Looking for a perfect substrate for stamping with 4″,6″ and 8″ Round Gelli® plates? I found one I’m really excited about!!
It’s a blank 8mm habotai silk scarf measuring — 14″x72″ — from
Dharma Trading Company! They offer a fabulous variety of options, and this size
is exactly what I was looking for.
The sheer and lightweight habotai silk (also known as ‘China
silk’) is easiest to print on if you first stabilize it by ironing the scarf
onto freezer paper. And because this scarf is 6 feet long — you
can easily roll up the freezer paper and unroll as you work on sections.
I used plastic clips to keep the scarf neatly rolled up while I
worked on one area at a time.
To stamp with a Gelli® plate, place the plate on an acrylic block
or sheet. Clear mounts let you place your imprint where you want it. I use an
8-1/2 x 11 inch acrylic box frame to mount my 8″ round Gelli® plate. It
works great for stamping! The gel plates will stay in place on their acrylic mounts until you remove them.
Maintaining the soft hand of the silk fabric is important for the
scarf to drape nicely. There are paints specifically made for painting on silk,
but they are very thin and tend to bead up on the gel plate — so
they don’t work well for monoprinting or stamping.
I used DecoArt’s SoSoft Fabric Paint and find it leaves the
fabric nice and soft. However, it’s important not to use a thick application of
paint. This is not the ideal project for layered paint techniques. If paint
builds up on the sheer fabric, it changes the hand.
Instead of rolling a layer of paint on the gel plate with a
brayer as I usually do, I painted thin layers with a flat brush. I love the
look of loose brushstrokes in the circle images! And it’s so much fun blending
colors and swirling brushstrokes — going in circles!
All marks and designs on the painted gel plate were made using
the following tools:
- Catalyst Wedges and Contours
- Princeton Art and Co. paintbrush (6250 Series #6 Flat)
- Colour Shapers (Size 6 Firm: Taper Point and Flat)
- Palette knife
- DIY eraser cap comb
The result is a painterly look, which works nicely with the soft
This is a fast and fun process. Here are the steps — Easy
- Brush fabric paint onto the gel plate with
- Make subtractive marks in the wet paint with
combs and soft-tipped tools.
- Stamp the painted plate onto the fabric.
I worked from one end of the scarf to the mid-point — then
started at the other end and worked back to the middle. But if you prefer, you
can easily work from one end to the other. Using the three round plate sizes
makes it especially easy to fit the circle images together into a harmonious
design. And variation in the circle sizes adds visual interest to the overall
To keep your colors clean while brushing them onto the plate — use
analogous colors. Those are the ones that are next to each other on the color
Another simple, but sometimes overlooked, tip for clean colors is
to give your brush a good rinse before switching colors. It’s amazing how
quickly colors can turn to mud if you don’t.
For this project — after each print — I
wiped the plate with a spritz of water and a paper towel to remove any residual
paint on the plate. It only takes a second and helps keep the colors clean and
SoSoft Paints don’t require heat-setting — and they dry
quickly so you can keep moving on to the next area.
You’ll notice for this project I chose not to overlap the circle
imprints. Mostly, because I wanted the design to feature individual circles!
But also, I wanted to avoid overlapping images where layered paint might build
up and alter the hand of the fabric.
After the scarf is gel printed — it’s done and ready
Now isn’t this the perfect Spring accessory! A beautiful and
breezy handprinted scarf! Go ahead and make one…or a few…and remember, it’s
a wonderful Mother’s Day gift!!
Have Fun and Happy Printing!
Products used in today’s blog: