Mixing Colors on The Gelli Arts® Printing Plate

Hi There! 

Have you ever wondered why some colors work well together on the Gelli® plate and others turn into a mud color when mixed? Or are you looking for a fun way to teach your kids about color theory? 

Today I’m going to show you how you can use the Gelli® plate for color mixing and how you can use your knowledge about paint colors to your advantage!

First things first. I’m sure you are familiar with the color wheel:

There are three primary colors: blue, red and yellow or, if you want to be more scientific: cyan, magenta and yellow.

With these three paint colors you can mix all other colours.

When you mix two of them together in equal amounts you get the secondary colours and tertiary colours when you change the ratio of the two primary colours you put into the mix.

This is what that looks like on Gelli® prints:

Red + Blue (Magenta + Cyan) = Violets and Blues

Red + Yellow (Magenta + Yellow) = Reds and Oranges

Yellow + Blue (Yellow + Cyan) = Greens and Aquas

It’s fun to mix your own paint colors and it’s especially fun to let your kids have a go at it!

So… what about the mud color? 

Mud or neutral colours usually emerge when you try to mix all three primary colours together. In other words: put cyan, yellow, greens and aquas (the cyan/yellow mixes) together on the Gelli® Plate and it will look good. 

But blue and orange (which has yellow and magenta in it) together on the plate will end up a brownish colour, especially when you really mix the colours with a brayer.

When you mix pure cyan, yellow and magenta together though, you’ll get a nice neutral grey. Which can be very useful, but maybe not what you are looking for when you’re trying to make a colourful Gelli® print.

That said, it doesn’t mean that you can never use blue and orange together (or lime and purple, green and magenta etc). As they are opposites, the so-called complementary colours, they look striking when paired!

They just don’t mix very well, so it’s better to use them side by side or in an added printed layer.Now for the magical part!

Once you know about the way colors mix, you can not only use that to your advantage when applying paint on the Gelli® plate, but also when printing in layers. This is especially fun when you use transparent paint colors, like cyan, yellow and magenta.

Happy color mixing!

– Marsha


Gelli Arts®: 

5″ x 7″ Gelli® Printing Plate

8″ x 10″ Gelli® Printing Plate

4″ Pop-In Soft Rubber Brayer



Acrylic paint (Royal Talens Amsterdam: Primary Cyan, Primary Magenta, Primary Yellow, Titanium White)

Stencil (Nathalie Kalbach for Stencil Girl Products – Manhattan)

Washi tape

PS: Please—share your prints with us on our Facebook page, or on Instagram using the hashtag #gelliprint #gelliarts and #gelliplate. Tag us with @gelliarts on Instagram and Twitter too! We love to see what you’re creating!!

Remember, we now have Gelli® partners all over the world, so it’s easier than ever to find a Gelli® retailer near you!

10 thoughts on “Mixing Colors on The Gelli Arts® Printing Plate”

  1. Yoga with Gaileee

    This "art"icle is worth printing out for future reference! Thank you. Beginning #Gelliartist Gail

  2. My 4 year old totally hijacked the Gelli Plate I bought to try out for my blog projects. He LOVES playing with this.. I shall have to buy one of the bigger ones when I have some spare craft budget. Thank you for such a fab product for adults and kids… he loves crafting with me and I love it too.

    He loves mixing up the colors.. a bit TOO much sometimes haha but we have some fab handprint art pieces to frame and hang on the wall..and I am dying to see what he comes up with next. Maybe he can make some more bookmarks with it, we do Abandoned Art and he likes making bookmarks right now, which he stamps and watercolors and then I laminate them for him to abandon… it's our "secret mission"


  3. BethBMarch 14, 2017 at 9:53 PM
    Actually, primary colors for paint as taught in schools are red, yellow and blue. From them the secondary colors are made: orange, green and violet. Then there are tertiary colors. Cyan and magenta are for printing and digital use. Good info but wrong field.

    Google "teach color wheel for students" or anything similar to read lots about this.

    1. Thanks for your additional info Beth! You can use the Gelli Plate to teach both principles. Note that the results will vary depending on the red and blue you choose to print with and that they will likely be far less vibrant than the examples shown here.

  4. Gelli printing has rocked my world! I'm 65 & hope to never stop learning. Your videos are so helpful, thank you very much!!!

  5. Will you suggest magenta, cyan and yellow in paint color names by brand? For instance, which Golden paint colors work best together?


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