Gel Printed Journal Pages | Daniela Mellen | Skillshare

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Gel Printed Journal Pages

teacher avatar Daniela Mellen, Artist & Author

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Class intro


    • 2.

      Class Supplies


    • 3.

      Setting Up the Gel Plate


    • 4.

      DIY Faux Plate


    • 5.

      Choosing the Stencils


    • 6.

      Layer #1 Solid Print


    • 7.

      Layer #1 Distressed Print


    • 8.

      Layer #2


    • 9.

      Layer #3


    • 10.

      Tips for Using the Gel Plate


    • 11.

      Clean Up


    • 12.

      Class Wrap Up


    • 13.

      Bonus Lesson: Printing with the DIY plate


    • 14.

      Bonus Lesson: Stuttering Stencil


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About This Class

About This Class

Gel Printed Journal Pages is a class about taking plain white pages and adding monoprinted images to each page. This class is a way to get rid of the blank page to give you a starting point for your journal backgrounds. 

In this class, we will use a gel plate to print three layers on each page. For demonstration, I use the Gelli Arts ® Gelli Plate to make prints. (Gelli Arts® LLC has kindly granted me permission to use their trademark.) However, if you do not have a gel plate, I have included a bonus lesson for a DIY faux printing plate that you can use to achieve similar results.

We will make pages for a journal by creating layers of shapes and colors using acrylic paints, assorted papers, (copy paper, tags, cardstock, and deli-paper) along with stencils to create unique and interesting pages.

Each page can be tailored to the colors you want to use, which makes it great for creating the basics of an art journal, gratitude journal, or color journal.


There’s no brush involved, but it can get messy. So bring your inner child and let’s get started!

There are 2 bonus lessons included: DIY Faux Gel Plate and The Stuttering Stencil Technique

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Daniela Mellen

Artist & Author


I'm an artist and author living in coastal Florida and surrounded by plants, animals, marine life, and the warm sun - all things that inspire me.

I am drawn to creating things and love to get lost in projects. Each day is an opportunity to learn something new, build on existing skills, and branch out to new ones. I was formally trained as an educator which is my passion and incorporating art into teaching makes my life complete.

As of March 2023 I have a catalog of classes on Skillshare. You'll see handmade books, memory keeping, watercolor, acrylic paint, unique art supplies, and photography composition. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to seeing your work.

Check out my Patreon Channel or my YouTube Channel for additional class info... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Class intro: Hello there. I'm Daniella Melon and author and artist here on skill share. Welcome to my class gel printed journal pages. This class is designed to show a fun and addictive method to create printed papers. The beauty of creating printed pages is that you have a unique background, which is ideal for a journal. From here, you can add quotes, sketches, illustrations in collage, and you can personalize the prince to meet your color theme. You can vary the shapes and the amount of paint used. Today's class is geared towards artists of all levels and a class where the process of creating prince is an art in itself. In most forms of printmaking, oppress and inks are required. But in jail printing, we only need a somewhat specialized surface and acrylic paints. Companies such as Jelly Arts make printing plates called the Jelly plate. I will be using one of their plates for the class. However, the techniques that I demonstrate can be used on other gel plates, and I also show a way to create a similar plate out of household items. Or, as I call it, a D i y faux plate. In addition to a printing plate you only the pace that I mentioned since stencils, obr air and paper. I use all sorts of paper to print on mostly standard copy paper and card stock, but you can use deli paper, watercolor paper, mixed media, paper tags and book pages. We will create layer prints, and I'll show you a few techniques on how to achieve unusual results. The images that you create will make great pages for your art journal. Or use larger paper and make backgrounds for other artwork. For your class project, try your hand in a few prints and use your favorite colors and color combinations. Feel free to post your work on the project section of this class, and if you haven't already, please follow me here on skill share. Thank you for joining me. 2. Class Supplies: for our jelly printed journal pages, we're gonna need some supplies for class. Cara having what is called a jelly played, It's a gelatin plate, pre made and purchased completely reusable. This one has lasted me for years. It's made by the company Jelly Arts. They call it a gel printing plate, and what it is because you purchase it comes in this package that you want to save. Come to the little booklet, and then here is the plate. It's sandwiched with two pieces of plastic that you store the plate in, and so you'll keep this plastic when I use my plate. I like to put it on just a hard plastic base. So I just went to the hardware store, got a piece of plexi glass cut slightly larger than my jelly plate, and then I just put my jelly plate onto the plastic. I don't require any glue or anything to adhere it, and then I have my jelly plate ready to print. There are a couple things that I do, which I'll show you in the next chapter to make it easily print ready, Um, but for the class will use some other tools as well here I have some bray er's. They're just rubber prayers. This one is particularly clean. This one still has some dried paint on it, and that's okay. It will come off eventually. I use just acrylic paints. These are just a craft store. Acrylic paints. I get the matte finish. I like them because they're cheap. They're easy. They are very loose. And the colors. There's a huge assortment of colors, and I can really determine if I want to put a thick layer or thin layer. And I really like the way these look on it. Of course, you can use some very expensive, beautiful paints from Golden or other companies. Just make sure that the finish you don't want it to be shiny and sticky. You want to stick with a matte finish here. I have just a little piece of shelf liner, and I will put that underneath my jelly plate to prevent the plastic from slipping around during use. We'll talk more about that during the next chapter, and then I have my papers for this class. I want to make five by seven papers, so anything I make, I want to be able to fit in that five by seven. Here I have my tags. I can use them vertically in a five by seven format or horizontally, and I can cut them down if I don't want him to stick out of my book. Here I have some deli paper. This is exactly what it sounds like. Kind that deli products air wrapped in. I purchase it. Brand new. I get this online. It's also called Cabinet Wax. I get these big boxes there. 500 sheets in a box. It last me quite a while. They're very handy. They're kind of translucent. And when I put paint on there, if I want to use it for collage, wherever there's no paint will kind of disappear into the background, so I'll be able to use my paint very effectively in different methods. I like to jelly print on the deli paper. It gives a fun look, and the addition of the acrylic paint onto the paper makes this very fragile paper quite sturdy. So it's kind of a fun thing to experiment with completely optional. I have just some regular copy paper and make a ton of it, but I cut to size again. Five by sevens, and I use this for my pages of my book, my journal. I also like to use card stock, the same reason that gives a little different weight. And when combined with the weight of the paint that we're gonna put on here, it makes a very substantial page. It's quite nice. I have some copy paper just right out of the box. Thes. I used to clean my Breyer, and I'll use it to press some of my paintings as well. I have some painter's tape. I have a little just a plastic dish, and I have some wet paper towels ready for cleanup because this can get messy. And then I have some stencils. Now you can use any type of stencils you have or that you like. I like to stick with simple shapes. So here I have three different stencils with different size round holes, so the shapes will be this one, which is kind of a staggered. I have perfect grid like a checkerboard around, and then I have small and medium size circles, so come when combined in layers. It's very effective. I also had similar with rectangles, although you don't have to. You don't have to use shapes like Ideo, but just keep in mind. You want to have stencils if you're gonna layer your pieces where the stencil shapes are different sizes so that you can see the different effects each stencil gives. And lastly, I'll show you a quick little way to make a faux jelly plate. It does not give the same results. It's not reusable. It's a little more difficult to work with, but it still gives it a similar effect, and next chapter will talk about setting up the jelly plate. 3. Setting Up the Gel Plate: when setting up my jelly plate. I already spoke about putting the jelly plate onto this clear plastic base. I like to put this little shelf liner underneath it so that it doesn't move around without it. The motion of meat pressing on the plate can cause a little bit of moat movement. This just prevents a little little movement amongst the jelly plate keeps it little more sturdy. The other thing I like to dio since I'm using a five by seven Peace is even though I'm gonna print on pages that are a little bit larger than five by seven. Since my goal is a five by seven, I take one of the pieces of copy paper and I will just lightly tape it to the base of the jelly plate here, and that will give me kind of a guide. So just put a couple of pieces of tape on the back and set it up just like this, and this way gives me a little direction of where I know to put the paint. And if my paint is a little messy and goes hero their little over way when I to go to press it on, though roughly I'll just follow where the paint is. So I put my shelf liner down my jelly plate on the plastic on top of it, and now I'm ready to get started. The next chapter. I'll show you how to make modify jelly plate. 4. DIY Faux Plate: to make your modified gelatin printing plate, you'll take in an old towel or rag, cut around it so that there are no scenes and then fold it into the proper shape so it fits in the bag. You don't want any edges rolling over because this will create scenes and that will affect the printing that you dio. If you don't mind those seems, or if you're looking for that effect, by all means, keep it. But if you want a smoother print, do you want to just stick it in a bag like this and then seal it? It will not, um, be the same thing is a joke, jelly plate or even a gelatin printing plate, but it will work. The reason it works is you'll have a plastic surfaced on the outside and a little bit of give on the inside. So that's one way you can create a similar Monta print using just how told supplies 5. Choosing the Stencils: to get started printing on our jelly plate. What I like to do is I choose one color for the first layer, and one color can mean a blend of two colors. But the idea is that I'm just having one layer. So I think of it is one color I can use any two colors, three colors if I want, and we'll try that different methods. What I do with my stencil is I want to take my stencil with the biggest space left exposed so clearly. This one will not really do that because this will produce little results. This one produces one big space, but for the most part, medium spaces. So for my squares, my rectangles, I'll use this because they'll be a lot of the plate exposed when I'm done. 6. Layer #1 Solid Print: No, they're too techniques. Toe work on the first is to create a somewhat solid print, so I'll show you that one. I like to just put my colors, and I just need a little bit of paint down right on the plate. Some people like to mix it off the plate. I like to do it on my mixing on the plate. I think that's one of the beauty elements of the jelly plate is. It's soft if it becomes its own palette when I take my breaker and I just roll the paint around looking for a thin layer, the more you do this, the more you'll get a feel for how much paint is too much paint. And it's all trial and error. So after I rolled my paint, my train cover all the area off that little guide I had underneath. I'll take my wet rare and I'll take my full paper here, and I'll just run the Breyer up and down to clean it. So now my Breyer is dry. Then I'll take my stencil and I'll place it. However, I want on jelly plate that has the paint on it. It will take a piece of my copy paper and again figure out where I want this. So I'm since I'm going to create the my intention is to get the whole sheet covered with paint. I'll set it down and then I take a piece of copy paper from underneath. You could also use a whole sheet of Delhi paper if you'd like, and I'm gonna set it on top and then using my hands is the tool and go to burnish it. Some people like to use a clean Breyer or even the dirty Breyer will work. For the most part, I tend to use my hands, give me a feel for what's underneath, and so with my hands, I'll feel that I can feel my hands going over the bumps of the stencil. So this is just my scrap sheet, but you can see it picked up the paint that was exposed around the paper. And I'll use this to clean my Breyer in the future as well. And then I pick up my paper that I've done my first layer on, and you can see I covered the entire paper with the pigment. You can see the stencil of left in its place. Now I could take off the stencil and I take the stencil and I'll press it onto my scrap paper and you'll see the result of that. Take a piece of deli caper, press the stencil down, and then I remove the stencil, and I get a little impression there as well. The thing to remember with that is not to leave the stencil face down in the paint on the paper. The paint dries quickly and will turn to glue and you'll have paper stuck to your stencil. So then I want to take another piece of paper. I could use any paper here. I'm gonna use the deli paper, and I'm gonna smooth it over now, unlike paint that will stick to the paper and keep the stencil stuck to the paper. If you leave your paper attached to wet paint on the jelly plate and let it dry, saying maybe an hour or so when you pull it up, you'll remove all the paper, all the paint that was stuck. It will not stick to your jelly plate, so that's kind of a nice effect. And then when I pull it up, I get just a little bit of paint on this, um, piece of Delhi paper. So I'll set that aside to add more layers. And then, as you can see here, the paint dried on my jelly plate, and it left a very interesting pattern. I can add layers of paint to this and pick up the pattern as well. So why don't we try that? So the first color I used was pink and purple ish to give a pink effect, but use a little bit of yellow on top of this, and I don't want to use very much yellow. Roll that out. Clean my Breyer. It'll take another sheet of paper, press it down right on top of the paper we worked on, Take my daily paper, and I'm doing this to burnish this piece of paper underneath. Pull that off, and when I remove this paper, you can see the jelly played is a little cleaner, and it has transferred it onto this piece of paper, so it looks like I have two layers here. I have just the one, but that's because I used the jelly plate that was already printed. The next chapter will do one layer the first layer on the jelly, played as well, and we'll go for a distressed look 7. Layer #1 Distressed Print: no. In our first lesson for our first layer, we covered the entire area of the plate underneath of the plate where the guide is with paint. And then we used stencil, and we got a full print of our image. So here, we're gonna do the same thing except with the paint. We're not gonna worry about covering the whole image, so I'll just put it I'm still using This is a guy because my paper is still the same size. But I'm looking to create a different effect. Clean my Breyer again using that same stencil. I'm gonna press it down. And because I left spaces there. When I press this paper down, I will not get the same effect. So here we go, picking up that paint. And so here we got a very distressed look. Just bits and pieces. Compare that with the first print we got. We can see a definite difference. Then I'll take this off. And while it's still sort of wet, I'll press my paper into it and we get a little prince like this. Very simple and just a little bit of pigment on the paper. You might want this type of thing. They're different effects you can achieve. So if you're looking for a full image, you'll do the technique we did first. Then we can do the 1st 1 we did here. And if you want just a little bit of color in your journal pages so you can work around it , you can use that technique. There's one more. Using a partial technique again will use the same green. We'll put a little bit of, uh, color to cover up the entire area. Our guide Clean my, Breyer that I'm going to put my stencil down, and with my sheet, I'm gonna take card stock. This time. I'm just gonna press certain areas and I get different effects. Do a little bit here, too. And so this is. This creates just again. Another distress to look that we can use from here we can take are cut sheet of jelly deli paper and press it straight out and we'll marry. Remove it. We get a very nice image. There's still some pain left on the sheet, so we'll try and pick that up with a piece of copy paper. We'll see what we have here, so we get a little more kind of an interesting effect, lots of shadows. And then once again, we can go over it with a little bit of your contrast in color and see what we can pick up all around. It really picked up a lot when we have a bunch of colors. Next lesson will work on adding a second layer to are already printed papers. 8. Layer #2: to add our second layer already use a different color or different colors, and we're going to take a different stencil. So I'm going to use this large stencil here with various rectangles, and it will give different shapes depending on where I put it. So I'm gonna take some blue this time using the same procedure, using my Breyer to coat the jelly plate, put my stencil down where I want it. And this is a great stencil for journaling because it has all these squares that will give us a spot to journal in. It'll take one of my pieces from the first layer. Think I'll take this distressed one. Now please sit down and then I'll burnish. And then I have a second layer added to the first distressed layer. I remove this. I have another layer I can add. I can either add this to my current distressed one or start a new, essentially a first layer. And then I have a piece of paper I can work with again. I'll do the same thing. I'll add a little more green to this. So put my blue a little bit of green stencil. I'll take this Here we go again. I have more paint here. Actual. Take one of these tags. Maybe two of them. Impress that in for the leftover paint. It's one tank and there's another I'll continue adding a second layer are the sheets that we did in our first layer and I'll show you that. But I'll speed it up, too. It's the same technique that we did. 9. Layer #3: to add our third layer. It's completely optional. If you feel you're a point on your paintings where you'd like to stop and you feel it's a good journal page, then go right ahead. But if you'd like to add another layer, um, we'll do that right now. So if I look through my current age is, I think it really depends on my mood. But there are a few here that I really like, just as they are. So I think I'm going to stop with these two pages, so I'll set those aside and we'll work on the remainder, adding 1/3 layer. So with the third layer, I'm gonna use smallest template here. Stencil. Put it face down. They'll choose my paper. Go through the same procedure after using your stencils. For a while, you get the feel of which ones produce a crisp image. Which ones produce a distressed look? So this one produces just a teeny little squares. It's very subtle, and I really like the way that looks. Take my tags. We'll take one tag and then I'll use this and I'll just just stress it in certain spots, so I'll sit it down but my finger Certain spots to give a different effect. Remove this. And so I have this for the tag. Can train, pick up some more paint, Believe that there, I'll pick up the remaining paint on my jelly Played. Use that again. I could add a little bit of this very light. Call it natural buff color can all use my stencil Actually put a little diagonal this time . There we go. Have that look and with my deli paper and actually put it on the back. So this is the area I've already printed on. We'll just put it on the back will give a different effect. Just whatever peeking through in the back because of the option of using either side of the deli paper once it dries. Then I'm just taking a little damp towel. And I'm just gonna go over my image here on the jelly plate to clean it, not using anything pointy. It's just a damp towel and my fingers I'm not wearing any rings, and I'm being careful not to have my fingernails gouge the print the plate, and that's all you need to do to clean it. I'll continue just adding the third layer to the last of these, and then we'll go over some tips 10. Tips for Using the Gel Plate: So here are some tips when using your jelly plate regarding the stencil. Depending on how you style the stencil, you'll get different results. So I'll show you that really quickly speed up parts of this video so you can see the result . So here I am, holding the stencil perpendicular to the plate and I get one effect. - Here I am using the same template, same stencil. And whereas I held it perpendicular before, now I'm gonna put it diagonal holding my paper the same way. And so instead of a polka dot square pattern grid, we have like a little staggered pattern. - And here, using two colors, I got a very soft effect. - And now just speed up using the last two stencils to show how you can layer circular stencils as well. 11. Clean Up: for cleanup. I just wipe down my jelly plate with a damp cloth, let it dry, and then we'll store it back in the packaging, so I'll put my for sheet on top. I'll take it, flip it over, remove it from the plastic. Um, what's the glass? And then all story inside this case, Keep it out of the sun in a covered and then it's ready to use whenever I want to use it. Just like that, for my Breyer already washed it. I soaked it in warm, soapy water. I let it sit there for about 10 minutes, and then I just pulled off a skin of the acrylic paint. That's the beauty of using the acrylic paint for my stencils. I just rinse them with clear water, rob him a little bit so some of the paint came off, but not much there currently drying. And when they're dry, I'll put them back in their case and put them away. I will wash this just with a little bit of soapy water, and then I'll get back to my papers 12. Class Wrap Up: to wrap up the class. I wanted to show you the finished product. So here are a couple of our fuel for tags that we printed. We use multiple layers to give us effect. Here are some of the pages that we printed in this class. We stuck with the same scheme of using three stencils for each result, and they were in the same family. So we used all circles or all rectangles, and then we use various colors to create the different layers. These make great journal pages because you already have a background. And depending on how much ink and colors and layers you add, you can get a very subtle background like this or more detailed background. They make great backgrounds for writing and drawing and even painting on. One thing I'm always intrigued by when I do my gelatin printing is the scrap sheets where I use to clean my Breyer or my stencils, or when I'm pressing my paper down to make a print. Here's one of the pieces of Delhi paper gave quite an interesting effect for something I wasn't even trying to dio. Then we have this one where I just cleaned my Breyer, and you could see the rolling from the different colors of paint I used. Here's where I was cleaning my stencils as I went along, another one where I rolled the Breyer and here's a combination of rolling the Breyer and the stencils. Here we go, and here and I'll say these and use these in my work. I'm always impressed by the unexpected little gems that are found in the scrap paper, and lastly, you combined your work. If you choose, this class is not about binding. You could take another class. I taught in expanding journal class using household supplies. This each is using an elastic and instead of five by seven cages, we just double this here. I just punched holes in all of them and I added thes book rings. And this way the journal will open flat. And here I took all my five by sevens, and I added just watercolor paper on the front and back, and I took it to a print shop like Staples or OfficeMax, and I asked them to put a coil binding on it. So they did that for me. It's going to show you the results the Journal opens flat, just like the other two, which I really like that effect. But you can see the different textures of the paper and the different weights of the various paper give a very nice look here I have a little tag and even more pages throughout some pages or more depth and others, but they all give a very interesting background. Here's the tag posted vertically and on these pages I printed on the front as well as the back, I hope youll try your hand at some of these gelatin printed pages whether you use the jelly plate by jelly arts or a foe plate like the one we made. Or maybe you have one of different brand. The beauty of using one of those methods is it gives you the ability to transfer images in reverse on here paper, and you get to move the paper where you'd like If you try your work, please post it in the project section. And if you're adventurous, try posting some of your scrap work. I'd love to see the results of your unexpected prints. Thanks for watching 13. Bonus Lesson: Printing with the DIY plate: another bonus class just to show you the effect you'll get when using our modified gelatin printing plate. So here we have our basically a rag in a bag, and I'll take some paint just like we did on the jelly plate. Well, swish it around so it has a little bit of give, and the paint will create a thin image, which is nice. We'll take our stencil a sheet of paper and we'll press. We'll see what result we get. It's a little sloppier feel with gelatin plate, but we get a nice image. We take that off and let's see what we get for our second print. Sometimes call the ghost Sprint. We get a very nice image there as well, and what's interesting is we get a little texture from the cloth that is inside the bag, so that gives a nice look. I'll go ahead and add the next couple of layers and show you the end result. So here we have our foe gelatin plate, made with just the rag in the bag, and it does give interesting results. It does mimic a gelatin plate or a jelly plate. However, it's not nearly as good in terms of, um, it takes much more paint and the paint dries much quicker. That being said, it's kind of a handy thing to have in a pinch. These are the results, think there are actually quite attractive, and I would I would use it again. I wouldn't give up my jelly played, but I would use it again. What's interesting is now I'm thinking of all the things I could fill in the bag to give different texture aside from our terrycloth texture. 14. Bonus Lesson: Stuttering Stencil: like to show you a bonus class stuttering Stansell technique, so you'll start with the dark color. Put it right in your jelly plate. Uneven mix colors on. Looks a little purple in the blue. Maybe put a little pink on this side, too. Good. Breyer that out. Then I would take my stencil and I'm gonna set it down and then I'll pick it up and move it slightly off of where I set it down the first time they'll take another color of paint. Just mix it over certain spots. No print. We get that effect. And then when I removed the stencil, see all the different colors and it produces a nice result. So this is a way to kind of fake multiple layers with just one print.