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How Many Colors Should You Use on a Gel Plate?

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
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  • Kathy Gledsdale August 8, 2019, 7:07 am

    just love those ghost prints

  • Mary Oakes August 10, 2019, 1:25 am

    Love Love Love your stuff and your personality! Thanks so much! I would love to be able to take your online workshops…. not crying the blues or anything but for me some of them are just too much financially in one go, even when there are discounts. Will you ever consider doing payment plans?

    • Carolyn Dube August 10, 2019, 2:55 pm

      Thanks for letting me know Mary! I am working on it- ran into all sorts of computer elves issues with it so couldn’t get to work for this launch, but am working on it!

  • Suzanne August 11, 2019, 5:04 pm

    Whoa! You are slowly converting me to using multiple paints X ten! What a fabulous example of dazzling up a geometric stencil! And that clean up sheet! I mean every one of those !s

  • airbnb property management August 12, 2019, 3:49 am

    Great source of information. Got to learn new things from this. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • Pam V August 15, 2019, 12:08 pm

    So glad I signed up for the Mastering the Layers Workshop! I’m a gel plate newbie and have learned so much from just the first four days of class! I was hesitant because of pricing even though I can appreciate how much time and effort goes into producing a video workshop but am so glad I decided to take a chance. Carolyn has a wonderful teaching style…very knowledgeable, able to explain the why and how very clearly and thoroughly, and fun! This was definitely worth the money…I see improvement in being able to create the prints I want. Thanks Carolyn! I’m off to practice and have more fun playing!

  • Susan March 5, 2021, 1:55 pm

    Totally love what you did with all the colors. Can’t afford the class, but really appreciate learning what I did. Thank you so much. Your work is beautiful!