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How a Gel Plate Helps Me Play in my Art Journal

Gel printing with stencils tutorial sharing how to build up layers in an art journal by Carolyn Dube

Control is a creativity killer for me.  My left brain likes control, which is quite helpful in some areas of my life, but not when it comes to art and play.

Letting go of control is easier said than done but I have found ways to help myself do it. One way is by using a tool or supply, like a gel printing plate, that I can’t completely predict. That means I can’t completely control it either.  My left brain has no choice but to deal with less control.

In the video, I’m using a Gel Press printing plate and building up layers of color and pattern with a stencil directly in an art journal.  You’ll see how I handle it when the print doesn’t go quite the way I wanted.  OOPS!

Watch How a Gel Plate Helps Me Play in my Art Journal on YouTube.

Adding the quin magenta was the big O.O.P.S., an Outstanding Opportunity Presenting Suddenly.  Didn’t like what the opportunity was in that moment but it was there.  Without that magenta, it never could have become the page that has become a favorite of mine!

Gel printing with stencils tutorial sharing how to build up layers in an art journal by Carolyn Dube

Just layering one stencil over and over let the colors of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics build and create scrumptious color variation.  Here’s a close up of the layers.

Gel printing with stencils tutorial sharing how to build up layers in an art journal by Carolyn Dube

Since this is play, I am under no contractual obligation to complete this page in one session. Or in one day.  I’m enjoying this background and all the bits of colors mingling together for now.  When the muse is ready, she’ll let me know what to do next.

Of course I’ll share what I do next to this page.  Want to be sure you don’t miss it?  Then just keep an eye out for my newsletter in your inbox.  Not signed up yet?  No problem- join the fun here!

Now you’ve seen my play, let’s see yours!  Share what you’re creating with us all in the Facebook group and be inspired by what others are creating! And be sure to leave a comment here to get entered in the monthly $50 gift certificate giveaway!

Gel printing with stencils tutorial sharing how to build up layers in an art journal by Carolyn Dube

What is Let’s Play?  It’s all about rediscovering the ability to play. Each month I share a specific strategy that helped me recapture the freedom and fun of play.  This month’s theme is letting go of control. You can see more of the Let’s Play series here. Be sure to get entered in the $50 Dick Blick giveaway by leaving a comment.

September's Let's Play all about HOW to let yourself play and be creative!

Want to see more Let’s Play videos? You can find all the weekly posts here.

Sharing your play:   I, and a whole bunch of others, would love to see what you’re creating!  We’re sharing it in the Facebook group called A Colorful Place to Play. Why Facebook?  I’ve listened to your feedback about how and where you’d like to share your play instead of the link parties.

Monthly giveaways:  Leave comment on any (and all for more chances) of the weekly Let’s Play blog posts to be entered and one winner each month will be chosen by random.org.  Want more chances to win a $50 gift certificate to DickBlick.com?  Pin any of the images from the page or share about it on Facebook- then come back and leave a comment telling me what you did and you can have more chances to win! Giveaway closes the Sunday,October 3rd at 11 pm EST and the winner will announced on the blog the following Monday.

Congrats to Barbara, last month’s winner!

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 you are helping me keep this blog and my videos ad free! Thank you- I don’t like ads any more than you do!

{ 25 comments… add one }

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  • Muriel September 27, 2016, 1:30 am

    Love love love! On my “techniques to try” list.

  • Cynthia Tuttle September 27, 2016, 9:20 am

    I would love to win a Dick Blick gift certificate!! I could get the biggest Gelli Plate and play just like you do!!

  • Barbara McLachlan September 27, 2016, 9:58 am

    I just live your videos Carolyn,. I havn’t got Gell plate yet!!! But I have had fun experimenting with a Faux plate. A heat resisant baking sheet and also a small scrap book sleeve protector. But buying one is on my to do list. Im hopefully going to a craft fare in Portsmouth (UK) next month with a group of crafting friends. If I dont see one there, I will order on line.

    Barbara McLachlan.

  • Sheridan September 27, 2016, 10:47 am

    what a cool idea! I love the depth you achieved with the stencil and gelli plate. I’ve not used those much, but now I want to go play more!

  • Dot September 27, 2016, 10:59 am

    Best thing I learned here is understanding my OOPS! Love that. Thanks for the entry.

  • sonya September 27, 2016, 11:16 am

    I love this! I want to try it too! Thanks for sharing with us, Carolyn!

  • Jo hanson September 27, 2016, 12:53 pm

    love, love your videos…and the Gelli plate..and journals…and…

  • Kathleen Harrington September 27, 2016, 1:57 pm

    How fun! I don’t have a gel plate and always wondered why I’d use one instead of painting directly on paper. Now I see how it really is a different look and a totally different process. I haven’t seen anyone use stencils on one before, so thanks for the new technique.

    And, oh yes, I would love to win the Dick Blick gift certificate so that I can buy a gel plate and some yummy yummy paint colors.

  • Jean Marmo September 27, 2016, 6:12 pm

    Such wonderful layers!!!

  • Gaby Paranthoiene September 27, 2016, 6:36 pm

    Hi Carolyn, I got a Gel Plate about three months ago and have not stopped playing and creating… I love the unpredictability of this process, you never know how it is going to turn out till you remove your paper – Surprise! I enjoy the process of laying down colour and texture and then using these papers for collage and mixed media. Joining your group A colourful place to play and watching your videos has also fuelled my obsession – there is no stopping me now! Many thanks for the inspiration. Gaby

    • Carolyn Dube October 3, 2016, 10:50 pm

      You’ve been infected with the play Gaby! So glad you’ve enjoyed the videos!

  • Laura Landau September 28, 2016, 12:17 am

    I’m not gonna lie. There were time watching that where I literally heard my brain going “WHY?! THERE IS PAINT UNDER THE STENCIL!” It was kind of funny, and I love the background that was created from it. I guess I know what I have to work on if that was my reaction. Hehe.

  • Cody Doll September 28, 2016, 8:41 am

    I’m loving all your play series. They really inspired me to just have fun with the supplies I own (which isn’t alot). Thanks for all you do.

  • Susan Skipper September 28, 2016, 10:00 am

    Thanks for sharing as always. These paints are new to me, I bought some about 10 days ago – so great to see them in use. Another stencil to add to my wish list.

  • Annie September 28, 2016, 10:12 am

    Thanks for the inspiration and the chance to win!

  • Stacy Caddy September 30, 2016, 4:51 am

    Love watching you play!

  • D.Ann C September 30, 2016, 5:18 pm

    I have yet to have ‘success’ with gel plates… maybe I need to do it this way, printing one layer at a time. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Klara October 2, 2016, 5:08 pm

    Love these colors Carolyn! Quin Magenta is my alltime favorite – so not sure why you considered it an oops… lol! Also love the idea of “stamping” directly into ur journal with Gelli plate. I have to do that mor often.

  • Doreen October 2, 2016, 5:15 pm

    Love your demos. I really enjoyed you using the gelli plate and that neat stencil!!

  • Amy Gilmore October 2, 2016, 6:58 pm

    I’ve been looking at the gelli plates and trying to decide whether to buy one. I believe you have convinced me. Thank you!

  • Linda Teresi October 16, 2016, 10:58 am

    Love your videos and sharing! Thank you Carolyn!

  • Pat Dennis December 9, 2018, 11:21 am

    Watch them all. Are u near NC maybe we can get u here to workshop

    • Carolyn Dube December 11, 2018, 9:07 pm

      I’m in the midwest, but NC is a wonderful state- lots of creative happenings there Pat!

  • Technicians Today July 7, 2019, 11:20 am

    I’m hunger for the Gelli Plate. Love it.
    Thanks Carolyn!

  • Trudy Sweet August 21, 2019, 3:23 am

    I really need to let go and Play! Your site is such an inspiration, thank you for sharing your creative soul with us! I’d love to give myself the tools I’d like to have to express my creative spirit, then no excuses for holding back, overthinking everything and controlling myself… help me to just let go!