Layering Technique with Gelli Arts® Printed Tissue Paper with Birgit Koopsen Lesson Plan


Students Will Be Able To (SWBAT) demonstrate a variety of layering techniques


What kinds of layering techniques can be used when using a gelli plate?


  • Gelli Arts® 5×7 Gel Printing Plate
  • Acrylic paints
  • Brayer
  • Tissue paper (the thinner the better)
  • Stencils and stamps
  • Cardstock or watercolor paper
  • Matte medium


Layering with Gelli Arts® Printed Tissue Paper

The way you make your prints is not a lot different than on thicker paper. You just have to be careful that you don’t use too much paint. The more paint, the bigger the possibility that it soaks through the paper and you will smear or tear the paper. You must gently push the paper in the open spaces of the stencil. Just be a bit nicer to the paper because it is so delicate. Once the paint has dried it is not as delicate.

  • Start by covering the plate with acrylic paint and place stencils on top. Make the first print.
  • Remove the stencils and make another print from the paint that was left on the plate.
  • After that, there may still be some paint on the plate. Let it dry for a few seconds. Add a tiny bit of white paint (or any other color then the one dried on the plate), spread it out covering the whole plate and make a print of that. That gives you three different prints from one session. Two will be completely translucent when glued down, the third will be semi-translucent as there is a layer of paint on the entire print, and there are no “open” spaces.
  • Create a bunch of papers using a variety of colors and patterns. Create some using stamps as well!
  • One option for using stamps is to cover the plate with acrylic paint and push the stamp onto the plate to lift up some paint. Stamp the paint off on a piece of tissue paper. After repeating this on the entire plate, you can pull a print from the plate.
  • A second option for using stamps is to cover the plate with two colors next to each other. Stamp on the left on left side of the plate, lift up the paint, then place the stamp on the right side, transferring the first color onto the second color. Then pull a print.
  • Continue to print until you have a stack of prints.
  • Now you’re ready to start layering. You will need some cardstock or watercolor paper and matte medium.
  • Tear a piece from the printed tissue paper and glue it down to your background using the matte medium.
  • Cover the glued down piece with a thin layer of matte medium. This is what makes the paper transparent.
  • Then tear another piece of tissue paper and glue it down overlapping the first piece. You will notice that all the areas where there is no paint will turn transparent revealing the layers underneath.
  • Continue this way until the background is covered and you are satisfied with the result.

Don’t you just love how you can see all the layers on top of each other and still have vibrant colors? Now your background is ready and you can use it for whatever you like, whether it is art journal pages, cards, ATCs, or use the technique on wood, glass, and cardboard boxes. The possibilities are endless!

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