Have you tried a gellie plate for printmaking? Hi, I’m Chelsea Rose. I’m a mom, maker, baker, and military spouse. I have wanted to try printmaking with gellie plates for a long time and a fellow art teacher friend of mine shared an at-home recipe with me and I am going to share it with you! Using Artesprix Sublimation paint with a Stamp Anniething stencil and this homemade gellie plate is a perfect trio to add a design to coasters and other sublimation blanks.
What is Sublimation Iron-on-Ink?
When something has been sublimated it means the design was applied with sublimation ink. When heated the sublimation ink molecularly fuses to poly-based or poly-coated substrates (also known as blanks or substrates). Artesprix creates a line of sublimation mediums (markers, stamp pads, stamp pad refills, and acrylic style paint!) and offers compatible blanks and other supplies as well.
Artesprix Polished Coasters
Artesprix Sublimation Acrylic Paint Set
Stamp Anniething Funky Diamond Stencil
Mixed Media Paper or Copy Paper
Blending Sponge (or Blending Brush)
Gel Plate (or gelatine, glycerine, hot water)
Heat Resistant Tape
Heat Source: Home Iron or Heat Press
Step 1: Create your homemade Gellie Plate. Combine 9 tablespoons of gelatin, half a cup of glycerine, and stir together in a microwave safe bowl. Then add in half a cup of boiling water and stir until somewhat transparent. Once stirred, microwave for 15 seconds. Add to 8x8" baking dish with a flat bottom and sides. Let sit at room temperature until firm and use the side that was touching the flat bottom of the dish to print/create on.
Pro Tip (Optional): If you have a baking torch, you can use it to get rid of any bubbles after you have transferred the microwaved ingredients to a flat baking dish. This would be just for aesthetic purposes since the flat bottom of the baking dish is the side you create on.
Step 2: Put sublimation paint directly on your homemade gellie plate, then blend. I chose to reuse makeup blending sponges from another sublimation project to apply paint to my gellie plate, but you could use a designated brayer. Once your backgrounds are made. place your stencil on top. Lastly, add your plain copy paper and use the brayer to create your successful "pull".
Pro Tip #2: Blend colors on a palette and pick up with your sponge or brush for more muted designs. Squirting paint directly from the bottle makes a bold statement!
Step 3: Make sure you get the paper really smoothed down onto the gellie plate to pick up the design. You can lift a corner to do a "peek test" and lay it back down to grab the rest of the paint. Look for the full design process on my youtube!
Step 4: Continue to create multiple designs on different pieces of copy paper. Remember, a little goes a long way with Artesprix Sublimation Acrylic Paint, and the lightening medium is your friend! By making multiple designs, you can then choose your favorites.
Pro Tip #3: Store your gel plate in an airtight container in the fridge if you live somewhere particularly humid. The water will evaporate overtime but if you need to, you can re-melt and remold again in the future when the plate gets gouged!
Step 5: After your designs are completely dry its time to transfer, your heating element should read 400° F for this blank. Apply heat tape to adhere the design to the blank. I chose one design page per one coaster but could have done two corner to corner. Two or three pieces of tape is fine, but use more if you are using a handheld heat source.
Step 6: Next, make a "sublimation sandwich" with Artesprix’s siliconized protective paper. The sandwich needs to be: protective paper, blank, design (face-down), protective paper, then heat source; from bottom to top. The protective paper protects your heat press and equipment from the Iron-on-Ink.
Bonus: The special bundle over on Artesprix until the end of July 2022 is buy 4 get 1 free of the protective paper - such a great deal!
Step 7: This project presses at 400°F for 60 seconds. To double check the recommended press times go to Artesprix’s directions site.
Step 8: After 60 seconds has elapsed it’s time for the "peek test"! Be careful, the blank is hot! Try to peek without removing the tape, that way if the project needs more time, your design is still lined up which will prevent ghosting!
Step 9: Repeat for the remaining coasters, then let cool before decorating your table and letting them serve their purpose with a yummy refreshing drink on top. :)
I love the vibrant colors of the Artesprix Sublimation Acrylic Paints. Choosing to use a simple pink to yellow ombre for my color play means that all the coasters go together without being too matchy matchy which works great for my home decor. This printing process really highlights the one of a kind pulls you get from each pass. It’s pretty addicting to do!
The possibilities are endless when armed with a homemade (or store bought) gellie plate for printmaking and sublimation acrylic paints. Even without stencils, you can make prints with found objects like leaves, strings, your kid’s blocks, magnet letters, old doilies, bubble wrap, and more!
Check out other ways to use gel plates with sublimation on the Artesprix blog: easy way to mirror stamped text or to make beautiful patterns on bags. And, if you want to see what I’m up to in Japan - come follow along over on instagram (I put lots of fun foods that we try in my stories).
Thank you for reading and would love to see what you make next!
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