Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Delft Blue Circle Tile Designs by Marsha Valk

Hi there! It’s Marsha here today with a fun Delft Blue-themed tutorial!

Are you playing along with the Gelli Arts® March Mania Printing Challenge on Instagram?

If you are, you know that the prompt for day 2 is CIRCLES!

Circles are such fun shapes to work with. You can use circle stencils, circle masks, bottle caps, empty tape rolls or take inspiration from Tania Ahmed’s latest blog (URL: and use one of the round shaped Gelli Arts® gel printing plates!

While thinking about the ‘circles’ prompt, my eye caught a Delft blue tile I keep on a kitchen shelf. The tile is the same size as a 5″x5″ Gelli Arts® printing plate and has a circle design!

Circles are a shape used often by the panel painters that hand-paint the tiles. Tiles with a subject surrounded by a circle are called ‘medallion tiles’.

Panel painters obviously do not use gel printing plates or acrylic paints to decorate their Delftware. Instead, they sketch the contours on the tiles with charcoal, then hand-paint the details using a water-based paint that consists of cobalt oxide.

The designs look black when they paint them on, but due to a chemical reaction, the cobalt oxide changes its color from black to the Delft blue we know during the baking process.

I did not have acrylic paint or a paint marker with the right blue colour. So I filled an empty Molotow marker with a shade I mixed by adding one part ONE4ALL Refill ‘True Blue’ with one part ‘Traffic Red’ plus a few drops of ‘Signal Black”.

If you prefer to use a brush instead of a marker, you can mix acrylic paint with a medium to give it more flow. I like to use Golden Airbrush Medium for this; however, there are many mediums that will help you change the viscosity of acrylic paint. 

Don’t use water for this; it will make the paint bead on the gel printing plate.

The second thing I had to solve was drawing the circle on the gel printing plate. I quickly learned that tracing or hand-drawing isn’t an option. All my attempts ended in wonky shapes that did not resemble circles!

Panel painters create perfect circles with the help of a turntable (somewhat like a pottery wheel). In addition, they have nifty ways to keep their hand super steady.

The solution I came up with is far more straightforward, however effective. I cut a circle template out of heavy cardstock. You could even make more than one in various sizes, so you can have a circle in any size you need!

Placing the gel printing plate on a mylar sheet makes it super simple to position the circle template in the middle of the plate. 

It also makes it easy to rotate the plate while working on your design.

But, even more importantly, it makes it possible for you to turn the plate over and check the look of your design after each new paint layer.

Happy March Mania gel printing! Remember to add #GelliArts and #MarchPrintingChallenge to your challenge entries so we can admire them too!



Gelli Arts® Printing Plate 5″x5″


Brayer 2″

Paper cut to 5.8″x5.8″ (I used Clairefontaine PaintOn Grey mixed media cardstock)

Acrylic paint marker (Mine is a Molotow Empty Pump Marker filled with Molotow ONE4ALL Refills)

Acrylic paint (Winsor & Newton Galeria Titanium White)

Round brush


Golden Airbrush Medium


Michael’s Stores

Blick Art Materials


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