Thursday, 26 July 2012

Gelatin Prints Tutorial (or how NOT to do it!)

A while ago I was asked by the
to have a go at 
gelatin printing,
with a view to preparing a tutorial
to go with a kit they planned to include
in their shop.

I wasn't particularly pleased with
the results I achieved,
especially considering the faff and time 
involved, and in the end it was mutually 
agreed not to go ahead with a
 gelatin print kit.

I thought it'd be worth sharing my results 
with you and I'll be interested to
hear about any of your experiences.

I looked online for information about 
gelatin printing and powdered gelatin
was recommended, but I could only get 
leaf gelatin
(fine leaf, platinum grade too, 
nothing but the best for me!).

I used roughly double the amount of leaves
to the amount of water recommended 
because I wanted the resulting plate to be 
able to withstand quite a bit of abuse!

I used a shallow smooth based baking tray
and once made, allowed it to cool and
solidify in the fridge
(my first attempt actually froze due to my
over zealous fridge in the shed, haha).

Now, all the online instructions say that
the gelatin should be removed from the tray,
but mine wouldn't leave,
it clung on for dear life, 
so all my printing had
to be done with it still in the tray.
Ho hum.

Using a foam brush I covered the gelatin 
with acrylic paint and then used lids of
various sizes to make patterns in the paint.

I placed paper on top and used a brayer
 to ensure good coverage.

I tried taking a print from the direct print,
but without success.

White paint, black paper.
On the left, plant leaves used as masks.
On the right hand side, rubber stamps 
and bubble wrap pressed into the paint.

The photo above isn't blurred,
it's how the print really looks.

Finally, on the left I made a pattern
using the end of a wooden block.

I used that one as the background
for an Index Card (ICAD).

By this time the gelatin plate had degraded 
too much to be used any further
(online experiences report people putting 
the plate back in the fridge and 
using it many times - until it 
starts to go mouldy, in fact.
I don't see how this is possible,
maybe they used proper printing ink?).

Ok, so at the end of this experiment
I would have to say that while I enjoyed 
the play, I don't think I'd rush to do it again
unless I heard of another way of doing it that 
might be more successful.

What I'd REALLY like to get my grubby
little hands on is one of these.......

Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate.
All the fun,
none of the faff!

Have you tried gelatin prints?
How successful were you?
What did you do differently to me?!
Please tell :)



craftattack said...

We used to make these at school with the kids, and used agar-agar, a gelatine base not made from animals. On the whole, it worked quite well. I think the agar-agar is tougher than normal gelatine. Valerie

Virginia said...

Oh interesting I'll read the replies to this with one Jo because I'd like to see other peoples thoughts on this and if anyone else has used the Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate and in essence no I've not tried gelatin prints.

JansArtyJunk said...

I've not tried gelatin prints, but have seen them on a couple of blogs recently...and fancied giving it a go. The Gelli arts printing plate looks good...I'd also be interested to see if anyone has used this product...

BadPenny said...

Jo you amaze me with all these tutorials you give us. I love the finished piece !

SusieJ said...

I'm awaiting the answers too as no, I haven't tried gelatin prints...I'm still struggling with gel prints...:)
Hugs xx

Printed Material said...

A friend of mine bough tone of those Gelli plates recently but I don't know how she's got on with it. I've never been that inclined to be honest Jo. I think you can get the same effects with monoprinting and without the faff of making up the gelatin , but hey, what do I know!! Jane Davies has some good video tutorials for this plate on her blog 'Collage Journeys'. See what you think.

Jenxo said...

hehe i just did gelli mono print class today and it was fantastic.... i used teh gelli plate and from i heard its not worth the fuss of making gelatin... they wiped off with baby wipes and were as good as new.... i learnt that you only need small amount of paint and brayer it on well ....i cant wiat to buy a gelli plate to do some more :0

Jill said...

I haven't tried, but I've had a pack of leaf gelatine on my shelf for months - looks as f it might stay there. Saying that however I think your prints look fine - I especially like the last two.

Kory K said...

I've never even HEARD of gelatin prints.

I've also never seen or even heard of 'gelatin leaf'!!!! Whoa!! So strange lookin! So are they like sheets of thin jello?! Or are they more paper-y? I'm so fascinated!


Susan T said...

Blimey Jo, I can't even cope with 'proper' gelatine in recipes it makes me all of a dither. The lengths you will go to for your art. xxx

Lenna Young Andrews said...

I have never tried gelatin prints, but have seen the Gelli Arts plate demoed... that I might be interested in trying that sometime. You certainly made a good try at an unusual task, Jo and I like the print when you added the wooden block in. I think it made for a nice texture... Good going~!

Karen Isaacson said...

I've had great success with gelatin prints, but used powdered gelatin which is easy to come by in the US. My block was really firm, lifted easily out of the container, and lasted forever. I used cheap acrylic paints and wiped it clean with a wet wipe. I've hear gelli plates are amazing, and I've been wanting to buy one so I could make prints as the spirit moves. oh wait... you already know all this because you have my little zine about it. how quickly I forget. oh well - in spite of your disapointment with your prints, I still think they look cool.

missy k said...

A for effort Jo... it seems like a lot of hard work to me... and I'd never heard of the other things... hope you track them down and get to 'play'

love Karenx

Carmen said...

I'm with Kory K - never heard of printing in this way... but saying that I walk around in the dark and most well established techniques still have me going 'whoooooa' that I have never heard of them ;)

Does seem like a lot of faffing and I am very lazy...

Carmen said...

p.s love your finished ICAD though ;)

scrappyjen said...

Never tried this technique - i will have to have a go. I like the effect. jenx

Monica said...

never tried it and I use powdered gelatin to make Panne Cotta, an Italian summer dessert. I am waiting for some one to come up with peanut butter prints.

Nancy Kelley said...

So fun to read your blog post and hear you discuss the Gelli plate as an alternative to making your own gelatin plate! Please email me - - I'd love to set you up with a small demo plate to try and then you can share your experience with all your curious readers!
Happy Printing :)

Maryann said...

Hi - I have used the Gelli plate many many times and I love it. It is so much fun that you will be carried away and lose track of time. They now come in 3 sizes. I like large one best. Give it a try. Wonderful. I would never mess with making the gelatin again.

TheaM said...

I've tried (twice) making the gelatin plates for printing - I used 4 times the gelatin, but I used the powdered kind. We don't have gelatin leaves in the US. My second plate came out well - it is important to use fresh gelatin - after using it for about 10 or 20 prints, I put it in the fridge thinking I would use it again... but it went moldy rather quickly.
Now I just bought a Gelli plate, and hope to use it soon. I wish they came larger...

I think your results are lovely - esp. the lavender/orange/yellow one!

~*~Patty S said...

Your post made me smile and oh and ahhh all at the same time Jo.

Dr Oetker is a prized brand name here, we can only get it at specialty shops.
Here in the US we use plain old Knox Gelatine powder.

I must confess I am really taken with the monoprinting on the gelatin plate.

Somewhere I read that as soon as your gelatin is firm, it's best to loosen it from the container.

After using the plate it can be reheated and poured back into your pan for future fun. I am thinking that might also inhibit the growth of mold and such and extend its life?

I will be curious what you think of the official "gelli" plate...I have one packed away (blushing!) as soon as it surfaces I will give it a whirl, but until then I am very pleased with my homemade plate and cheap acrylic paints.

I am working on some prayer flags using some of my monoprints on fabric as the background.

Thank you for sharing your link and your creativity!

~*~Patty S said...

sorry I was so windy in my comment and I didn't even say how great your ICAD turned out! :)

WillieburgScrapper said...

I love what you did with these! I have to agree- if there are too many steps and too much mess I tend to stay away. I experiemented with gelatin photo printing in college but we had a dark room and a whole ROOM for mess (and a janitorial staff) haven't tried anything since.

JenHen said...

I use Dr Oetker gelatin powder bought in Waitrose. It makes a great gelatin plate. First thing to do is see how many cups of water your container takes. Now work out your recipe based on two sachets of powder per cup. For example my tin takes four cups of water, dissolve eight sachets in two cups of cold water then add two cups boiling water. Leave in fridge to set, (a cup = 8 fl.oz). Rayna Gillman's 'Create your own Hand-printed cloth' is an excellent source of information. However, I much prefer the Gelliplate, which I bought in the USA - in fact brought a few back to London for my friends. We love them. Much less hassle. Great for getting fine detail on fabric.