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Gel Printing with a Roll of Toilet Paper

Just about anything can become a pattern making tool on a gel plate! Even toilet paper! Now that it’s not as precious as it was earlier this year thanks to Covid, I’m ready to make prints with it!

What I’m sharing here is just the tip of the iceberg of what you can do with common everyday items from around your home. In my online workshop, Playing with Found Patterns, you’ll get step-by-step techniques that guide you to fully understanding why what happens on a gel plate happens. This means no more guessing how to make a print you love! Check out all the details here.

Start by adding some paint to your Gel Press plate. Any kind of acrylic paint you like to use is great! The press the toilet paper into the paint.

What brand of toilet paper am I using? No idea! I tend to buy inexpensive toilet paper and for this technique, brand doesn’t matter one bit!

You can squish the roll of toilet paper to create a more oval shape. I’m using a large Gel Press plate here but the technique (and toilet paper) works any size!

What type of paper should you use to take your prints? Any kind you like. I’m using a cardstock because I like how it feels. I’ll use just about any kind of paper. The only kind I stay away from are heavily coated papers, like inkjet photo paper.

Ugly layers are a gift. Truly. This print that I adore, would not have been possible if it wasn’t for some very ugly layers that you saw in the video above.

I encourage you to take a look around your home, your kitchen, the recycle bin, and of course the bathroom for pattern making tools you can use for printing! If you’d like to know more ways to use those found patterns on your gel plate, check out Playing with Found Patterns.

Here are the supplies used. Some of these links are affiliate links which means I get a small percentage. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and it helps keep the free tutorials coming!


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  • Martha Geist July 15, 2020, 4:14 pm

    Well, since all hotels have the tp rolling over the top, I decided THAT is the right and only way to do it!!!!

  • Elaine July 17, 2020, 8:36 pm

    I was told by someone who worked in the hotel business that the paper goes OVER the roll. That way, you don’t touch what the next person will use.
    I thought that was very informative and a good reason for winning the “battle”!!
    LOL!!!

  • Sheryl J July 17, 2020, 8:40 pm

    Over the top. Always! lol !

  • Sharyl Peterson July 17, 2020, 9:03 pm

    LOVED the video! As to which way is the right way, interestingly, my husband and I managed to get through about 20 years together before it became a discussion, because basically, neither one of us had a preference. Then I read something somewhere (who knows what or where) that offered a good argument for having it come over the top. We started doing that, most of the time, if we think about it. I now want to go grab one of those rolls, and make some “over the top” art with it! Can’t wait to try the metallic overprint — wayyyyy cool!

  • Jill Brax July 17, 2020, 9:32 pm

    Definitely over the top!

  • Lisa Klein July 18, 2020, 12:05 am

    I had the EXACT conversation with my husband about the toilet. Never knew it bothered him after 25 years of marriage. Now I wonder what else he is keeping silent about! LOL

  • Bonnie July 18, 2020, 1:10 am

    Hi Carolyn, I’m and under tp gal. Drives me bananas when it’s over, you pull way too much out when the paper is over. Yes, ugly is a gift,I have lots of uglys in Card making to prove it with many different mediums. Thanks for the prints and your cheerful videos.

  • LINDA SHEWBRIDGE July 18, 2020, 1:40 am

    I am right handed and I put the paper coming over the top; my husband is left handed and he puts the role with the paper coming under. Toilet paper is a cool idea!!!

  • Rhonda July 18, 2020, 10:43 am

    Love all the playful colors. Looks like fun and yes the correct way to put TP on is OVER the top. HA .TFS!!!!!!

  • Stephanie July 18, 2020, 1:38 pm

    Love it! I’m over the top tp person! Makes more sense!

  • Julie July 18, 2020, 2:53 pm

    Thank you for sharing your fun spirited play on the gelli plate…and with a roll of toilet paper. A great story. A great play toy with more than one use. A must try.

    • Julie July 18, 2020, 2:54 pm

      I am an under person and my husband after 43 years would have no idea.

  • Mike July 18, 2020, 5:19 pm

    Here’s the $64,000. question. I bet I know the answer. When your husband found a new TP roll on the tube that was spooling off in the “wrong” direction according to his preference, did he once, just once, change it to his preferred way in those 25 years???? I bet not, since for some reason, the placing of a new roll of TP seems to require a uterus. 😂

  • Terry July 19, 2020, 7:28 pm

    I read an article years ago that claimed that people with cats put their TP under the roll so playful felines won’t spool out the whole roll when they’re feeling frisky. (I haven’t found that to necessarily be true among the people I know.)