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 enjoy the videos and learn something new from each one. I would love to start making my own prints and this prize would be a great addition to my craft room. Thanks for the chance to win.

  2. I am loving all the different ways to use a Gelli Plate. I especially like this one and am off to give it a try! Thank you!

  3. Very interesting technique. Just received my new gelli plate and can't wait to 'lose myself' in trying it out!

  4. Fibre Optics Group

    I'd love to be inside your head when you are creating these amazing art pieces. I'd love to have the time to sit and do this for a day.

  5. I love your videos…have seen them all! I love that they're really fast cause you can pause along the way if you miss a step, no need to sit through hrs of footage 🙂 I have a jelly plate I haven't used yet due to study commitments, however will get it out as soon as I have finished! Thanks for all the awesome tutorials 🙂

  6. Just love the many possible variations using this technique, you are so creative!!!! Thank you for the ideas and oh yes I am going to try this.

  7. such wonderful contrast and design, love the textures and the doodling over the circles. You do such awesome work and make it look so easy! thank you for sharing your abilities is such a colorful way.

  8. I am a beginner at the Gelli plate- love to see all of the techniques I 'have to' try! This is a great idea and I hope mine looks as nice as the samples shown here- LOVE the doodling on the circles too!

  9. I really love the Gelli Arts Blog. Love all the tips and techniques, in particular the videos. The technique on this post is just wonderful.

    Elaine Allen

  10. Love it! Can't wait to try it! Got to go…trying it!
    Thanks for the chance to win your generous giveaway.

  11. buterfliecrafter

    I like the clear instructions both in the videos as in the descriptions, there is a low treshold so I'm not intimitated to try a technique. This technique actually reminds me of cleaning of my gelli plate with a load of white paint. Oh, and I do hope that you used that page on which you placed the paint and daubed on in a project, that looked totally awesome.

  12. so pleased I found this site. i love the way gelli printing always has a little element of surprise to it with each print taken. love your inspiration.

  13. Thank you so much for all the video's and info , you give us on your blog. It is amazing thank you. 🙂

  14. Fantastique, le résultat est impressionnant! J'aimerai bien essayer votre technique!!!
    google translation:
    Fantastic, the result is impressive! I'd like to try your technique !!!

  15. What a fantastic technique – thank you! Once I saw the homemade daubers, they seemed obvious. But would never have occurred to me! I'd love to win a copy of your book – well, all of it, frankly! Losing more control over my hands (and other body parts) so Gelli is the perfect art for me, no matter how disabled I am! SSDI is staying the same, and medical costs doubled last month, which pretty much wiped out my little art and book allowance. :-< Either way, thanks for the great ideas and products. Keep 'em coming! Your fan, Serena

  16. I love the Gelli plate and appreciate all the techniques you share, can't wait for the week-end to try this one out. Thankful for all things Gelli plate Katrina

  17. The Gel printing plate adds so much to art works, as do your videos. Lots of ideas to play around with. Who would have thought there were so many ways of using the Gelli plate. Look forward to all your posts.

  18. My gelli plate is my best friend. I love the serendipitous nature of the prints I pull. I love the surprises I find on my fabric.



  21. Oh this would be such a treat to win and play and share!! Thank you so much for sharing such fantastic product and continuing to giving us such joy <3

  22. The endless variety possible with a gelli plate is fascinating! Thanks for continuing to bring us more great techniques.

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