Gelli Arts® Gel Printing on DIY Clay Ornaments with Marsha Valk Lesson Plan


  • Students Will Be Able To (SWBAT) form egg shapes with the use of clay
  • SWBAT master clay using it to create egg ornaments
  • SWBAT comprehends color theory by using limited (pastel) colors
  • SWBAT create ornaments


  • 5”x7” Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plate
  • 4” Roller
  • Air-drying Clay
  • A Non-stick Surface
  • Clay Roller
  • Cookie or Clay Cutter (3”)
  • Drinking Straw or Small Tube
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Stencils
  • White Tissue Paper
  • Matte Medium or Decoupage Glue
  • Flat Brush
  • Cosmetic Sponge
  • Paint Markers-Ribbon (Sara’s Saris by Sara Ferret)


Ornament – Used to make something look more attractive but usually having no practical purpose, especially a small object such as a figurine.

Air drying clay – Does not need to be heated, unlike traditional clays that need to be fired in a kiln at a high temperature, or polymer clays that need to be heated in an oven to cure.


Step 1: Roll the air-drying clay out until it’s about 1/8 inch thick. Move the clay to a non-stick surface like a sheet of baking parchment or a smooth ceramic tile.

Step 2: Use a clay or cookie cutter to cut shapes. Please don’t use the cookie cutter for edibles after you’ve used it on clay.

Step 3: Smooth the edges of the clay shapes by running a wet finger along them.

Step 4: Poke a hole at the top of each shape using a drinking straw or a small tube.

Step 5: Leave the clay shapes to dry. Drying time can take several hours to several days depending on the climate.

Check regularly to ensure they dry as flat as possible. If the shapes do warp, you can easily flatten them by pushing them down with a flat hand or by placing something like a smooth ceramic tile on top.

Step 6: As soon as the clay is dry, you can start printing!

You can use all of your favorite mark making tools and methods on the gel printing plate of your choice. The size of the plate depends on how many shapes you’d like to print on in one go.

You can print on both sides of the clay shape. I chose to work with the 5”x7” Gelli Arts® gel printing plate because I could fit my clay shape on there twice. So if I wanted I could print the front and the back of the shape with the same layer of paint from my plate.

My clay shapes are only 3” tall, so I specifically looked for stencils that have patterns to fit that small scale.

Use tissue paper to lift paint from the plate. You can carefully clean your brayer on the same paper too. Keep the tissue paper aside to use for collage later on.

Keep layering the prints on the clay shapes until you are happy with the results.

Step 7: Dab a drop of paint on a cosmetic sponge and run it along the edges of the clay shapes if you’d like to get rid of the white clay trim.

Use matte medium or decoupage glue to collage snippets of your tissue paper onto the clay shapes. The thin paper will add more layers to the clay shapes without adding any bulk. The adhesive will turn the white tissue almost transparent, and the collaged pieces will blend with the gel printed background.

Another way you can adorn your mixed media ornaments is with paint pen markers and doodles.

Step 8: Finish your mixed media ornaments by threading a pretty coordinating ribbon through the holes!

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