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How can you turn a plain cell phone case into something uniquely yours?  By using a clear phone case and putting any paper you’ve made in it.  In the video, you’ll see an inexpensive $6 phone case become. You’ll see the easy way to get the exact template you need to cut your paper and the little trick at the end to get it all to fit.

The super bonus of using a clear case and your own papers is that you can change it any time, as many times, as you wish!

Want to know more about gel printing? I’ve got a whole bunch of YouTube videos here and if you’d like to go deeper, check out my workshop, Gel Printing FUNdamentals.

You can use any clear phone case. There are lots of brands/manufacturers, and all I really look for is a cheap one that fits my phone.  Be sure that whichever one you buy, that it is for your specific size of phone.

The first thing you’ll want to do is pick some papers you love. I’ve grabbed a few since I couldn’t decide exactly which one I wanted.  How the template is used will make it very easy to see what the finished phone case will look like.  The stencil that was used to make these prints is the Cutouts Inspired by Matisse stencil I designed.

To make the template that is exactly the size you need, simply photocopy your clear case, and cut it out.  The full sheet of paper will be used as a big window to move around the prints to audition different areas.  This makes it so much easier to know where to cut because you’ll see what it looks like for you get the scissors.

When I put the phone in the case, the paper slid around.  That made the cutouts for the camera not line up.  So if that happens to you, take the phone out and reposition the paper.  Then hold the paper in place with one hand while you slide the phone in with the other.

Looking for more gel printing fun?  I’ve got a whole page of resources for getting started, techniques, and ways to use your prints here.


Stenciled Letters

I had a bunch of requests for how I made the ransom style lettering using gel prints and stencils from my last blog post. You asked, and I listened! Here’s the video showing you all the techniques I used.  In there you’ll see how to stencil the speedy way if you’re doing a lot of it, how to use a pen to customize your letters, how to get texture into a letter, and more!

To get texture in a stenciled image or letter, try using Mousse.  It is thick so it makes it possible to get a crisp image.  Be sure to watch in the video how I clean up the stencil so that nothing gets wasted- and you’ll want to clean your stencil off promptly so the Mousse doesn’t dry on it.

When you’re doing a lot of stenciling, using a roller makes it go quickly. These rollers that I used are on the pricey side and I’ve been looking for a less expensive alternative. In the supplies at the end of this post, you’ll see a black handled set of rollers. They are WAY cheaper but I haven’t tested them out yet. When I do, I’ll let you know.

Why did I use a gel plate as my palette for the paint?  Because that reduces waste.  Once I’m done rolling on the paint, then I can take prints with the leftover paint on the gel plate.

The Open Ended stencil is different from the other alphabet stencils.  It has big open spaces that I designed to be filled in by you.  You can journal in them, you can doodle in them, you can do whatever your heart desires in there.

This stencil can straight and formal or loose and free.  Notice how different it looks when I draw loose lines in the numbers? It’s darker, stands out even on a busy background, and has a very different vibe than the letters above.  That means you can customize it to just what you need!

The rollers do make things go faster, but they hold a lot of paint. If you wrap them in a plastic bag and make sure it’s airtight (I used a rubber band) then they stay wet and juicy for several days.  That means you can come back and use them tomorrow without having to rinse them out.

Once you have your papers, then it’s time cut them up. You can cut out only the letters you need or you can cut them all at once.  I opted for doing it all at once just so it was done so the letters would be ready for lots of art journaling and mixed media play.

Here are all the As in one pile.  Lots of color and size choices.

But how did I easily get them all sorted? It could have been a nightmare but sorting as I cut the pages of letters I kept each page in alphabetical order.

Then I found a few “volunteers” to help me put all the cut in piles by letter by taking a stack and walking around the counter placing each letter on its proper pile. Notice the little envelopes under each one? Placing a single letter in each envelope keeps them organized for future use.


What did I do with the letters? I made a piece of art with my word for the year.  You can see that process here.  What I didn’t use is now a stash of easy to get letters since they’re already made and sorted!

I have listed 2 types of rollers here in the supplies. The black handled ones look very similar to the orange ones I used, but a whole lot cheaper.  I’ve ordered some of the black handled ones to try out- will update this post when they arrive.

Here are the supplies 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!




How much pressure could there be picking one word for the year? Turns out a lot.  Like so many people this time of year, I choose one word to be a beacon for me through the upcoming 12 months.  It was such a huge commitment, you’d think I was signing a contract in blood with all the pressure I felt about it.

Then I had a reality check with myself and chose a different way to do it this year.

Watch on YouTube.

I needed to get the pressure off of the year-long commitment, so I decided to create a piece of wall art that will remind me of the word any time I walk past it.  I have mad respect for everyone who follows through on their word for the year, but I know that I’m not going to do that so I’m turning it over to my subconscious.

That’s taking the pressure off, and I bet that I’ll actually use this word far more than any other year!

Even though I lined these up before I glued them down, they still turned out off center just a bit.  Mistake? Error? Nope, it was an O.O.P.S. – an Outstanding Opportunity Presenting Suddenly.

That little extra space got me looking for a solution- and that’s where this playful dancer came in handy.  You see, it’s a mask (that comes with the stencil) and by placing it on the wood panel, I could see just what it would look like before that all so big commitment of paint.

What fancy tool did I use to make the star hide behind the letter Q? A Post It note. I like to keep things easy and fast.  In the video, you’ll see how that did the trick. That star stencil is just one of 9 patterns on the ATC mixup stencil.

Paint can be tough to write on, especially a fine line. So I use a fountain pen to do it.  Since there are no moving parts on these, if it gets clogged up with paint, it’s easy to clean- unlike felt tip pens or fine tipped ballpoint pens.

Since my word for the year is Question, I decided to question the impulse, dare I say, compulsion, to cover up the white space. It felt mighty strange but also exciting. Wonder what other questions I might be asking this year- or I should say that my subconscious will be asking, after all, a month in I usually forget my word.

How did I make all those letters? If you’d like me to show you how I used gel prints and stencils to do them quickly, let me know and I’ll put that video together for you.  Get signed up for my weekly newsletter and you’ll be sure not to miss it.

Here are the supplies 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!