Saturday, May 23, 2015

DIY Gelatin Plate

I made my own permanent gelatin (gelli) plate this weekend.  Judy Rhys at Color My World posted a recipe to make a permanent one, as opposed to the plain old food grade gelatin plate that eventually breaks down and soon goes bad in the fridge.  I've seen the official Gelli plates, and how expensive they are.  I never wanted to spend that much money on it, but I was willing to make my own for a fraction of the cost.  Who-hooh!

DIY Permanent Gelatin Plate

Here are the proportions I used :
1-1/2 cups Glycerin (equal to 2 3-oz bottles)
6 Packets of Knox Unflavored Gelatin (equal to 6 Tablespoons)
1-1/2 cups Hot Water

Mix the gelatin into the glycerin.  Add hot water and stir until dissolved.

Poured into a 9 x 13 -in jelly roll pan, and left to set up overnight.  Any little bubbles on the surface were easily removed with a fingertip BEFORE it solidified.  As for the mold, consider using an 8x10 inch clear acrylic box frame (or whatever size you like). The only problem with the metal jelly roll pan is that the corners started to rust after a while--not really a big deal as that doesn't impact the final prints. 

Caution : Don't pour the extra gelatin down the drain, or clean-up in your sink, as you could clog your pipes.   Scrape the excess gelatin into the garbage or use a paper towel to wipe out.

Clean-up of the gelatin pad is supposedly pretty easy :  Just pull off as much paint as you can, then spray it with a little water, and blot dry.  If it's really messy, you can use regular dish soap.  Works like a charm!

If it gets damaged, just cut it up, melt it in the microwave for 90 seconds and re-pour.  Works like 2  charms!
 This is my gelatine plate after an afternoon of use--a few tears in places.  Since I made this plate over a year ago, the corners dried out in the interim.  It did not adversely affect the prints.   

 So I cut out the dried up corners and tossed them, then cut up the rest of it (cleaning out the paint as best as possible) up and melted it in the microwave for 90 seconds.

 Then I re-poured it : Good as new!
Remarkable stuff!

I was hoping to make a larger one, but soon realized I didn't have enough glycerin to make the larger size.  I wanted it big enough to print a piece of fabric / paper sized so I could use it for a journal cover.   This will be good, though.  I can test it out, and use it for the 1/2-size journal covers.  If it works out well, I can always get some more supplies and melt down what I've got to make the larger size.

I've been missing my old surface design activities, so I'm hoping this helps to spark it back up again.  You can use it to do monoprints.

For your inspiration, here are a few more pages and recipes for making your own  Gelatin Printing Plate :

The Frugal Crafter's Permanent Gelatin Printing Plate (Hectograph)
If you watch the video, she explains some of the chemistry behind why this works.  She also demonstrates how easy it is to use it ...   She must have pulled a dozen pages in just a few minutes!

How to Make  Gelli Plate or Jelly Pad
Shaz in Oz offers a slightly different recipe, assuring that it will last for many years without going bad.  She even linked it to the history of mimeographs (I remember that from grade school back in the day---I loved the smell of fresh mimeographed pages!)  Very interesting stuff. 

1 comment:

The Idaho Beauty said...

Hmmm - you've got me rethinking this. I've read about gel plates for years and suppose I didn't want to go to the bother or the pressure of using one before it went bad. Then put off like you at the price of commercial ones when I wasn't totally sure what makes using them different from other monoprint methods. But this makes it easy to make one that I wouldn't have to worry about going bad on me. Will be interested to see what you do with it. Convince me, Michele, that's it's worth my time to experiment with it! ;-)