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Lots of color in a gel print

When you’re gel printing, is there a magic number of colors you should use to get a good print? Should you use 3 colors or 12 colors?

Not only am I using a lot of colors, they don’t even “go together”- that is until they are layered in a gel print.

Lots of color in a gel print

There are gorgeous prints with just 1 color and there are gorgeous prints with 10+ colors. The right number of colors depends on what you like. It’s not the number of colors that makes a print turn out well.

There’s a twist to how color works on a gel plate but once you understand that, you have the freedom to use as many colors as you wish and skip the mud.

Lots of color in a gel print

What’s the trick to getting all the details to show up when you’re using an intricate stencil? Your fingertips.

Instead of using your whole hand, use your fingertips to push the paper into the paint. When you do that, you can capture all of the pattern, even on a intricate stencil like Downtown by Nat Kalbach for StencilGirl.

In the video you saw me walk my fingertips across the paper, and when I took the pull, it was pretty obvious which places I missed. O.O.P.S.! But what happens if you use the whole hand?

Lots of color in a gel print

When you use your whole hand to take a print with a detailed stencil, you only get part of the image. That’s what I did when taking the pull on the brayer clean up paper.

Understanding why you get a crisp print or a partial print gives you the freedom to create the look you want for the print.

Lots of color in a gel print

There isn’t a right or wrong when it comes to gel printing, it’s about what you like. The trick is understanding how to build layers on a gel plate so that you can create the kinds of prints you want.

Fully understanding how layering works on a gel plate takes more than 1 video so I created Mastering the Layers -an online workshop about both the techniques to create layers and the understanding of how layers interact.

Check all the details about the online workshop, Mastering the Layers and the 3 bonuses when you get signed up now.

$149 + get all 3 Bonus Lessons!

Mastering the Layers online gel printing workshop

Excited to share a Mash up collaboration with the ever fun Mary Beth Shaw with you for this month’s StencilClub release! It’s a mash up and what that means is we picked our faves from each other’s stencils and then riffed on them isolating part of the design and shifting the size up or down.

In the video, you’ll see how to use them with a gel plate for speedy stenciling and you’ll see how I handle an OOPS or two!

What’s StencilClub? It’s exclusive stencils that aren’t sold anywhere else, delivered to your door each month. It includes a 9x 12, a 6×6, and a 4×4 stencil plus there’s a members only video and downloadable PDF each month from the artist(s) who created that month’s stencils.

That means this month, you’ll get to see both our takes on playing with stencils- we’re sharing transparent parts and gelli sandwiches with club members. StencilClub is only $25 a month (yup, that includes shipping in the US)! You can find all the club details here.

The fastest way to stencil is with a gel plate. The first way I shared in the video gives you loose, mixed media type of stenciling.

But what about if you want crisp details? The fine lines of the squiggly circles were captured by putting the stencil on the plate first and then adding paint.

One of the reasons I love this mash up is the choices. After having 2 loose circle patterns, I love that there were contrasting patterns to pick from!

One of the challenges of using an altered book for a journal is that there is the middle issue. It can be tough to stencil there but if you hold the book as flat you can as you’re stenciling then the pattern will go across it.

To fill in the areas of the center that didn’t have color on them, I used an Art Crayon by Marabu.

OOPS! As soon as that white paint hit the page, I knew it was an O.O.P.S., an Outstanding Opportunity Presenting Suddenly. Never would have had that pastel touch of orange here if it wasn’t for that white paint OOPS.

When adding writing on top of paint, a patient person would wait for the paint to completely and totally dry. I’m not that patient so I use a fountain pen to scribble journal.

Fountain pens have very few parts, unlike a ballpoint pen. The tip can be wiped off if paint builds up on it, unlike felt tip pens, which struggle even on dry paint.

Gel printing directly into an art journal is one way to use these stencils, keep scrolling to see more gel printing with these!

Below are prints I made just horsing around with a gel plate and all the mash up stencils.

When you’re not gel printing directly in your art journal,what can you do with the prints? Backgrounds for art journal pages, collage, anything mixed media, and when you need a really quick card, these are so handy!

Thanks Mary Beth for being so much fun to collaborate with! This month’s StencilClub stencils ship out to you on August 15th, so get signed up before that!

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!

You can find the StencilClub stencils here.

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Can creating complex layers on a gel plate be simple? Absolutely! Layering comes down to just 2 factors. Once you know what those are, your prints aren’t random.

You can go through a lot of trial and error to get the great prints, but what if you want to get there quicker? That’s where Mastering the Layers can help.

This online workshop is about both the techniques to create layers and the understanding of how layers interact. Knowing this enables you to create the kinds of prints you want on command.

In Mastering the Layers you’ll:

  • Discover how to add layers and not mess up the bright, vibrant colors from the first pull
  • Find out simple ways to achieve interest or depth in your prints
  • Be confident in your layering choices as you fully understand the 2 key factors that impact layering
  • And much much more!

Want to feel confident with your color choices?

You can know color theory and yet still manage to come up with ugly color combinations when gel printing. That’s because color on the gel plate has a bit of a twist to it.

Once you know how to apply that twist then you can:

  • vary your color combinations so your prints don’t all look the same at the end of printing session
  • know just the right amount of paint you need to use
  • get colors to integrate and blend without a blocky look

Layered prints look thought out, yet so random at the same time. Is it serendipitous or is it planned?

There’s always an element of serendipity to gel printing, but knowing how to layer means you can steer the serendipity in the direction you want to go.

What about making a series of prints with more control? When you possess an understanding of the layering process, you can create a repeatable series of prints.

What about the ugly prints? The kind where when you add more to it, you instantly regret it because you thought you’ve ruined it? That happens to us all, including me.

There are 3 bonus lessons included right now when you join.

1st Bonus: What To Do with an Ugly Print. In this video, you’ll be looking over my shoulder to see specific ways ugly prints can be rescued. It’s not random how they’re transformed into prints you love, it’s a matter of understanding how to layer.

2nd Bonus: The Painterly Brayer that gives you the one simple thing to do to create loose brush stroke looking prints using a brayer.

3rd Bonus: The Crackle Effect where you see how create the cracked and aged look on command.

What’s included in Mastering the Layers:

  • 15 lessons all with downloadable videos
  • over 4+ hours of edited instruction – so no waiting for paint to dry! Each lesson was thoughtfully chosen to build your understanding one step at a time so you can easily apply it while printing.
  • Lifetime access
    14 day no hassle money back guarantee

Lessons in this workshop:

  • Is it a Window or Door?
  • Building Grungy Layers
  • Wet & Wild
  • How to Use Color to Your Advantage
  • Playing Peek-A-Boo with Colors
  • Painterly Prints
  • Best Friends and the Brayer
  • A Sticky Situation
  • The First Pancake and a Gel Plate
  • The Ins & Outs of Brayer Blending
  • Invisible Gel Printing
  • Fused Layers
  • Intentional Compositions
  • Dragon Scales
  • Deconstructed Layers

Limited Time Bonus Videos Included when you register:

  • Creating the Crackle Effect
  • What to do with an ugly print
  • The painterly brayer trick

$149 + get all 3 Bonus Lessons!


When does the workshop start? It begins on Monday, August 12th with a new lesson every Monday-Friday for 3 weeks

What supplies do I need? The basic supplies you’ll need a gel plate, any size, a soft rubber brayer, paper, acrylic paints, and texture/pattern making tools such as stencils and found objects like bubble wrap.

Do I need a specific kind of paint? You need acrylic paint, it can be any brand, any color. Acrylic paints are the ones that clean up with water.

I’ve never gel printed before. Can I make prints like this? Absolutely- everything you need to know is in this workshop. This is a great way to get started because this workshop includes techniques, but more importantly it breaks down the process so you can fully understand the how and why of gel printing.

I’ve been making prints for a while, will this workshop help me make better prints? Yes! Because this workshop is about more than just techniques, it’s about understanding why the layers do what they do. As you know, once you understand how a tool works, then the sky’s the limit.

How long is each lesson? The lessons are about 15 minutes long, some a little longer, some a little shorter. They are all edited so that you can get the key information and get to playing.

How long do I have to watch the videos? You have as long as you need. You have lifetime access to the workshop.

Are the videos edited? You bet. There’s no waiting for paint to dry here!

Can I watch it on an iPad or mobile device? Yes, you can watch any of the videos on any device. The videos are hosted at Vimeo and they have a mobile app so you can even download them onto your mobile device.

Is there a Facebook group? There is an optional Facebook group just for members of this workshop.

I’m new to online workshops, how does this work? To access the course materials, all you need to do is log into the classroom. There is a welcome/getting started section where you’ll find the supply list and the getting started videos. By the way, I always encourage you to use what you have and substitute with any brands, types, or colors you love.

As lessons become available to you, you’ll find them in the same place as the getting started ones. On the individual lesson pages, you’ll find the video for that technique. All the videos are downloadable. You have lifetime access once you’re a member, so you can stream them online or watch them off line- which ever fits your needs best.

You can ask questions in the classroom or in the optional Facebook group where you can share what you’re printing and see what you’re fellow classmates are making.

Is there a guarantee? Absolutely. I stand behind this workshop 100% with a 14 day no hassle money back guarantee. How does it work? Just email me within 14 days of the workshop beginning and let me know in an one line email that the workshop isn’t right for you. I’ll get you a prompt and full refund.

$149 + get all 3 Bonus Lessons!

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