Image Transfers on Gelli Arts® Gel Printed Backgrounds With Birgit Koopsen Lesson Plan


  • Students Will Be Able To (SWBAT) demonstrate the ability to hand transfer images

Essential Question

  • How can students transfer images from one paper to the other with the use of brayers and gelli plates?


  • Gelli Arts® 8×10 Gel Printing Plate
  • Acrylic paints
  • Brayer
  • Found objects as texture tools
  • Homemade texture rollers
  • Watercolor paper
  • Laser prints or photo copies of your photographs (not inkjet)
  • Gel medium
  • Soft brush
  • Bank or gift card
  • Paper towels
  • Baby wipes
  • Bowl of water
  • Completed Gelli Arts® backgrounds


Part 1: Creating Backgrounds

  • First, pick your colors. If you want your prints to be bright and vibrant, stay away from dark colors like black, dark blue, dark green. Add neon colors for extra vibrancy.
  • Then, decide which tools you want to use to create marks, patterns, and textures. You can make your own rollers by covering toilet paper rolls with bubble wrap, punchinella, and self-adhesive craft foam. You can also use found objects, such as the inside of a chocolate box or other packing material. Don’t forget to use your favorite stamps and stencils!
  • Make a stack of colorful and vibrant backgrounds using watercolor paper, which is the perfect paper for image transfers. Start with color only, no patterns yet.
  • Start by covering your backgrounds with 2 or 3 light colors like yellow, pink, and orange and then later add patterns in darker colors, this way you will keep the light colors vibrant.
  • Once you have a nice stack of printed papers, move on to doing patterns, marks, and texture, but make sure to leave some spaces open for the image transfers.

Part 2: Beautiful Image Transfers on Gelli Arts® Gel Printed Backgrounds

  • Step One: Pick one of your favorite backgrounds.
  • Step Two: Cut out the picture you want to use.
  • Step Three: Apply a thin layer of matte medium to both the background and the right side of the picture.
  • Step Four: Place the picture, right side down on the background.
  • Step Five: Use the bank card to remove any excess matte medium and air bubbles from the picture.
  • Step Six: Let it dry! Use your patience!
  • Step Seven: Once the background is dry, use water and your fingers to rub away all the paper from the photo.
  • Step Eight: Finally, cover the image with a thin layer of matte medium.

They’re so easy and fun to make, you’ll have a collection of these image transfers in no time! When the image transfer is done, you can work on your page as on any other art journal page. You can stamp, paint, draw, and write on it. The transfer is water resistant so you can use whatever medium you like.


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