Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Image Resist Transfer Gel Printing by Marsha Valk

Hi there! It’s Marsha here today, answering your most pressing questions about Image Resist Transfer Gel Printing.

So let’s get started right away with this video:

Q: How do I start with image resist transfer gel printing?

You’ll need a Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plate, a brayer, acrylic paint, paper to print on and printed matter (magazines, books, brochures, catalogues) or laser-printed images.

Q: Does it require a specific acrylic paint?

We recommend soft to medium-body professional or student-grade acrylic paint for this technique.

Q: What paper do you recommend?

Any smooth paper works: copy paper, drawing paper, bristol, fine art paper, tissue paper. Try a couple and see which one you like best!

Q: Which magazines work best?

This is the most challenging question to answer! 

We only have access to some of the magazines available worldwide. And unfortunately, not all magazines are printed the same way.

Q: Does the magazine paper matter?

Contrary to popular belief, it works with all kinds of paper. Sometimes matte paper transfers well. And sometimes glossy paper does very little. So the type of paper isn’t a great indicator of whether a magazine will transfer.

However, glossy high-fashion or lifestyle magazines do give good results for many people worldwide.

Q: How does image resist printing work?

The offset ink on the printed matter repels the acrylic paint on the plate.

And at the same time, the acrylic paint adheres to the parts of the page where there is little to no offset ink.

Q: Help! I can’t make any printed matter transfer!

So the type of ink the printer or publisher used to print the magazine, book or catalog is key. 

And, unfortunately, you can’t tell if a magazine or catalog will transfer by looking at the pages. So you’ll have to test lots to see which printed matter works for you.

How to test if a magazine is the right magazine for image resist transfer gel printing: 

1. Gather a varied selection of magazines, brochures, and old books. 

2. Take one and see if it will transfer.

3. If it doesn’t, try again, but see if lifting the image more swiftly makes a difference.

4. If that doesn’t help, note that this particular magazine title does not work.

5. Move on to the next title until you find one that transfers.

Q: Do you need to let the paint dry between layers?

No, you don’t have to. You can pull a print immediately if you are quick and confident and know your paint doesn’t dry fast.

If your paint dries too fast, you can always mix in a slow dry medium.

Q: How much time do you let it dry between layers?

How fast acrylic paint dries depends on the climate in the room you’re working in. 

It can take seconds in a hot and dry climate; however, it could take much longer in humid conditions.

It can be tempting to speed up the drying process. However, never use heat on the gel plate! Try using a fan instead.

Q: How do you get a clean pull?

Here are some Image Resist Transfer Gel Printing tips that can make a huge difference:

1. Take time to pull warm-up prints.

2. Choose a high-contrast image. When in doubt, always go for a BW image!

3. Wait for the image to dry before you add a new layer of paint.

4. Check if your brayer is clean and dry. If not, clean it!

5. Triple-check if the image is fully dry.

6. Cover the roller of your brayer with paint before rolling it on the gel plate

Q: Why does my paper stick to the Gelli® plate?

This usually occurs when the paint is dry, but the paper isn’t. So if the paper feels damp, let it dry before you pull your print. And, if that doesn’t help, try a less absorbent, calendared type of paper for gel printing.

Q: I can never get transfers to work.

We hear you. We really do. You can try one more thing, though: the StazOn method! This method is easier to master and has a higher success rate.

Start with a layer of StazOn permanent stamping ink and let that dry. Once the StazOn is dry, you can proceed as usual.

Birgit Koopsen explains the method in more detail in this blog post:
Image Resist Printing Using StazOn + Gelli Arts® by Birgit Koopsen (

Q: Could you do this with photographs?

Yes, you can transfer your own laser-printed material.

The images need to be high-contrast pure black-and-white, and you need to be able to print them with as much black toner as possible.

You need a gentle touch and act super fast to pull a successful laser print transfer.

So it’s best to practice with magazine pages before you move on to laser-printed images.

Find more info on transfer printing with laser-printed images in this blog post:

Laser Image Transfer Prints with Gelli Arts® by Marsha Valk (

Q: Can I use it with fabric? Wood? Canvas?

Yes, you can image resist transfer onto smooth(ish), flat surfaces like fabric, wood or clay.

It is also possible to transfer onto canvas; however, the image will likely have a distressed look due to the texture of the canvas.

You might prefer printing on tissue paper first and pasting that onto the canvas.

Q: Does this only work with acrylics?

No, I’ve had some luck with printmaking inks and oil paint too. So it’s always worth experimenting with the supplies you already have!

Q: Can it really work this easily?

Yes. And, no.

The resist image transfer gel printing technique can be tough to master. Especially if you are new to gel printing. 

There are a lot of factors at play that you can’t control. You may have to practice a lot before you see any results. Don’t let that discourage you!

Sometimes image transfers fail, no matter how experienced you are.

Keep trying! We know you can do this!

Happy Image Resist Transfer Gel Printing!



Gelli Arts® Printing Plate 5″x7″



Acrylic paint (soft to medium body professional or student-grade acrylic paint)

Paper (for example copy/printer paper, drawing paper, bristol, tissue paper, fine art paper)

Printed matter (for example magazines, books, brochures, catalogues)

High-contrast laser-printed images


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Blick Art Materials


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9 thoughts on “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Image Resist Transfer Gel Printing by Marsha Valk”

  1. My transfers are getting better and better thanks to Marsha Valk and also to Birgit Koopsen. Thank you both (and gelliarts of course). 🙂

    1. Would this work with packing tape do you think? I like to overlap my edges just a bit to get a full sheet of image instead of strips, but it takes careful pulling.

  2. LucyLee Reuther

    Loved this video. Great detail & easy to follow directions. I have a question. If you print from a magazine with images on both sides (such as the leaf pattern you did) and also want to transfer an image from the other side can that be done? Thanks

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