Monoprinting with Gel Plates

Today we are taking a trip to Crow Designs Studio/The Workshop, in downtown Scranton. The Workshop is run by Christine Medley, a Graphic Design professor at Marywood.

Chris hosts several printmaking workshops that are open to the community. There is always something to do on First Friday. If you ever get a chance, stop by and create your own masterpiece.

Gel plates in the past have been made using gelatin and would have a limited printing life. Today there are synthetically made gel plates available for purchase that last longer but some people still make their own.

Monoprinting with gel plates is a fairly simple process. First you ink up the plate using acrylic paint, oil paint, or any kind of ink. Then you can use any objects to make impressions on the gel.

I used bubble wrap, leaves, stamps, stencils, string, and even plain paper. Once I was satisfied with how the gel plate looked I was ready to print.

Monotype Gel Plate Printing Process

Gel plate printing doesn’t require a printing press. Just place the paper on top of the plate, smooth down the paper so the ink prints evenly, and then lift up the paper.

I did a lot of experimenting with colors, designs, and believe it or not the type of paper you print on can really make or break a design. I was able to create unique and sometimes very interesting prints.

My favorite print from that evening was made using a stamp that had two women on it, an embossed floral pattern on paper, and leaves. I used the embossed paper and leaves to create a border around the stamp.

A Stroll in the Garden

There are endless possibilities when it comes to monoprinting, the only advice I can give you is to just try everything!

3 thoughts on “Monoprinting with Gel Plates

  1. Sounds very much like a hektograph, one of the very earliest methods of office copying. I published an “underground” newspaper in high school back in the 60s using that method. At the time, you could purchase carbons, typewriter ribbons and pencils to make the master, all available in various colors. It did work better with ditto paper as it was an aniline dye transfer process. It was good for about 60 copies.

    1. Thanks for sharing that background knowledge, I’ll have to look into it more!

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