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. Thanks for another great video! I really look forward to seeing each new video that you post on the blog for more inspiration for using my Geli plate!

  2. Metallic paints would be awesome for this technique! But then, all techniques with the Gellis are awesome!!! Have you found any difference with all the different brands of paint?
    I haven't tried these or the Golden brand yet. Still have paint in my tubes of Jo Sonja and Liquitex. Would love to try the Liquitex Acrylic Inks… they look nice and runny too!

  3. I must say that I get so excited when I see an email from Gelli Arts because you've always offered fabulous techniques and videos that are easy to follow and wonderfully creative! I have the 5" x 7" gelli plate for cardmaking already and I sure would like to be the lucky winner of the 8" x 10" plate with all the extras…whoohoo…a fabulous offer and a great site. Keep doing what you're doing well.

  4. So happy to have found your site, thanks to a friend. NEW GELLI plate is on my wishlist! I've seen your demo in person and am itching to add to my craft stash. Will be checking in to see all your great projects!

  5. I love the blog and videos because I enjoy learning new techniques such as this one. The effect is beautiful and I can't wait to try it!

  6. This is the first time here for me. What exciting ideas and I can't wait for my next studio day to try some of them!

  7. barbara macaskill

    Fantabulosity!! I am definitely going to need to get my hands on a Gelli Plate so I can try all of the fabulous techniques!! This effect is amazing and I can't wait to try it! TFS!

  8. I love it all,endless possibilities of creativity and tools to use, thank you for sharing the great techniques.

  9. Wonderful way to share all the great techniques and samples of prints. So enjoy following this site and the great videos.

  10. I frequently go to the blog for tutorials and inspiration. I also go to Pinterest and search on Gelli. Great sites!

  11. Muriel Stegers - Mixed Media Art Club Holland

    We use your tutorials and information on a daily basis at the Mixed Media Art Club Holland also known as the MMACH. Gelliplate printing is so popular but also a fine technique that needs alot of experimenting and fun play… you need to get in it to really understand it 😀

  12. I thoroughly enjoy each tutorial and blog update I receive …often at a time when my creative juices need a boost …and the Gelli is the perfect thing to do that *cheeky grin*

    Belinda 🙂

  13. I want a Gelli plate and now after watching that wonderful video, I have to invest in one. That was just too much fun and beautiful results.

  14. Your ideas are always so interesting and imaginative. I love the idea of the sponge pouffers – I can use them in my regular paintings as well! Thanks for sharing!

  15. We have a group of ladies that get together every week, called the Cult. We have to scheduledd extra play dates to use our gelli plates. With a group of us, someone always comes up with a new twist. Your videos are AWESOME!!! Thank you!!

  16. I loved this video and can't wait to try this. I need those materials to do this and I can see so many possibilities!

  17. love the quick and varied ways you present the tutorial – fast. upbeat and my brain races with ideas – thanks!

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