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There are 7 practical reasons why I gel print with stencils. These are in no particular order, except my #1 reason. It might be a bit controversial as a practical reason, but it is the most important thing I get from gel printing.

7. Speed! Using a gel plate is the fastest way have ever used to stencil and that makes the impatient parts of me very very happy! When I’m working with a detailed stencil and a heavier paper, like cardstock, I use my fingertips to make sure that the entire pattern is picked up. You can see this in action in the video above at about the 0:50 second mark.

6. Get a variety looks from one stencil which means getting more value out of every single stencil. Both of these prints were made with the same stencil, Once Upon a Time. In the video above you saw how to create the blue print and in Stencil-rific Layers, you can see the multi color print made step-by-step.

5. Gel plates capture all the details of a stencil to show up in the print, even when you’ve got a detailed stencil such as Words to Live By. Then you can layer details using a stencil to take a print to the next level just like the hint of black on the print on the right does below. How that subtle touch was added to this print is inside Stencil-rific Layers for you.

As a side note, these practical reasons overlap. This print was both speedy and detailed.

4. Use every drop of paint can be used. The paint on the backside of the stencil can be used in a snap on a gel plate! It’s also a very quick way of cleaning off the stencil. Plus, it enables you to create multiple looks by using the positive or negative of the stencil. It slices, it dices. Well, not really but stencils on a gel plate can do a lot of different things! What is this stencil? It’s Trapezoid Squared.

3. As you grow, the stencils and gel plate grow with you. When I started gel printing, my prints had one color and one layer. I loved them! As my understanding of the gel plate grew, I was able to add more layers and colors using the same gel plate and stencil. How that exact print on the right wax created step-by-step process is inside the workshop, Stencil-rific Layers.

2. I can create looks with them that I could never do with just a paint brush. That Venice inspired stencil can become an abstract print or a gloriously grungy one. And yes, you see how both of these prints were created inside the online workshop Stencil-rific Layers.

The #1 reason why I started gel printing and haven’t stopped, is it’s FUN! Is that a practical reason to gel print? Yes! When life is extra stressful or the world is a bit much to handle, spending a few minutes playing, printing and creating helps me decompress and turn the day around by putting a touch of joy back into it.

The reason I created Stencil-rific Layers is so you can have more fun printing. I’ve heard time and time again from students that understanding why the gel plate does what it does and then being able to guide a print to get the look they want, gel printing is even more fun! If you’d like to fast track the understanding and fun, then check out Stencil-rific Layers!

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What’s the secret to getting gel prints full of pattern with colors that pop? Magic? Random Luck? Nope, but it can feel like that when you don’t know the process. Anyone, including you, can make prints like these when you understand how stencils interact with paint and color on a gel plate. After all, there are just three factors to keep an eye on. It’s almost like following a recipe.

So is it a recipe you follow? Yes and no. Let me share something I learned from my grandmother, and yes, this will relate to gel printing. She was a fantastic cook and I never saw her use a recipe book. She used her magical grandma powers to create scrumptious meals, or at least that is how it looked to me as a kid.

When I tried to cook like her, it did not go well. At all. Something as basic as gravy was horrifically inedible when I made it even though I used all the same ingredients I saw her use.

The difference was Grandma understood how to thicken with cornstarch. Yes, I learned the hard way you don’t just add a full cup of cornstarch powder to a pan of runny warm gravy. She understood when to add more seasoning. Not because she was all knowing but because she tasted it. I was just guessing when I dumped in tablespoons of pepper. Like I said, horrifically inedible and I’m not exaggerating.

Once Grandma gave me the recipe along with an explanation of how to use the ingredients effectively, suddenly, I could make gravy my parents could eat. Just like Grandma, after making gravy a few times with the recipe, I no longer needed it.

So what does making gravy and my grandma have to do with gel printing? Recipes make cooking easier because you’ve got a step-by-step process to follow. That’s what this workshop is, a step-by-step process for you to easily create complex prints.

If you know what ingredients to use (paint, stencils, a gel plate) and in what order to use them you can create amazing gel prints on command.

After following the recipe a few times, you’ll build a solid understanding of how it all works together so that you can intentionally create the kinds of prints you want!

“Carolyn has given me confidence. Now enjoying my play so much more on my gel plate and other media too!”- Jo Ann M.

No matter where you are on your gel printing journey, this workshop can help you take your prints to the next level.

That’s a bold claim. After all, how can it really do that for both absolute beginners and experienced printers at the same time? That’s the power of understanding why and how. Making great prints consistently isn’t intuition or guessing- it’s simply understanding the key factors.

“In my other role as former teacher, I so appreciate your thorough but concise and interesting way of presenting and the fact we can see, hear, and read your lessons. You are a master instructor.” – Suzanne Ford 

If you’re brand new to gel printing, I’ve got you covered. You’ve got immediate access to The Basics of Gel Printing, a mini workshop. It breaks down everything you need to know to make your very first print.

Along with the step-by-step techniques inside Stencil-rific Layers, you’ll deepen your understanding of stencils and gel printing by discovering:

  • What makes your colors pop and avoid the trap of layers that end up sort of muddy.
  • How to get that grungy look on command.
  • The steps to create an intentional composition.
  • How to know the right amount of paint to use.
  • The quick trick to avoiding paint leakage so it won’t ooze under your stencil.
  • How to know immediately which layer will show paint and which won’t because what you see isn’t always what you get.
  • And much, much more including 3 BONUSES!


Yes indeed, there are bonuses for you! Three of them actually!

Freedom and Getting Loose

This bonus video is about freedom, that rush of creating loosely and fully letting go. Great words, but how do you actually do that? I’m sharing my number one strategy that can shift you into that place of printing with abandon, the kind of freedom that rejuvenates the soul and sparks creativity. This simple strategy was taught to me by a master of letting go, a little kid.

Rescuing Ugly Prints

I’d love to tell you that every single print is going to be a show stopper but that’s not how it goes. We all have ugly prints, it’s part of the process. But I get excited when I have an ugly print. Why? Those often become some of the most exciting prints in the end! In your second bonus video, Rescuing the Ugly Prints, I’m sharing ways to turn around those blah, ho-hum, and downright ugly prints.

What to Really Worry About

Over the years teaching gel printing, I’ve noticed that people worry about the wrong things for two big reasons. One is they don’t know the key factors to keep their eye on while printing. Throughout this workshop, you’ll get carefully chosen techniques that build your understanding of these factors step-by-step.

The other reason is perfectionism. Perfectionism can suck the fun out of gel printing but it doesn’t have to. If you’ve battled those critical voices and are ready to quiet them down and have more fun printing, you’ll love your third bonus video, The Antidote to Perfection Paralysis.

What I Haven’t Mentioned

But there’s one big thing I haven’t mentioned yet. It’s the entire reason I started gel printing and haven’t stopped. The FUN! It’s exciting to lift a print and see something you can’t believe you made on there!

If you’re ready to let go of random guessing when you’re making prints so you can have even more fun then join me for Stencil-rific Layers!

“I had been playing around with gelli plates, watching a you tube video now and then, never really understanding what I was doing, so I have ALOT of ugly prints.Thank you for giving me a much better understanding of the process and inspiring me to play!” – Celeste R. 

When does the workshop start? The moment you register, you’ve got access to the getting started section and the first official lesson. Then, each day, you’ll get a new video for 19 days (basically, just under three weeks).

Since you have lifetime access, you have the flexibility to watch them the way that fits you best. Watch them the second they are available each day or if you like to binge watch an entire week of the workshop Netflix style, then just let a few build up and watch them at once.

Lessons in this Workshop:

  • Getting Crisp Prints
  • Wax on Wax Off
  • Avoiding Muddy Layers
  • Letting Loose with a Brayer
  • Slapping Stencils
  • Never Ending Technique
  • All in One Pull
  • Should You Put the Stencil or Paint First?
  • Intentional Compositions
  • Glorious Grunge Prints
  • What Layers Will Show
  • Making Compositional Choices
  • When to Make a Plan
  • Stacking Stencils
  • Getting Surgical with the Paint
  • Maximizing the Ghost Pull
  • Where to Build Up Your Layers
  • When to Stop Adding Layers

What’s included:

  • 19 day online workshop that starts the moment you register
  • Your questions answered by me in the classroom
  • Downloadable videos
  • Lifetime access
  • 14 day money back guarantee
  • Bonus: Rescuing the Ugly Prints
  • Bonus:Freedom and Getting Loose
  • Bonus: Turning Around a Hot Mess
  • Bonus: The Antidote to Perfection Paralysis


Money back guarantee. You’ve got nothing to lose and so much fun to gain because there is a No-Hassle 14 Day Money Back Guarantee. Join the workshop, try it all out for 14 days and if for any reason it’s not for you, just send me a one line email letting me know you’d like a refund. It’s really that simple.


When does the workshop begin?

As soon as you register the workshop begins. Then exactly every 24 hours, you’ll get a new video each day of the workshop (a total of 19 days). You have lifetime access to the workshop once you’ve registered.

Do the videos have closed captions?

Yes, all the videos have closed captions. The videos and captions are all in English.

What supplies do I need?

I encourage you to substitute with whatever you have on hand or prefer! In the classroom, I have a detailed list of all the supplies I’ll be using but here’s the Cliff Notes version.

You’ll need at least one gel plate. I’ll be using primarily the 8×10 size. If you happen to have two plates, you’ll find that very handy but not required.

All the stencils I’ll be using are from StencilGirlProducts.com They are a wonderful family run business and I’m honored to be one of their many designers.

As for paint, you’ll want acrylic paint in any colors you love plus white and black and a metallic paint (gold or silver or any color you like).

How long do I have access to the workshop?

Lifetime. This workshop is all about having fun making prints and deadlines take the fun out of it! So there is no deadline or time limit. You can watch them whenever you want, as many times as you want.

Can I download the videos?

You bet! The videos are all downloadable! You can also watch them on mobile devices, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.

How long is each video?

Each lesson averages 15 minutes. Some are a little longer, some a little shorter. The videos are edited, which means you don’t have to watch paint dry or me search for supplies so you can get to the play faster!

How does the 14 day money back guarantee work?

This is a no hassle 14 day 100% money back guarantee. Check out the workshop for 14 days, watch the videos and see if it’s right for you. If it’s not just send me a one line email saying you’d like a refund. It’s really that simple.

What if I’ve never made a gel print before?

Along with this workshop, you also get access to the mini workshop, The Basics of Gel Printing. This covers everything you need to know to get started with gel printing! In Stencil-rific Layers, the techniques are broken down step-by-step so no prior experience is needed! Truly!

What kind of internet do I need for this?

This is an online workshop, so you’ll need access to the internet. The videos are hosted on Vimeo and you can watch them on your mobile device, a tablet, laptop or desktop computer. If you’ve got really slow internet service, you’ll find it easier to download the videos and watch them off line.



Why or how do I use a gel plate to put brushstrokes on this art journal page? What do I do when I make a stenciling O.O.P.S.? And why did I start the page with dark for me colors? All that and more is in the video for you as I try something a little different!

I’m playing in a handmade journal I bought recently from PattyReider.com. I love the variety of pages, from the painted and gel printed ones to the vintage ledger paper. Oh that beautiful handwriting in there!

One of the perks of a journal like this, where someone else has put something on the pages, is you get to try something different. I usually start with a white or light background so my something different today is starting on a darker background.

Writing on a wet art journal page can be rough on pens. That’s why I like to use something like a fine tip applicator. The one I used in the video comes empty and then you fill it with anything you like. As long as it will come out the tip, you can use it! I find fluid paints work best for how I use them. The exactly supplies that I used are all linked at the end of the blog post for you.

The plan was to put the arch on the top of the washi tape, but I miscalculated. O.O.P.S.! But that was an Outstanding Opportunity Presenting Suddenly to show you how flexible stencils can be. All I did was position the stencil back on top of the black arch and slid it down to where I wanted it to be. Then all I did was add some paint to the bottom and suddenly, the arch was the exact length I needed. You can make any arch as tall or short as you want this way!

As I looked for words in a random book to add to the tops of the arches, I saw the phrase, “It’s that woman again”. In that moment, the meaning of the page became crystal clear. I’ve been watching Domina, which feels like a historical Melrose Place meets Dynasty, set in Rome just after Caesar was stabbed by the Senate.

The meaning in my art journal pages isn’t always deep, significant or spiritual, sometimes it’s just a playful reminder of a tv show I’m enjoying.

Here’s the finished page, or I should say finished for now

Here are the supplies used. Some of these links may be affiliate links which means I may get a small percentage and it doesn’t cost you anything extra! And you get a really good feeling knowing that you are helping keep the free tutorials coming!

The washi tape was from Pipsticks.com but I can’t find that exact tape on their site to link for you- they’ve got a lot of washi tape!