Gel Printing with Printmaking Inks by Marsha Valk

Hi there! It’s Marsha here today with a video to show you how you can use printmaking inks on your Gelli Arts® gel printing plate.

I’m a huge fan of gel printing with acrylic paints. The big advantage for me is that acrylic paints dry fast, which means I can also work quickly.

However, you might want to take it slow for some prints, especially when you find that the acrylic paint dries too fast for the technique you want to execute. Or when you find that the acrylic paint isn’t thin and sheer enough for the detail and transparent layers you want to achieve.

In that case, it may be worth investigating Gelli Arts® gel printing with printmaking inks.

Gel printing with printmaking inks is very different from printing with acrylic paint.

Watch me print with oil-based washable printmaking ink in this video:

Printmaking inks, like OPEN acrylics, have an extended drying time that you can use to your advantage.

The printmaking inks I have are oil-based inks that you can clean up with soap and water. You cannot apply or mix them directly on your Gelli Arts® gel printing plate.

You need to roll them out into a thin layer on an inking palette first before you can use your brayer to roll them onto the gel plate. A tiny amount can go an incredibly long way, and the ink on your inking palette will likely stay workable all day.

You can thin and dilute printmaking inks with oil, and there are also extenders available that you can use to increase the transparency of the ink.

One of the downsides of gel printing with printmaking inks is that ideally, you should let each layer dry properly in between pulls. And drying times vary from a day up to a week.

However, the big advantage for me is that you can take as long as you want to compose your image, print very thin layers, and the details the ink picks up are unrivalled.

Happy printing with printmaking inks! Please share the prints you make with us on Instagram using the hashtag #gelliartsmade. We would love to see them!



5 “x7” Gelli Arts® printing plate

Caligo Safe Wash Relief Ink

Charbonnel Aqua Wash Etching Ink

Caligo Safe Wash Oil

Soft rubber rollers

Inking palette (Grafix Impress Inking Palette)

Drawing paper (A5 size)

Masks (I cut mine out of Grafix Matte Dura-Lar

Textured paper, sewing thread


Michael’s Stores

Blick Art Materials

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