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Recycling Caps and Lids into a Gel Printing Tool

Why do I get so excited about caps and lids that are about to be thrown away?  It’s not because it means everyone has been taking their vitamins. Although that is a good thing.   It is because caps are perfectly round and come in a variety of sizes to make an easy pattern tool for the gel plate.

I had to laugh at myself when I was arranging the caps because I liked several different configurations but it was a struggle to pick the one that I would glue down. As if I couldn’t save up more lids and do this again.

Watch Using Trash to Make a Pattern Tool for a Gel Printing on YouTube.

New to gel printing? To get you started, I’ve got a getting started video and downloadable guide for you.

I collect all sorts of lids and caps so when I want to make a pattern making tool for the gel plate, I have a stash to pick from.  The first step is sorting out any lids that are the same height.

In the video you can see how I arranged them and then glued them down onto a piece of cardboard.  Hot glue was my glue of choice simply because I didn’t have to wait for it to dry.

The magic of gel printing is the variation in the prints from the first print to the second,or ghost prints. I used the 8 x 10 size Gel Press plate, but naturally, you can use any size gel plate.

Had a lot of caffeine recently? If you’ve got those hand shakes this a great time to use them to your advantage when making prints like these orange ones.

When printing, I usually swoon over the ghost prints.  What about you.  Do you prefer the first print or the ghost when you use a gel plate?

{ 32 comments… add one }

Every comment and every share feeds the muse. Thank you for being part of this colorful journey!

  • Melinda D. May 26, 2017, 5:04 pm

    Nearly always the ghost print.

  • Susan Schultheis May 26, 2017, 9:44 pm

    Love the outcome of the caps images! So glad I collect caps and cardboard like you.

  • Deb May 26, 2017, 10:25 pm

    Love the ghost print the most!!!

  • Amy May 27, 2017, 1:28 am

    I love the ghost prints the best because they often pick up colors and shapes that were still on the plate. I make several prints a day and have been making prints since winter, so I need to begin journaling, making mixed media art, or store the paper somehow. But I’m still not confident even after taking your course….what if I want to save the sheets to make a greeting card…what if the print turns out uglier than the original….I’ll get over it. I need some room to walk on the floor.
    My biggest question is: your plate is so clean. I clean mine after every day’s play, and it still has a bluish/greenish tinge that doesn’t affect the prints..were you using a new plate?

    • Susan Gantz May 27, 2017, 4:20 pm

      Certain paint colors and inks stain the plate, and you’re right, it really doesn’t transfer. However, it is possible to remove lots of that stain by cleaning the plate with baby oil, or mineral oil. After you’ve done this, your plate will resist/bead up with watery paint. The way to fix this is to wash your plate with dishwashing soap like Dawn which is super at cutting/removing oil. Remember all those birds from oil spills?

  • Angie May 27, 2017, 7:29 am

    I think they are both beautiful but I think I like the ghost print just a bit more!

  • Ramsey May 27, 2017, 2:18 pm

    I love them both!!! Love the brights of the first ones and the subtleness of the ghost print! I think I need to drag out the Gelli Plate. I have been in a funk lately. Thanks for the inspiration. Off to watch more of your videos!

  • Terri Young May 27, 2017, 2:31 pm

    Carolyn, I like the ghost print because I like spooky things! LOL I like the lighter effect of the ghost prints.
    Thanks for sharing the bottle cap technique. I’ll have to start saving my caps now.
    Oh well, just another thing to fill up the studio!

  • Debbie Newell May 27, 2017, 2:37 pm

    Carolyn, you’re so fun & amazing. Cute pulls using your circle makers! I’ll definitely have to copy these, as usual. lol. Thanks so much for adding to the fun!!!

  • Christina May 27, 2017, 2:45 pm

    Another Exciting Video Carolyn! I hadn’t thought of gluing the caps down, though I had used caps for printing often! I have to admit I like the Intensity of Color in the First Prints….and the Serendipidousness of Color in the Ghost Prints. I’ve Enjoyed Playing with Gelli Plates and getting unexpected results!

  • Becky May 27, 2017, 2:47 pm

    Thank you Carol for your enthusiasm.

    Love the ghost prints, also like to use them when they are applied as a second layer to a first print.

  • Rochelle May 27, 2017, 3:45 pm

    My fav are the ghost prints,

  • Doreen May 27, 2017, 4:30 pm

    That was awesome using the lids. Loved it. I prefer the ghost print.

  • Debbie English May 27, 2017, 5:17 pm

    I’m a witch…. that’s with a W, so naturally I love the ghost print!
    Thanks for all you Do!
    You make me smile and giggle every time I watch you PLAY

    SMAK
    Deb

  • Joni May 27, 2017, 5:58 pm

    Ghost prints are my fave too!

  • Elaine FITCHPATRICK May 27, 2017, 6:04 pm

    Why don’t I think of these things? Such a great solution to get a whole page of marks done in no time. TFS Carolyn.

  • Celeste Santin May 28, 2017, 2:59 am

    The ghost print every time. I intentionally gelli print for the ghost print not the original lol

  • Carol May 28, 2017, 6:54 am

    I prefer the first print because I love bright and bold colours.

  • Carol May 28, 2017, 6:55 am

    I love the first print with its bright and bold colours.

  • Loretta May 28, 2017, 2:09 pm

    Carolyn, you are not only brilliant, continue to be inspiring! Great idea! I do lean towards the first prints.
    Thanks for the all your wondering lessons!!

    • Loretta May 28, 2017, 2:11 pm

      Correction: that would be
      “wonderful “

  • Louise May 28, 2017, 3:50 pm

    This was great. I think I prefer the ghost . I do like the first also.

  • Annette May 29, 2017, 4:49 am

    Got to admit that I like both and sometimes none. I’m as unpredictable as the gelli plate images themselves.

  • Ellie Knol May 29, 2017, 1:28 pm

    I prefer the ghost prints…

  • joyce Hanson May 30, 2017, 7:52 pm

    the ghost print…love gelli prints!

  • CHERYL June 3, 2017, 1:55 pm

    I LIKE THE GHOST PRINTS, THE MAGIC THO IS SEEING WHAT APPEARS EVERY TIME, SO MUCH FUN, I DID AUTUMN LEAVES LAST FALL FROM TREES IN MY AREA AND I COULD NOT STOP PRINTING, WE HAVE WALNUT TREES HERE AND HICKORY, HORSE CHESTNUT. BTW, ARE U SURE U DID NOT USE UP ALL THE PAINT CAPS ON THE PLANET, NOT SO SURE, I CANNOT FIND ANY AROUND MY HOUSE. A LOT ARE MISSING, JUST SAYIN’ HA HA, JUST KIDDING, THANKS FOR SHARING AND ALL YOUR INSPIRATION AND CLEVER IDEAS.

  • Kathy goldeb June 3, 2017, 6:23 pm

    First print.

  • Margaret L Solomon June 3, 2017, 8:49 pm

    I like the ghost print of the turquoise.

  • Margaret L Solomon June 3, 2017, 9:00 pm

    I like the ghost print best. I have to say, now I know what I will do with all the medicine bottle caps I have been saving.

  • Joan Lauzau June 5, 2017, 10:24 am

    Great idea! Love repurposing! An interesting idea too is using toothpicks. Take a square of cardboard about three inches and place toothpicks on it. The tips should extend in different lengths beyond the edge of the cardboard and at different widths between the toothpicks. Tape in place. It can be used in paints as a “comb” to make designs , etc. ❤

  • Deirdremf June 5, 2017, 11:22 am

    I love them all but looking at your vibrant colours , I have a sneaky preference for the ghost prints. I am off to save all the trash I can.