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It was horrible! All I wanted to do was read an article online and there were so many ads loading slowly and impossible to close pop up videos that I couldn’t actually get the information I needed without raising my blood pressure.

This is why I have never put ads on my website and use affiliate links instead to help offset the cost of running a website. Affiliate links are a win-win. They cost you nothing and I get a small percentage for referring you when you make a purchase.

The wild thing about affiliate links, like at Amazon or Dick Blick is, that they work even if you don’t buy art supplies. For example, let’s say you use this affiliate link to look at the art books I’m reading lately.. But perhaps you already have them so you keep shopping on Amazon to buy those vitamins you just ran out of.

Since you clicked on my affiliate link to start your shopping at Amazon, I’ll get a small percentage of the vitamins purchased or anything you buy that day. Even if it isn’t art supplies. So when you get vitamins or sandals or a smoke detector, you’ll be supporting the arts! Any artist who has affiliate links you can support this way!

With Amazon Prime Days coming up, you can support the artists you enjoy! If you’re so inclined to click on one of my affiliate links as you start shopping I’m sending you a great big THANK YOU! It really does make a difference and keeps my website completely ad free! 


Why did I use black paint for this gel print? Why did I use a gel plate? Is there a reason why I chose to use watercolor crayons? Yes, there was a logical reason why I made the choices I did and I’m sharing it all with you!

When I’ve got a new stencil, especially one as fun as this one by Mary Beth Shaw, it’s logical that I want to play! There are lots of ways to play with a stencil, so why did I choose a gel plate?

Since I’m impatient and like to do things quickly, a gel plate was the most logical way to stencil. It’s the fastest way I know to stencil!

I love using old dictionary pages to make gel prints and you can use just about any paper to take a print. The only papers I stay away from are heavily coated papers like glossy inkjet photo paper. I could leave it just like this, or add a bit of color…

When I want to add color without any pressure to do it neatly, I grab watercolor crayons. All you do is scribble, draw, write, whatever you like with the crayon and then brush over it with water.

So why did I use black paint? I could have used any color but the gift of black paint is that it hides the places where I color outside the lines. That way I don’t have the pressure to do this precisely or neatly, but it will look like I did!

Since stenciling with a gel plate is so fast, I usually make more than one print. This is a great opportunity to play around with colors and variations! All of these were made with watercolor crayons. Notice how there are still crayons “lines” on some of the petals. That’s where I used more pressure when scribbling and drawing with the crayons.

This is just one way you can use stencils on a gel plate! If you’d like more ways to get more out of your stencils and deepen your understanding of layers on a gel plate, check out my online workshop Stencil-rific Layers

Here are the supplies used. Some of these links may be affiliate links which means I may get a small percentage and it doesn’t cost you anything extra! And you get a really good feeling knowing that you are helping keep the free tutorials coming!


Trash can be so exciting when gel printing! Those mesh produce bags from the grocery store can do something very cool and customizable but they also surprised me by what they didn’t do!

At my grocery store it’s fascinating how many different types of mesh bags are available, some have a very tight weave, and others a very loose weave. This technique works best with mesh that is very loose.

Why? It makes it easy to turn the grid into wavy lines. You can customize how big the waves are and how many threads you smoosh together.

When you’ve got the mesh in the shape you want, place it on the gel plate and brayer the paint over it. It’s hard to see in the photo, but the mesh isn’t totally flat on the gel plate.

Since a gel plate grabs just about anything, I was surprised when it didn’t make the mesh go totally flat. Even with that, it still printed just fine. You might have noticed that the mesh is larger than my gel plate. That’s because the edges fray very easily so if I want to cover an entire plate, I cut the mesh larger than the plate.

These are fun prints in black and white, but I couldn’t resist adding a bit of color by loosely adding watercolors to the print.

To add to the pattern, I added black dots of various sizes and topped those dots off with a white paint pen.

Once the paint dries on the mesh, it is “stuck” in that shape meaning the threads don’t move very easily and the painted areas don’t fray as easily either so it’s ready to go any time you want to make more prints with it!

This is just one technique you can use on gel plate- there are loads more and if you’re ready to get more out of your gel plate, check out my online workshops.

Next time you’re at the grocery, take a peek at the bags of onions and other produce items. There just might be in a great gel printing tool there!

Here are the supplies used. Some of these links may be affiliate links which means I may get a small percentage and it doesn’t cost you anything extra! And you get a really good feeling knowing that you are helping keep the free tutorials coming!