Gelli Arts® gel printing without a brayer is like painting without a brush. While you can undoubtedly gel print without one, a rubber brayer is generally considered essential for gel plate printing.
Brayers come in many different shapes and sizes. There are hard rubber brayers and soft rubber brayers. In addition, there are brayers, like the Gelli Arts® Student Brayer, that pop out for easy cleaning.
They’re all perfectly suitable for gel printing. Which one is best depends on your personal preference, the size of your plate and perhaps your budget.
Watch the video to find out more about brayers and gel printing:
So to recap: Rolling the brayer back and forth will only push the paint around, and it can also lift paint from the plate.
The best way to distribute the paint in a thin, even layer is to roll the brayer, lift it up from the plate, roll again, lift it up from the plate… etc.
Always roll the brayer with a light touch. Pushing it onto the plate will cause stripes in the paint.
The best brayer size
While the size of the brayer is down to personal preference, the rule of thumb is: you need a small brayer for a small plate and a larger brayer for a larger plate.
Just imagine how long it will take you to cover a 12 “x14” Gelli Arts® gel printing plate with a teeny tiny brayer. The paint will be dry before you’ve had a chance to pull a print!
How to clean a brayer
I’m sure there are many methods for cleaning a brayer. I’m just giving you the ways that have been successful for me.
The easiest way is to clean your brayer right away: you will be able to wipe the paint off with a damp cloth or a baby wipe.
If your roller is caked in dry paint, you can first try if you can peel the paint off. If that isn’t possible for your brayer, you can soak the roller in hot water.
You do not have to add anything to the water; however, you can add soap if you feel it’s needed. Murphy’s Oil Soap and Biotex (hand-wash) laundry detergent both work well.
After a while, the paint will have softened, and you will be able to peel or rub the paint right off.
Sometimes an additional scrub is needed, depending on the media you used.
Dispose of the paint residue responsibly. Please don’t pour it down the drain!
We would love to hear from you what your favourite brayer is and what you do to clean it. So please share in the comments!
Speedball Soft Rubber Brayers
Grafix Impress Print Media Inking Palette pad
Damp microfiber cloth
Biotex laundry detergent for hand-wash (green packaging)
Baby powder (or corn starch)