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Pattern making tools can come from anywhere.  While doing some home remodeling, the electrical outlets headed for the trash caught my eye.  The muse whispered in my ear that these would make great patterns for gel printing.

My husband knows that look in my eye, so he knew to save every last one of them for the play. In the video, you’ll see just 3 colors with the fancy print making tool in action.

Watch Gel printing with an electrical outlet on YouTube.

Want more gel printing fun?  Check out my resource page that has everything from getting started to techniques to use with the plate to using your prints.

I’m using the large gel plate but this technique works on any size plate.

By printing directly on the art journal, the entire background was done in a snap.  The whole page filled in with color and ready for the next layer.  What will that be? No idea, the muse hasn’t told me yet but when she does, you know I’ll share it with you.

One of the many perks of making your own papers is that you instantly have a set of coordinating papers.  I might use the brayer clean off paper to add a layer to the journal, or I might use it with one of the papers to make a quick card, or it might be collaged.

As you’re going through your day, keep an eye out for what could be potential pattern makers on the gel plate – you just might have treasures for printing where you least expect it!

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! 


There are a 1,ooo ways to use a gel plate and what do I do? One of the simplest, most basic techniques. Why would that be a good thing?  Because it kept me from falling into the trap of overthinking.

Over thinking takes all the fun out of the play and I could feel my mind heading towards being stuck in the quicksand of over thinking. In the video, you’ll see how I go simple to stay out of the trap and the spot where I started overthinking.

Watch How to Avoid Over Thinking when Art Journaling on YouTube.

Over thinking things takes the fun out of play and blank pages can quickly trap you in your head.

To avoid the trap of overthinking, just get something on there willy nilly. Put paint on the gel plate and slap it right on the journal. It doesn’t have to be any harder than that.  Use a little or a lot of paint. Use a stencil or not.

Use whatever colors you have, use whatever supplies you have and have fun adding layers to the page.

The StencilGirl stencils used on this page are all ATC sized that I designed and come 9 designs to a stencil.  This set also includes 2 masks.  Just because they are little doesn’t mean they can only do small things.  The patterns can be used to fill any size and I share how to do that in this video.

The numbers are also from an ATC stencil, but this one is designed by Mary Beth Shaw, the founder of StencilGirl.

Why didn’t I number them 1, 2, and 3?  Because I just picked a row with out overthinking it.

For all my talk about not overthinking, I got caught in over thinking the words on these 3 women.  I hunted through book text for almost 20 minutes to find the right words for them.  Why did it take so long?  It was like going on a scavenger hunt without knowing what you’re looking for. Eventually, I found the 3 “right” words and the reminder that over thinking is not where the fun happens.

If you ever want a stenciled shape or pattern to pop on a busy background, try outlining it.

The washi tape created a problem.  I wanted it to be behind the women and not just on top of their legs.  That’s where the mask that is included with the stencil was so helpful.  It let me cut the tape to the shape of her leg quickly and easily.

I do my very best to find you links to every supply that I use, but sadly, there is no link for this particular washi tape.  Just couldn’t find it anywhere.

When I scribble journal, I am writing real words but don’t worry if you can’t read them, neither can I.  It isn’t about reading the words for this type of journaling, it is about the process of honoring those thoughts and just getting them out.

Here’s where the page felt complete for now.  There might be more added to this page, and you bet I’ll share whatever happens.  Be sure to be signed up for my newsletter, that way you’ll know be in the know!

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!


What happens when women spend an entire weekend with art supplies?  Colorful play!  This past weekend I was honored to spend 3 days laughing, arting, and making with these women at Print it. Make it. Love it!  This is usually an all ladies event, but this time, there was one guy who was more than welcome.  Keep reading to find out who!

A huge thank you to our sponsors, StencilGirl Products and Deco Art Media!

From the moment they arrived, we were playing!  During check in, the demo table was open for printing and getting to know one another.

Each one of these ladies had a full size 6 foot table to herself all weekend, which meant plenty of room to spread out and dive in to the play.

80% of the women here came by themselves but the minute they walked through the door there were friends waiting for them.

A huge thank you to StencilGirl for all the stencils to play with all weekend and for making possible the limited edition stencil only for this event in their goodie bags. Can’t thank you enough StencilGirl!

Remember playing musical chairs as kid? We did a version of that but with Gel Press plates.  Lots of laughter, frenzied printing, and very talented dancing to the music by the instructors. Okay, Glenda and Kari had talent with that!

This weekend was all about gel printing and understanding the properties of a Gel Press gel plate to get amazing layered prints.

The kind of prints that make you glow.

The kind you want to frame.

The kind that have layer after layer embedded in it.

The kind that take on a weathered and aged look but were just printed.

The kind of prints that defy color rules, since that orange and green should have made mud.

There was an experimentation night, a weird and wonderful Einstein flavored night.  At a creative immersion retreat, the days are art and fun, but every evening have playful happenings too!

During our Einstein evening, we explored how anything can become a texture and pattern making tool with a gel plate.  Packing materials, rug pads, yarns, syringes, yes you read that right, and more were used for playful monoprinting.

Rainbows were everywhere this weekend, from the paint to the headgear!

Glenda Miles, the host extraordinaire, handled all the logistics making sure that all our needs were met.  Kari McKnight Holbrook and I were the instructors and mischief makers. But what about that guy I mentioned earlier?

The Rock, Dwayne Johnson. He was the guy.  Actually, there were 6 of him.  He was there to help us understand the rainbow and how to avoid making mud.  Yes, they really make The Rock action figures but that’s a custom outfit he’s wearing.

In fact, we had a box of Rocks! Yes, a retreat like this has silliness and plenty of puns!

We even gel printed rocks – nothing is safe from being printed upon.

A weekend of creative immersion means you can follow the inspiration where it takes you.  No rules, no musts, just the freedom to follow your creative impulses. Here, Jan turned 2 rocks into a book.

A huge thank you to all the women who came, shared their time, their hearts and stories, and their play this weekend!


Want to come and play, to let go, and feel the rush of creative freedom?  There is something in the works for 2019, however it hasn’t been announced yet. But it’s coming soon.  If you’re signed up for my newsletter, you’ll know know as soon as it is released!