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. Win Dinn, Artist

    What a fun process, and I love the results! I can see some Inktense pencils and fabric paint coming up in my future!

  2. Thanks for the instructions. Thinking I want to try a silk scarf. Hope I win, becuase not sure when I'll get to buy fabric paints.

  3. Joan,

    What a great piece. I really like the way the Inktense pencils really enhance the Gelli Print. I also never realized you could use the pencil on fabrics. And I have to tell you, I really love the mug you have your pencils in. It is so adorable!

    Thanks for sharing with us.

    Elaine Allen

  4. This is fabulous, I need some of that paint. I was just thinking about painting on a onsie for a baby shower and need that perfect paint!! Thanks for the tutorial!

  5. This is a really great giveaway…I love Clarity Stencils and this is an awsome way how to use them with Gelli plate. Thank you for this idea and for a chance to win this set :0)

  6. Another fantastic giveaway! Thank you to the inspirational video and to all the vendors who have made this giveaway possible!!

  7. What a fabulous process, I didn't even know about wax paper on fabric. Thanks for sharing the video and giveaway.

  8. How absolutely AMAZING. The coloring is BEAUTIFUL. I LOVE the mug! LOL Thank you so much for making these AWESOME videos for all to see.

  9. Wonderful technique. I want to get into making art quilts and this would be ideal. Thank you for the opportunity and for sharing.

  10. you always make it look so easy and fun !! Water soluble pencils and crayons – they are just great for making monoprints !!

  11. You make it look easy…with such amazing results. I've not tried Inktense pencils, but they are now on my wishlist. THank you.

  12. Thanks for this tutorial and the tips for using medium instead of water: I can see how you've built up the colours and feel really inspired to try this. I'll raid the stash to see if I have anything similar to what you've used and keep my fingers crossed for the giveaway.

  13. How serendipitous- I was just thinking about creating some fabric and gelli printing projects– this would be a great start to making that happen. Love that floral stencil and the pencils are so vibrant- I had no idea there were ones that could be used on fabric! Oh the possibilities. Thanks for a chance to win.

  14. This is beautiful, must add the pencils to my every expanding Christmas list, every day I see some new must have crafting goodies to add to it!

  15. Great tutorial, and thanks for the chance to win! I actually do this process on canvas and make bookmarks out of my painted fabric. I LOVE doing them, and it makes a nice gift. Once piece of painted canvas makes many bookmarks. 🙂

  16. I haven't been brave enough to try printing on fabric, but I love the idea of direct to fabric colouring with pencils!

  17. Awesome video with awesome results! Awesome giveaway too! I have entered of course. Thanks for everything! xxx

  18. barbara macaskill

    Absolutely incredible video and the giveaway has me breathless!! I will be keeping my fingers crossed in hopes of seeing my name as the lucky winner! Thank you for the inspiration and the chance to win such amazing products!!

  19. I have Aloe Vera, I don't have freezer paper! I had to google it, found some suppliers, and it must be different to the waxed paper by Reynolds that I already have.
    I love the stencils you have used here. I have a couple of cotton bags I would love to try this on, I suppose I would have to turn them inside out, iron the paper to the inside then go for it, obvious really!

  20. Great tutorial,! Fabulous, generous give away too! Thank you for the opportunity to win these amazing goodies 🙂

  21. I 've never printed on fabric before, but I would love to try it with my Gelli plate!
    It looks like a lot of fun. 🙂

  22. Great tutorial!! Never would had thought of using my Derwent pencils on fabric. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks! And the giveaway prize package. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed.


    This is a good demo and some good tips for the Inktense Pencils too. Of course I always use the ClarityStamp Stencils on my Gelli Plate weather I am making prints for my DT work or myself, and because Barbara Gray plays with the Gelli Plate herself obviously her Stencils are going to work especially well with it. This is a great giveaway. Sam Crowe

  24. What a great demo. I've used the Clarity stencils loads with my Gelli plate and now want to have a go at this on to fabric! What a great giveaway! X

  25. Thank you for this great demonstration, I really need to get my hands on these Gelli plates so I can get going on my Christmas Cards (yeah I know Im late) lol Time to order me thinks! *grins*

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