Gelli Arts® Printing on Fabric: Fun with Stencils & Pencils!

Monoprinting is a great way to create unique designs on fabric! Watch this Gelli Arts® video for fun ideas using stencils and pencils for fabric surface design! 


Using commercial stencils to monoprint on fabric is a great way to get started. And after you’ve created your print…you can keep going to add to your design with colored pencils! 

In the video, the demonstration is on 100% cotton. The paint is SoSoft by DecoArt, which is a fabric paint that barely changes the hand of the fabric. It’s easy to work with and doesn’t need to be heat-set! The pencils are Inktense by Derwent, and they are perfect for use on fabric. Inktense pencils are water-soluble, but permanent after they dry — and you can layer over the dry ink. 

When printing on fabric, I first iron each piece onto freezer paper to stabilize it. Doing this simple step makes handling fabric as easy as printing on paper. It also keeps the process clean, as any paint that may bleed through the fabric won’t get on your hands. Another benefit is that it’s easier to apply colored pencil to fabric that is stabilized. 

TIP: When ironing fabric onto freezer paper, place the freezer paper shiny side UP on your 

ironing surface. Place your fabric on the freezer paper and cover with parchment paper to 

protect your iron. 

Ironing will create a temporary bond and stabilizes the fabric for easy handling while printing and embellishing with pencils. When the print is finished, gently pull the fabric off the freezer paper. 

Here’s how to create this print: 

  1. Apply paint to the Gelli® plate and roll into a smooth layer with a brayer. When printing on fabric, use a heavier layer of paint than when printing on paper. 
  2. Place a stencil on the painted plate. Apply a second color of paint to the plate and roll out over the stencil. 
  3. Remove the stencil. Lay your fabric on the plate, rub to transfer the paint and pull your print. This is the first printed layer.
  4. Roll a layer of paint on the plate. Place a different stencil on the painted plate. (A stencil with larger openings works best for this layer)
  5. With the stencil in place, print onto paper to remove the paint in the stencil hole areas. You may need to print this on paper more than once to remove all the paint from the stencil hole areas.
  6. Remove the stencil, place your printed fabric on the plate to print the paint that was under the stencil. Rub to transfer the paint and pull the print. This is the second printed layer on your fabric.

Brush a thin layer of Transparent Medium or water on an area of the fabric before coloring with Inktense pencils. Doing this will make the application smoother and intensify the colors. You can also brush dry pencil marks with medium to blend pencil colors on the print. Or, you can dip the pencil tip in the transparent medium. You can use water to thin the medium, if desired. 

Another option instead of using transparent medium is to use just water. The color will be very intense, and more difficult to control. Using water will probably cause the pencil color to bleed on the fabric. You may want the watercolor wash effect! Using the medium keeps the color from bleeding. Some fiber artists use Aloe Vera gel, which, like transparent medium, helps to control the application of Inktense color and keep it from bleeding.

If you like to draw or doodle on your prints, try it on fabric! The process is so much fun and can add your individuality to stenciled images! 

For more information, techniques and ideas for printing on fabric, please take a look at the 

earlier blog post and video: Gelli Arts® Printing — Techniques on Fabric! from September 19, 2013. 

This Contest is officially CLOSED

And now for our FABULOUS GIVEAWAY!!! 

Our amazing Prize Package includes: 

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 very special giveaway!) Entries will be accepted until Monday, Nov. 24th at 12 pm EST. Our lucky winner will be contacted by email and announced here on the blog and on our Facebook page no later than Nov. 24th at 5 pm EST

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

This Contest is officially CLOSED

Good Luck and Happy Printing! 

60 thoughts on “Gelli Arts® Printing on Fabric: Fun with Stencils & Pencils!”

  1. Great giveaway! Love me some Gelli Prints and love the bag and all the new goodies to try! I would freak if I win this!!!

  2. Hallo, Ik have tried this technique and my fabric feeks nog like plastic. Not so soft. Could you please tell me If that's also with your fabric? What am I doing wrong.

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