4 Fun Gelli Arts Techniques From the AOE Team

Editor’s Note: Gelli Arts® graciously provided each of our writers with a plate to try. To say that we enjoyed printmaking with our plates is an enormous understatement. Everyone was so inspired and had so much fun. Read on to see what each writer did! 




The Gelli printing plate was a huge hit with my middle school students and myself! Three of us experimented, creating multiple prints with various materials and acrylic paint. Materials included cut paper, string, shells, rubber pattern rollers, saran wrap, and bubble wrap.


For this print, I printed light to dark. I covered the plate with a light blue paint. I used bubble wrap, string, and shells to create pattern. Next, I used a light yellow paint with the same materials and technique but added additional pattern from crumpled saran wrap. Finally, I used a dark blue-green paint and placed cut circles on the plate, printed circles with the bottom of a cup, drew large circles with my finger, and used bubble wrap to create pattern. I found the Gelli plate to be easy to use, especially when it came to clean up. I plan to leave the printing plate out for my students to use.





I used nothing more than acrylic paint and my hands for this print. I started by rolling magenta paint onto the plate, then used my hands to stamp a pattern before pulling the print. Then, I rolled the dark blue paint onto the plate and repeated the process. I love the abstract effect this technique created. This type of print could make a great gift or fundraiser for parents, or even be used to create one-of-a-kind wrapping paper!




I sat down with Iowa Middle School Art Teacher of the Year Lisa Jorgensen to try some tri-color prints. We created registration marks for both our Gelli plate and our printing paper on a piece of construction paper. Then, we lined up the printing paper on the registration marks and used masking tape on one edge to make a hinge. This way, the paper always stayed in the right place as we printed each color. We placed our Gelli plates on the registration marks, inked, and used various plastic scrapers to incise patterns into the ink and folded the paper over on the hinge to print. We repeated the inking, scraping and printing process for three colors on the same paper. Knowing we wanted to see all the colors we worked heavy to thin with negative space. The process was a blast and the results were beautiful!




After trying out a variety of materials including different types of ink, plastic texture plates, scraping tools, wedged blades, color shapers and more, I settled in on a two-step print. I first printed with the block printing ink as it was tackier and more responsive to the deeply defined plastic texture plates. Over the top, I used black screen printing ink, as it was easier to manipulate with scraping tools and wedged blades. The double print added much more interest and depth to each piece. (Note: Gelli Arts generally recommends acrylic paint, but I found success with these other materials too.)


So there you have it! 4 different ways to use your Gelli Arts® printing plate!



What would you do with a Gelli Arts printing plate?

Would you go abstract like our team members or create something more realistic? 

Amanda Heyn

Amanda is the Senior Editor at AOE. She has a background in teaching elementary art and enjoys working to bring the best ideas from the world of art ed to the magazine each day. 


  • tscootch

    These plates would help me to expose my high school art classes to monoprints using something other than CD cases. I am in my second year in a program that has not changed in almost 40 years, and have introduced printmaking this year, and the students love it! This would bring them to a new level. tscootch@gmail.com

  • Peg

    I would love to use these gel plates to print with leaves, shells and other natural materials. They look amazing and I love the easy use of multiple colors.

  • Tracy Bemis

    I would love to use this to allow students to explore another material they haven’t experienced yet. We have done some mono printing but this looks like a fun and easy material to work with.

  • Audrey

    My special students would love printing with gelli arts! (All 500 kids!) With very few printing materials at our schools, I could spread the activities throughout the 5 schools! Please choose us!!

  • Mary L.

    My students would love to try out some different printmaking materials!

  • Jane

    I would love to be able to use the Gelli Art plates with my advanced students. . I do some block printing with my foundation level students and they always love it. The spontaneity of the gelli prints would be a lot of fun for my other high school students.

  • Tracy Skeels

    These plates seem great. I love monoprinting. I have used all kinds of recycled plastic, mats, etc. The video makes the process seem simple and the results are amazing. With this material I could successfully teach my pre-k students to creatively print. I cannot even imagine how creative my 5th graders could be.

  • Jamie

    I would love to use Gelli Art plates to explore mono printing with my 8th graders. I would love to do painterly mono prints. I think the students would love the results.

  • Vicky

    I would love to use Gelli Art plates with my middle school class. I would like them to be able to explore using a variety of texture images as well as experimenting with multi color printing.

  • Mrswilcox

    I would also love some Gelli plates to use in my middle school classroom! My students have done monoprints with plexiglass plates, as well as collographs and lino block cut prints, but the ease of the Gelli plates to be able to pull multi-colored prints is amazing! I’m anxious to try some out!

  • Marion

    I love the fact that the plates are very easy to use and would suit all student levels. Mono printing is such a messy process, that I rarely do it except with a small group of students.

  • Pamela Boone

    I have read about these and watched some videos. We’ll be doing monoprinting in a couple of weeks the old fashioned way. It would sure be great to use Gelli plates next year!

  • jessica leach

    Gelli art plates remind me of clay printing that I experienced in college. I loved everything about printing with paint and clay. I would love to share these GELLI PLATES with my 2 Creative Arts Classes and my art club. I want to incorporate them in use for textured paper for collaging. I also would love to use them for my special education students that like to keep their hands busy and messy. They will love the draw quick and print method.

  • Autumn Gebhart

    To be honest, I had never heard of monoprinting until reading this article. I would love to use Gelli plates in my classroom, as a way to not only teach printmaking but also texture and various other elements of art. They look super easy to use!

  • Richard Wills

    I recently learned about Gelli plates and have been wanting to try them out. I love printmaking, and have been trying to introduce it to all my students (PK-6th). I tried showing my older students how to print with plexi, but we had a lot of trouble with the process. Recently I taught a lesson using zip-lock bags as plates, which was okay, but nothing like Gelli plates. I teach at two schools and would love to add these to my classrooms. I am always on the lookout for great ideas or supplies that are portable and easy to use among all ages. Looks like I have another item on my wish list.

  • ArtCLassWithLMJ.wordpress.com

    It was so much fun! I did it with art club the next day and they’re addicted to the process now! Wish I had more plates, but in due time! – Lisa Jorgensen

  • Things we just take for granted in a daily basis such as sharp implements can also be used to improve paintings.