I've been doing a bit of experimenting with a DIY Gelli Plate. I fancied having a go at printing, but wasn't sure it was for me, and buying a real Gelli plate would be an expensive way of finding out it wasn't. This only uses one ancient box of gelatine sachets from the back of the cupboard
I followed (sort of) the instructions in this http://www.lindagermain.com/workshops/gelatin-printmaking-tips/how-to-make-a-gelatin-plate-for-monotype-printmaking/Youtube video.
Making the mixture is easy, but it took me ages to find a suitable tray, and I did manage to pour quite a lot on the kitchen work top, which instantly formed a glutinous mess that was hard to clear up, so my top tip is:- work on lots of newspaper.
I translated the ingredients to British measurements and it seemed to make 2½ pints. I didn’t have anything that big so I made less and may not have got the proportions right. I used 6 sachets of gelatine to 1pt of water ( ½pt cold ½ pt hot)
It set well. It didn’t have any bubbles and I was feeling pleased, but it cracked a bit when I got it out of the tray, and then I broke the corner off, so this is what I started with.
Apparently you can chop it up, melt it again in the microwave, and reset it – but I was far too impatient for that!
The good news is it works!
Here is my first ever monoprint. I just used copy paper for starters.
And here is the ghost print I made from it.
And here are some more.
I made quite a few more, but they all look pretty much like these.
Now these plates are meant to last in the fridge, covered in cling film for several weeks, but mine started falling apart almost immediately. I decided it just added to the texture and carried on regardless.
This is what it looked liked when I’d done
It cleaned up pretty well with baby wipes
– and if it weren’t falling to pieces, I’d definitely save it for another day. I might microwave it and add it to some more mix to thicken it up. Also I can’t see why you can’t use it in the tray (mine is a retro glass dressing table tray, which I definitely don’t need on a daily basis). That would stop it stretching under the pressure of the brayer, which is what seemed to do the damage.
Ease of making 4/5
Cheapness 5/5 (69p for a packet of gelatine, which was actually an unnecessary expense as I found an ancient packet in the cupboard)
Mess – a lot in my case, but that’s just me
Fun at least 10 out of 5
Even with the shortcomings of mine, I would definitely recommend it, if you want to see if gelli printing is for you, without having to shell out for an expensive gelli plate.
Now I just need to practise getting better effects.