Spray Inks on the Gelli Arts® Printing Plate

Hello and welcome to the Gelli® Arts blog! 

It’s Birgit here with a new technique video about using spray inks on the Gelli Arts® printing plate.

The products used in this video are:

Gelli Arts® 5×7” plate, a rubber brayer, a variety of spray inks, stencils from Carabelle Studio, gel medium, white gesso and black gesso.

Using spray inks on the Gelli® plate was an experiment to me, so I just tried some things to see what would happen and if I would like it. I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome and I hope you like it too!

My first print is made using the spray ink straight on to the plate with a stencil on top. 

When you spray straight on the plate, the ink will create puddles. When you place the paper on top the ink will spread all over the plate and the print will look very “watery” and with little detail from the stencil.

But there is a way to get more control over the ink by adding a “carrier” on the plate before spraying that will prevent the paint from spreading to much. 

The first thing I tried was gel medium. Spread a thin layer of gel medium on the plate with the brayer, then place the stencil on top and spray with a variety of colors.  

When you make a print, the ink will not spread that much and you will get a more distinct print of the stencil. After removing the stencil you can make a second and even third print. Since the gel medium dries clear the colors will stay as bright as they originally were. 

My second try was using white gesso. The spray inks reacted to the gesso the same as the gel medium but because it is white, you will end up with really nice powdery pastel colors.  

My third attempt was using black gesso and I loved the result. The process was the same as with the gel medium and the white gesso, but the bright colors mixed with the black gesso created a very dramatic effect. This time I removed the stencil after making the first print and sprayed some more color on the left over black gesso, which gave a bit fuzzy, but really fun print.

The last thing I did was cut shapes from paper towels to use as masks. I added some gel medium to the plate and placed the paper towel shapes on top. After spraying the first layer, the paper towel pieces soaked up most of the spray ink, leaving white spots in the print. 

After spraying for the second time, the paper towel pieces were wet and couldn’t hold the ink anymore, which revealed a mix of the first and the second color. I could do this for at least three, four, or even five times before the paper towel pieces were to dirty to make nice prints. I love these results! It is as if you are looking through a microscope. Very organic! I like the texture you get from the paper towels. Next time I go out to buy paper towels, I will definitely take notice of the variety of textures. 😀

I am very happy with these prints! Experimenting is fun! You can try this using different colors of acrylic paint too. Or how about using your brayer to move the spray inks around? 

Thank you for watching! I hope you enjoyed it and got inspired to get out your Gelli® plate and your spray inks to play! 

Happy printing! 


21 thoughts on “Spray Inks on the Gelli Arts® Printing Plate”

  1. These are all exquisite, Birgit! I never would have considered using spray inks on my plate. Thanks for the inspiration — as always! Smiles, Linda at Paper Seedlings

  2. That looks like a fun time. I have all those fun tools…
    Gesso? Never would have thought to try that.

  3. Can you share the kind or brand of inks you are using? I want to order some and try this. I live in Mexico so will have to have them sent down. Thank you

  4. I would have been afraid to try these mediums under my colors. Do you need to wash the plate quickly when using Gel Medium (as you do when using stencils)??? Does it clean with ease? Love the expanded 'possible uses' and love the Black Gesso!!! Thanks for feeding our creativity! ♥

    1. Gel medium is acrylic paint without pigment so it reacts the same way. No problem cleaning it 🙂

  5. Had a lovely afternoon with a craft buddy playing with these mediums and techniques on the large Gelli plate. Thanks for the inspiration Birgit!

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