Resist Printing with Gelli Arts® Plates, Books, and Magazines

Hi it’s Birgit here! Today I will show you how you can use old book pages and all
kinds of (old and new) magazines for resist printing. It is a very unpredictable
technique and it does not always work. But isn’t
unpredictable kind of the charm of gel printing!?

I will try to
explain with as much detail as possible how to get this to be a success!

What happens when you
do resist printing is that some of the ink on the paper you are using to create
the image will resist the acrylic paint on the gel plate. This means that the
paper is not picking the paint up from the plate but leaving paint behind in
certain areas.

The leftover paint on your
plate is the resisted image that you can now pull.

You could pull it
straight away, but I prefer to pull the print with a second layer of paint, like
a ghost print. This allows you to add more colors to the print.

Most of the outcome
depends on the paper you use to create the resist.

There is no way I can
tell you which paper works and which does not. You can’t see or feel it, at
least not in a way I have figured out yet.

I have used paper from
old books like an encyclopedia from 1978 to brochures that I got in the mail
and magazines that I bought recently. Some were glossy, some were matte, or
something in between. I had all 3 of them work fine, but also all 3 of them
from other magazines with no result at all.  The only way to find out is try and
experiment, fail and succeed. It will be fun and it will be worth it!

The second thing that
is important is the amount of paint you use to create the resist!

You need a thin layer,
because a thick layer will leave too much paint behind on the plate in the
areas that would not resist the paint, and it will not give you a nice print.

On the other hand, the
layer should also not be too thin because the paper will always pick up some
paint, even in the resist areas, and there has to be some paint to leave behind.

Again, this is a
matter of trying and experimenting. Every paint brand is different;
circumstances in the room are not the same in the Netherlands as they are in other
parts of the world.

The third important
thing is the amount of paint you use to pick up the resisted image from the gel

Again, this has to be
a very thin layer. If you use too much paint, your paper will only pick up the
top layer and not lift the image from the plate.

In general I would say
that it has to be so thin that you can just see the image shining through.

A good reference to
see if you use the right amount of paint is that when you pull the final
print, your gel plate should be totally clean, which means your paper picked up
all of the paint! If there is still paint on the plate, then chances are that
you used too much paint.

And finally, about the
paint. I had really good results with fluid paints and soft body to medium body
paints. Not so much with heavy body. I used Gelli Arts® premium acrylics,
DecoArt Media, DecoArt Premium, and Amsterdam Standard. They all worked fine.

Use paints that dry
relatively fast. You need the resist image to dry completely before pulling it
so open paints will make you wait for ages.

When you start
experimenting, my advice is to use darker colors for the resist image and
lighter/brighter colors to pull the print.

One more thing, for
this technique it is best to work with a clean plate. Although I usually like
to leave leftovers on the plate to be pulled in a next print, with this
technique you don’t get good resist if there is leftover paint.

Now let’s do some

Roll out a thin layer
of one or more colors on the plate, make sure you have a nice and even layer.

Place the image you
want to “transfer’’ right side down on the plate and rub firmly. This page
comes from an old encyclopedia.

Carefully lift up the
paper. Then let the transferred image dry well.

When the image is dry, add new paint to the plate. Take as many colors as you like, but make sure that
you spread out only a thin layer. You can see here how the image shines

Now place a sheet of
paper on top right away (don’t let the paint dry), rub firmly, and pull the

If you have used the
right amount of paint your plate will be clean and you will have a beautiful

For the next one I
used an image from a fashion magazine.

I followed the same
steps, but this time before the paint of the transferred image dried on the gel
plate I took an Art Printing plate and added texture to some solid paint areas.
Pushing a stamp or texture plate into the paint will remove some paint when
lifting it up, which creates beautiful texture.

Another way to add
texture to your print is using patterned paper or book paper to print on. Here
I used music paper to pull the final print and I love the effect!

Here are some more

In these last prints I
not only used a stamp to remove paint and create texture but I also stamped
with new colors straight on the plate with the resist image, let everything dry
and then pulled the print with a second layer of paint.

Have fun exploring
this technique! We would love to see what you create so please share!


© 2018 by Gelli Arts®, LLC Philadelphia, PA

All rights reserved.

36 thoughts on “Resist Printing with Gelli Arts® Plates, Books, and Magazines”

  1. Fantastically Fabulous Birgit, your Gelli Prints are amazing and your tutorial was so easy to follow…. Thankyou Xxxx

  2. Gosh Birgit, your explanation and photo steps are fantastic, so clear and make it easy to understand the process. I love these prints. I'm just scared of losing some great magazine photos!

  3. Hi, I have tried several magazine's from Old to new to mailer's , cannot get a print. Love the idea, but stuck!

  4. Nice prints! Would this technique work if I scanned a photo onto plain printer paper and used the copy? Thank you!

  5. These instructions were wonderfully written. Love the music sheet used for the background too. Wonder for the resist image would used my own image printed in black & white would work?

  6. I am in the middle of trying this process for the first time ever. I used a posterized image printed out on a xerox lazer printer, and so far, it resisted properly and has given me an interesting result. It's now drying in prep for the final step…more to come…

  7. Thanks for this blog. Great information provided. I really appreciate your writing. I like the way you put across your ideas. Awesome, keep it up.

    Graphic Design

  8. Great video, thanks! Does anyone know what material the flexible print block is? Used about minute 2:36. Thanks in advance.

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