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How to Get Rid of Air Bubbles on a Gel plate

Why do air bubbles happen to most gel plates? Because air gets trapped between a layer, like a plastic protector, and the plate. It can leave little indentations in the plate. Does this “ruin” the plate? Nope. This happens to most gel plates and in this video, I’m sharing what works for me to and my Gel Press plates to keep the bubbles from showing up in prints and also how to remove them from the plate.

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I’ve stored my plates stacked in the plastic protectors for years and never had an issue with air bubbles. I would get some but they’d be small and not show up in the prints. But this year, it was Bubble-palooza on my stack of plates.

What is the best way to store your plate? Well, there is no world wide consensus about that. What I’ve tried and what I’ve learned I’ve put into another video all about storing a gel plate to help you as you decide on the best way for you to store yours.

Why did it happen now? My theory is it had to do with heat. My old studio was in a basement, so it was always cool there. My new studio is on the second floor and this summer, the storage closet got really hot. I suspect the heat made the air expand and create great big air bubbles. These were so big they were showing up in my prints.

There are two ways to fix this. The first is by using a thick paint and firm pressure when you take a pull. In the video, you’ll see how that makes a big difference. The paint I’m using is Amsterdam.

The other way is by cleaning the plate thoroughly and then putting a piece of cardstock on the plate overnight. This will pull out the indentations from the air bubbles. This the gist of it and the video goes into more depth about the process.

If you’ve found it helpful to understand the why of what’s happening with air bubbles, then I bet you’ll enjoy my gel printing workshops too. You can check out the current ones on my workshop page.

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  • terri November 5, 2021, 5:29 pm

    Loved the info!


  • Amy Hodgson-Smith November 5, 2021, 5:48 pm

    Thank you, Carolyn, this was very helpful! I generally don’t worry too much about air bubbles, but it’s really nice to know that there’s a method that works to get rid of them!

  • Donna Cerny November 5, 2021, 6:14 pm

    Great information, Carolyn. I gave up the plastic sheets and stored my plates in the clam shell boxes but then treated myself to some of the metal ones from Ranger. I can get multiple small plates in one and I don’t worry about stacking them. Changes in temperature can really cause problems with so many things, even when it’s not what would seem like a significant change. I changed the location of my harp recently to a spot that was maybe only 2 or 3 degrees different in temperature and the next thing I heard was that tell tale ‘ping’ and now I need to put in a new one. Gel printing is more fun than string changing!

  • Nancy Grigsby November 6, 2021, 12:11 am

    Thanks so much for the FABULOUS tips, Carolyn. One of my gel plates has developed bubbles. Grateful for the suggestions on how get rid of them. Thank you!

  • Adrienne+McMurdy November 6, 2021, 9:26 am

    Thanks for the info Carolyn!! Good to know! I thought I was the only one with bubbles!LOL!!

  • Terry Frank November 7, 2021, 10:20 pm

    This was very helpful and maybe just in time. I had followed another’s direction to take the protective plastic off of two to store and cover them with paper. A couple of others I left the plastic on. Watched your video and went immediately to see what shape my plates were in. Sure enough, those with plastic had some larger bubbles forming – and those with paper covers were obviously much dryer.
    Thanks to you, I now know what to do to remedy both situations. Much appreciated!

  • Kathy+Gledsdale November 8, 2021, 6:16 am

    This is so helpful thank you. x

  • Elena October 17, 2023, 9:48 pm

    Thank you soooo much for your friendly and informative video. I recently purchased a set of 3 gel plates, my first, and have been struggling with those air bubbles. I’ve been storing the one that I’ve been trying to use between 2 sheets of paper, but still bubbles. I will try the baby oil next and it looks like I need to invest in some Amsterdam paints. I will also try more pressure. Again, thank you.

  • David December 5, 2023, 8:03 am

    why do my geli prints come out with mini peaks of paint all over?


  • Michele January 4, 2024, 11:29 am

    Thank you so much for this video. I hadn’t used my gel plate for a very long time and I thought it was ruined. I will now follow your advice to fix it.