Gelli Arts® Gel Printing with Felt Tips and Paint Markers by Marsha Valk

Hi there! It’s Marsha here today with some ideas for you to try with felt tip pens and paint markers!

Check out my video:

I don’t know about you; however, I tend to want to spend less time in my (sometimes sweltering) art space in summer.

So I like to create an art-on-the-go-kit that I can grab to bring to my (much cooler) living room, into the garden or take along when I go on a little trip or vacation.

The point of the kit is to select art supplies that do not take up a lot of space and are versatile in use.

Felt tip pens and paint markers are perfect for this, and I can fit many of them in my toiletry bag.

Felt tip pens can be used to draw, color and doodle with. And because the ink is water-soluble, I can use them as watercolours too.

The ink in felt tip pens is similar to the ink in dye ink pads. This means they will bead up on the slick surface of the gel plate, especially when the plate is still brand new.

Don’t let that discourage you, though! On the contrary, if you are open to embracing the imperfections and ready to experiment a bit, you may find that they are a lot of fun to work with on the gel plate.

Felt tip pens come in a variety of price ranges. In the video, I use affordable ones intended for kids and higher-end ones that you can find at an art store. They all basically do the same thing, so you can use whichever kind you have at home.

Acrylic paint markers can also be used to draw, colour and doodle. And if I pump the marker, I can create a little puddle of ink that I can use with a dip pen or a brush.

The ink in a paint marker has a viscosity similar to high-flow paints, so something in between acrylic ink and fluid paints. So not only can I use it to paint but also to gel print with! 

This means I can also toss a Gelli Arts® printing plate and a brayer into my kit without having to add any acrylic paints!

For paper, I like to work on blank postcard-sized cardstock or in a sketchbook with good quality paper.

It’s important to note that acrylic paint pens make paper stick to the plate more. To avoid the paper from tearing, it’s key to give the ink and paper a chance to dry. Damp paper will easily tear.

Another trick I like to do is peel the gel plate from the paper very slowly rather than try to peel the paper from the plate. 

In the video, you can see me do it when I gel print directly into my sketchbook; however, it works with a sheet of paper too!

I like to work in a sketchbook because it takes away some of the pressure of creating a masterpiece every single time. 

I feel that, especially in summer, you have a chance to take the time to just create for the sake of creating. So experiment a bit, play with your supplies, and enjoy!

Happy gel printing!



5″x7″ Gelli Arts® Printing Plate



A couple of felt tips (any kind you have – I like the ones with broader or brush tips)

A couple of paint markers (any kind you have – I would choose at least one white in a broader tip)

A magazine (or some copy paper)

Sketchbook (Hahnemühle Travel Booklet)

Cardstock (postcard size)

Spray bottle of water

Rag/paper towel

A small bottle of baby oil

One or two texture makers (lace trim, corrugated cardboard, burlap, feathers, leaves, combs)

Masks and stencils


A small bottle of matte medium

Pens, mechanical pencil, coloured pencils/wax crayons


Glue stick

One roll of washi tape



Pencil sharpener


Cosmetic sponge


Michael’s Stores

Blick Art Materials


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5 thoughts on “Gelli Arts® Gel Printing with Felt Tips and Paint Markers by Marsha Valk”

  1. i like the posca pens but found after I’ve drawn with them on the gellipad they go fuzzy and unclear when i print onto paper. I am not putting an acrylic layer over the pen marks, is that why?

    1. Hi Tricia! Yes, I’ve noticed that the paint in Poscas is a bit more fluid and beads up (or creates a little dome) on the plate if you do not roll it out.

      So when you place the paper on the plate, you push the paper into the wet ink, causing the feathering.

      Waiting a moment before you pull the print makes the feathering a little less prominent. However, you can also wait until the marks on the plate are dry entirely and pull them up without any fuzziness with a new layer of paint.

      I’ve found that Poster-Paint Sharpies react the same, however the other (acrylic) paint markers I tried do not feather at all. So if you have some other brands in your stash, you can try to see how those work for you! Hope this helps!! 🙂

  2. Can tempera paints be used much like the acrylic pens? I have tempera pens with no real use for them. This seems like the perfect choice.

    1. Hi Brooke! You can certainly try. The paint can tends to bead up on the plate because of the water content with the tempera paints. Paint pens sometimes do that too, but not as much. You could play with the tempera, let some of the moisture evaporate before applying it to the plate or perhaps try to build it up in thin layers. We have tested the tempera paint brand Crayola Premier and it works the best of a bunch we tested a few years ago. Hope this helps and happy printing!

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