Print with Stencils on Fabric with Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plates

Hi there! It’s Marsha here today showing how you can print your own designs on fabric using Gelli Arts® gel printing plates!

It’s super fun to add a personal touch to your home decor
with hand printed fabrics. Our cushion covers were looking a bit tired, and
with the festive season in full swing, I was looking for a budget-friendly way
to create a couple of new covers.

Monoprinting on fabric can be a fun activity to do with your
kids, too! I have to warn you though; this is not a project to attempt when you
are in a rush! I recommend leaving plenty of time to complete. You may also
need a bigger work surface than usual for the best possible results.

Step 1:

Pre-wash and iron the fabric before printing. The paint will
grab the cotton fibers a lot better when all of the sizing is washed out.

If you already know what you are going to make with the
fabric once it’s printed, you can cut it to the sizes needed for your project.

Step 2:

Think about designs you would like to print on your fabric.
Draw them on paper.

Keep it simple. Remember that even the most basic shapes
transform plain fabric into something amazing.

Step 3:

Choose the designs you want to use. Trace them onto
transparencies. I’ve cut my transparencies to a size that covers the Gelli
Arts® gel printing plates I’m going to use.

Trace each element of the design that you would like to have
a different color, onto a separate transparency.

Having to clean stencils in between prints will slow your
printing process, so think about making duplicate or even triplicate stencils

Step 4:

Cut your stencils.

Step 5:

Set up your printing station. I cover my work surface with a
non-slip plastic desk mat so the fabric can lay flat and won’t move. The
plastic desk mat also ensures I can quickly wipe away any paint that ends up on
the work surface so that it doesn’t accidentally stain the fabric.

I also make sure I have plenty of room in the vicinity of my
work surface to store all the stencils I’m using in between prints.

Choose the paint colors you want to use. Limit your color
palette to a maximum of two colors plus a neutral.

You can use regular acrylic paint to monoprint on fabric,
but if you need it to be washable, you’ll need to use a fabric paint or acrylic
paint mixed with a fabric medium.

Follow the instructions on the fabric medium packaging to make sure you are
mixing the correct amount of paint/medium for the best result.

I’m using acrylic paint mixed with a fabric medium. I’m
using three plexiglass palettes and three brayers, one for each color.

Step 6:

Start with gel printing your fabric. If you want to print a
repeat pattern, it’s easiest to start in the center of your material, printing
one row at a time.

Place the stencil of your choice onto the Gelli Arts® gel
printing plate. I’m using a selection of smaller gel printing
plates, each placed on an acrylic-stamping block.

Cover your brayer with paint and then roll the paint over the stencil. Remove the stencil and press the Gelli Arts® gel printing
plate paint-side down onto the fabric.

Lift up the gel printing plate and determine if the print
needs another layer of paint. If so, you can quickly put the stencil back on to
the gel printing plate, apply paint again, remove the stencil, and stamp over the
previous print.

Wipe the plate clean with a damp cloth or a baby wipe
whenever you want to change your paint color.

Keep going until you are satisfied with the result!

Step 7:

Leave your gel printed fabric to dry entirely before heat setting
the paint with an iron. Consult the label of your fabric paint or fabric medium
for the exact instructions.

Be sure to protect your ironing board cover with a cloth or
parchment paper before ironing monoprinted fabric. This will prevent the paint
from accidentally staining the cover.

Step 8:

Voila! Your fabric is ready for further use!

I gel printed enough fabric to cover all of my cushions. I’m
not a trained seamstress, so I turned to YouTube and found a ton of cushion
cover tutorials that were super helpful. Most of them are easy to follow, even
for beginners!

Wishing you a very happy and festive season!


Gelli Arts®:

3”x5” Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plate

Gelli Arts® Mini Printing Plates – Round, Square, Triangle

4” Brayers


Cotton Fabric



Permanent Marker


Craft Knife

Fine-Tip Scissors

Fabric Paint or Acrylic Paint and Fabric Medium

Paint Palettes

Acrylic-Stamping Blocks

Sewing Equipment

© 2018 by Gelli Arts®, LLC

Philadelphia, PA All rights reserved.

8 thoughts on “Print with Stencils on Fabric with Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plates”

  1. sewzallsquirrels

    Marsha, I love everything you showed here. Great easy to follow tutorial. Although the designs of the flowers are simple, the printing in just three colors for the separate elements makes such a nice flow. Blue pillow is my favorite. Thanks

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