Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Opaque + Transparent Layers by Marsha Valk

Hi there! It’s Marsha here today sharing a series of small monoprints printed with opaque as well as transparent paint colours.

Have you ever wondered what the little square icons on your paint tubes mean?

These squares tell you all about the opacity level of the paint colour.

There are four types:





Not every brand uses the squares, however most professional and student-grade paints have some kind of indicator that tells you the type of opacity level you’re dealing with.

The opacity of a paint can have a huge impact on the outcome of a layered print! So it’s worth noting if it’s a transparent or an opaque colour before you roll it out on your Gelli Arts® gel printing plate.

In general you can say that opaque colours cover whatever’s underneath while transparent colours will only create sheer layers on top of it. 

Opaque colours give good results on both white and coloured paper. 

Be mindful that some opaque colours may not provide complete coverage in just one layer, especially not when printing light over dark. 

Think of it like painting a red wall white. You will probably end up with a pinkish colour first!

As transparent colours are see-though, they give the brightest results on white or light paper.

When gel printing transparent layers you always have to take the colour you want to print on top of into account, because it will always shine through. 

So, when your first layer is red and you want to print transparent yellow over it, the overlapping parts will turn out orange. 

You can use this characteristic to your advantage: if a part of your print is too yellow, you can change the colour easily with just a sheer layer of transparent paint. Much like a glaze!

A colour wheel can be a handy tool to figure out what to expect when transparent colours mix or overlap.

Please share your gel prints on Instagram using #gelliarts and #gelliartsmade. We love to see your work!

Have lots of fun experimenting with transparent and opaque colours! 



Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plate 5”x7”

4” roller


Grafix Matte Dura-Lar 

Acrylic paint

Heavy body acrylics

Paper (black, white, grey cut to 4.75”x4.75”)

Bookpaper (cut to 4.5”x4.5”)

Repositionable adhesive dot roller


Michael’s Stores

Blick Art Materials

Marsha’s Instagram
Marsha’s Facebook
Gelli Arts® Instagram
Gelli Arts® Facebook
Sign up to receive emails + special offers from Gelli Arts®

3 thoughts on “Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Opaque + Transparent Layers by Marsha Valk”

  1. One of the best videos on gel printing that I have ever seen!
    It explained so much. But, I was torn between watching the action or reading the comments. Does Marsha have this same info some where else that I could access? I usually try to hurry the videos forward; but this one, I wanted to slow down!

  2. sewzallsquirrels

    Good video explaining the basics of paints without the complications of elaborate stencils. The seemingly simple shapes and colors create strong prints.

Leave a Reply to BJBCancel reply