therapeutic and exciting all at the same time. Thank you for all your inspiring videos and the chance to win.

  24. I have bought a gelli plate but have not used it your videos will give me the inspiration I need to get it out of the plastic cover

Leave a Reply to Maria Ignez SalomaoCancel reply