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Making patterns for printing with hot glue and cardboard is a time honored way to play.  But how do you get the hot glue uniformly smooth for the best printing?  What’s the no fumble way to use them when printing?  How can you stamp a good impression in an art journal using regular acrylic paint (and this used to frustrate me so much until I found a solution)?

All these secrets are revealed in the video below. Okay, secrets may be a bit dramatic but they are the tips and tricks that I learned while playing with the Gel Press plate.

Watch Tips and tricks for how to make hot glue pattern making stamps on YouTube.

You’ll need a hot glue gun, extra glue sticks, cardboard, a non stick surface, and caps, lids or little things like the mini dental floss you get when visiting the dentist.  (I get the super cheap thin non stick mats from Amazon and they are around a $1 per mat.)

When I stamp with homemade hot glue pattern stamps and acrylic paint directly onto paper, the image is spotty at best.  The paint had to be loaded on it, and then only some of it transferred.  Lots of wasted paint, disappointment and frustration.

But if I stamp onto a Gel Press plate, then quickly take the print of it, I get a whole lot of the pattern and detail.  All the wonderful color mixtures here, all loaded up on the stamp while making a traditional gel print, transferred directly onto the art journal page.

All those wibbly wobbly circles in my journal make me so happy and the big trick for doing this is to have the paper or art journal right next to you and ready, since the paint is so thin it will dry very quickly.

I was so excited about this big circles stamp, I totally forgot to play with the single circle I made in the video! OOPS!  Twist my arm…guess that means I need to go and make some more prints!

Curious to know more about gel printing?  I’ve got a step by step video and downloadable guide to get you started.

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Sealing gelatos in an art journal video by Carolyn Dube

What do I do when I want to play but don’t want to tackle a blank page?  I flip through my art journals and see which page calls to me.  That’s one of the perks of having random backgrounds and pages in progress sprinkled throughout.

The page that called to me was loaded with brown, which usually affects me like Kryptonite does Superman, but not this time.  Perhaps it was the words, “Where You Start” that intrigued me as a reminder that where I start isn’t the important part.  The important part is that I do start.

The rainbow is courtesy of Gelatos and yes there was a bit of an OOPS that happened while sealing them.

Watch How I Seal Gelatos in an Art Journal on YouTube.

New to gel printing?  I’ve got a step by step video and downloadable guide to get you started.

Here’s the Kryptonite brown page that has repelled me for months…possibly even years.

Sealing gelatos in an art journal video by Carolyn Dube

The rainbow has arrived on this page courtesy of Gelatos!  Smearing and scribbling with creamy color turned this page from something I didn’t like to something I was loving.

Sealing gelatos in an art journal video by Carolyn Dube

Gelatos react to water, so as I thought about possible layers on top of them, I decided to seal them.  Using a Gel Press printing plate and some fluid matte medium (basically any runny glue), I sealed it without smearing.

The O.O.P.S. (Outstanding Opportunity Presenting Suddenly) happened when I used copious amounts of the glue.  It was sealed just fine with a Gel Press plate but more glue needs more time to dry…which is tough on an impatient person like myself.
Sealing gelatos in an art journal video by Carolyn Dube

What was the opportunity in that heavy coat of glue? It got me to stop contemplating what the next layer might be and fall even more deeply in love with the colors and texture on this page.

I know I could’ve used a heat gun to speed the drying along but I am just not much of a heat gun person.  But I am a rainbow person, so this page, even though it feels unfinished in some ways feels perfectly finished in others.

Sealing gelatos in an art journal video by Carolyn Dube

The muse is right. It doesn’t matter for me where I start, even if it’s with brown.  What matters is that I start!

Here are the supplies I 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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There were so many OOPSies on this page that started by randomly collaging scraps...the rubber stamping OOPS, the ugly pink OOPS, and more! Video by Carolyn DubeTreasures were used to create this art journal page.  Were these expensive treasures?  Nope. Would they be considered trash by many? Yes!  These treasures were a bag of scraps of paper that I had been saving in my studio for a very long time that I decided was time to use them or lose them courtesy of the recent studio purge from my last post.

In the video, you’ll see this bag of treasure then my rubber stamping OOPS and then the pink paint OOPS.  Plenty of OOPSies in this one!  But all those Outstanding Opportunities Presenting Suddenly turned out to be just what I needed for the page…especially the pink rectangle I detested!

Watch The Ugly Pink Rectangle OOPS in my Art Journal on YouTube.

Doesn’t this all look like treasure? These scraps of gel prints from die cutting, a favorite stenciled image on book text, and more!  No idea why a bag of this looked like trash to my husband.

There were so many OOPSies on this page that started by randomly collaging scraps...the rubber stamping OOPS, the ugly pink OOPS, and more! Video by Carolyn Dube

In case you didn’t know…crisp and clear rubber stamping is tough on an uneven surface, like this art journal page of glued down scraps.  I thought at least a little more of her would show up but no.  OOPS.  Instead of being a sophisticated woman…she is wearing 3D glasses and has a goatee.

You’re probably wondering which companies make all these rubber stamps that I used.  Me too.  I have no idea since they are all unmounted red rubber with no names on them.    If anyone knows who they belong to I will happily update this.

There were so many OOPSies on this page that started by randomly collaging scraps...the rubber stamping OOPS, the ugly pink OOPS, and more! Video by Carolyn Dube

As if this didn’t already have enough color going on..paint time! Loved almost every single color.

There were so many OOPSies on this page that started by randomly collaging scraps...the rubber stamping OOPS, the ugly pink OOPS, and more! Video by Carolyn Dube

And here is that pink rectangle that I did not like.  At all.  OOPS.  But I trusted the OOPS and in the end it did not disappoint.  It was in just the perfect spot.

There were so many OOPSies on this page that started by randomly collaging scraps...the rubber stamping OOPS, the ugly pink OOPS, and more! Video by Carolyn Dube

If it was nearly impossible to get a good image of her stamped directly in the journal, then there had to be a better way.   She was stamped on scrap paper and just glued in place.  I stamped her 3 times and cut them out but only used one…and now you know how the treasure builds up in the studio.

There were so many OOPSies on this page that started by randomly collaging scraps...the rubber stamping OOPS, the ugly pink OOPS, and more! Video by Carolyn Dube

Using the ever handy Post It notes, I created a quick mask to add some words to this page that poke a little bit of fun at what flashed through my head as I started collaging with the hoarded scraps, guilt over not having not made time to use my these treasures sooner.

I used a very fluid paint for stenciling so that meant if I wanted to get a crisp image, I had to dab the cosmetic sponge off several times to be sure it wasn’t juicy.

There were so many OOPSies on this page that started by randomly collaging scraps...the rubber stamping OOPS, the ugly pink OOPS, and more! Video by Carolyn Dube

Now that I captured the guilt, I also wanted to honor the fun part of it, the journey of the play.  After all, I could have stopped at any point, but instead I chose to take the journey and see where it led!

There were so many OOPSies on this page that started by randomly collaging scraps...the rubber stamping OOPS, the ugly pink OOPS, and more! Video by Carolyn Dube

One last thing was needed on this page…some scribble journaling.  That ugly pink rectangle was just the place for it.

There were so many OOPSies on this page that started by randomly collaging scraps...the rubber stamping OOPS, the ugly pink OOPS, and more! Video by Carolyn Dube

What an adventure these scraps of paper took me on from the guilt to the rainbow to the OOPSies but most of all, the fun of play!

There were so many OOPSies on this page that started by randomly collaging scraps...the rubber stamping OOPS, the ugly pink OOPS, and more! Video by Carolyn Dube
Here are the supplies I 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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