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Why do I get so excited about caps and lids that are about to be thrown away?  It’s not because it means everyone has been taking their vitamins. Although that is a good thing.   It is because caps are perfectly round and come in a variety of sizes to make an easy pattern tool for the gel plate.

I had to laugh at myself when I was arranging the caps because I liked several different configurations but it was a struggle to pick the one that I would glue down. As if I couldn’t save up more lids and do this again.

Watch Using Trash to Make a Pattern Tool for a Gel Printing on YouTube.

New to gel printing? To get you started, I’ve got a getting started video and downloadable guide for you.

I collect all sorts of lids and caps so when I want to make a pattern making tool for the gel plate, I have a stash to pick from.  The first step is sorting out any lids that are the same height.

In the video you can see how I arranged them and then glued them down onto a piece of cardboard.  Hot glue was my glue of choice simply because I didn’t have to wait for it to dry.

The magic of gel printing is the variation in the prints from the first print to the second,or ghost prints. I used the 8 x 10 size Gel Press plate, but naturally, you can use any size gel plate.

Had a lot of caffeine recently? If you’ve got those hand shakes this a great time to use them to your advantage when making prints like these orange ones.

When printing, I usually swoon over the ghost prints.  What about you.  Do you prefer the first print or the ghost when you use a gel plate?

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Arting Out Pesky Feelings

Arting out feelings to deal with life by Carolyn Dube

Why do I keep paper on my counter?  Is it to protect my counter?  Not really.  It does protect the counter and catches the color that runs off but it’s main purpose is to be a big something to art on when needed.  Today I needed that arting.

It began with a bit of gel printing…if you look closely you can see the circles from the Impressable plate by Jen Starr for Gel Press. Then I threw the kitchen sink at it.  Sharpie marker, oil pastels, paint, and repeat!

Arting out feelings to deal with life by Carolyn Dube

What I was drawing was not renaissance art.  It was rapid, impulsive, and free.  I needed that.  I had just gotten off a phone call trying to sort out an insurance mix up and I didn’t get anywhere with it.  If you have ever had one of those calls, you know the frustration I was feeling!

Arting out feelings to deal with life by Carolyn Dube

There is something very freeing to me when I am working on a larger surface.  Thankfully, after a little color play, I had shaken off the frustrations and could get back to my regularly scheduled day!

Arting out feelings to deal with life by Carolyn Dube

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Playing around on a hot mess of a canvas with Stencilgirl stencils and distress crayons

Cleaning and play can go hand in hand. Not house cleaning…but cleaning excess paint off stencils.  My fast and favorite way to clean off an inky or painty stencil, especially when gel printing, is by blotting it off on another surface like an art journal or in this case a wood panel.

Since this is not the actual piece I was working on as the stencils got painty, I just tossed them on to it willy nilly. Clearly there were no worries of colors being placed strategically since this is a bit of a hot mess.  Excess paint was stenciled too since I usually have way too much paint on my palette.  Wasting color is a crime to my muse so I use every drop possible.

Playing around on a hot mess of a canvas with Stencilgirl stencils and distress crayons

Now that I had a messy place to start, the play began with careful mark making.  If you’ve seen much of my play you probably heard a bit of sarcasm in the “careful mark making”.  I just scribbled away like a little kid with Distress Crayons.
Playing around on a hot mess of a canvas with Stencilgirl stencils and distress crayons

This still looks like a big hot mess.  It has no direction and no pressure to be anything but play full of happy moments seeing the layers of colors build up.

Playing around on a hot mess of a canvas with Stencilgirl stencils and distress crayons

Paint was smeared in areas for no reason other than the fun of smearing paint and that created some open spaces.  Those open areas created places to stencil the words that summed up the meaning and reason for this piece.  Play Today.

Playing around on a hot mess of a canvas with Stencilgirl stencils and distress crayons

I could have stopped at just one Play Today, but why!  If one Play Today was good, then more is better!

Playing around on a hot mess of a canvas with Stencilgirl stencils and distress crayons

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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