Gel Printed Paper: Collage Birds | Daniela Mellen | Skillshare

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Gel Printed Paper: Collage Birds

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.

      3 Prepping the Papers


    • 4.

      4 Gel Printing Set Up


    • 5.

      5 PFL


    • 6.

      6 PFL Small Papers


    • 7.

      Gel Printing Fails


    • 8.

      Multiple Colors in a Single Pull


    • 9.

      9 PFL Tips & Techniques


    • 10.

      Adding 2nd Printed Layer


    • 11.

      Results of Gel Printing


    • 12.

      Using the Template


    • 13.

      13 Collage Bird 1


    • 14.

      Another Collage Bird


    • 15.

      Final Details & Variations


    • 16.

      Class Wrap Up


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About This Class

Create collaged birds using gel printed paper in this fun class that combines printmaking and collage. Using a gel plate, acrylic paints, adhesive, papers and scissors, we'll create beautiful and original artwork. Each bird is made from handmade prints, then collaged to form a striking image.

This class includes basic printmaking techniques and collage techniques that when combined, form beautiful images. Vary the colors according to what you like, and watch as the fun patterns from the printmaking come alive to form intriguing textures and variations in each part of our finished images.

I’ll demonstrat printing techniques on standard copy paper, Deli paper, and tissues paper. The copy paper is the most durable, followed by the Deli paper, and then the delicate tissue paper. I've included tips on working with tissue paper, as well as a Gel Print Fails class, to help you avoid the pitfalls.

Included is a Gel Print Download if you'd like to get started on the Collage portion of the class.

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. I'm Daniella Melon, an artist and author here on skill share. Today's class is gel printed paper, collage birds. Collage is a fun process, a technique of combining paper shapes to create a new image. It's the combination of shapes, colors and forms that is intriguing. In today's class, we will make a paper assemblage of birds. Using are handmade printed paper using a gel plate waken. Create vibrant, engaging images on our paper. He's print that we make will be unique. We will choose the colors using acrylic paints and the patterns using stencils that the first stage is printmaking and it's addictive. Then, when the papers air dry, we will cut or tear the paper, using the class template as a guide to create the pieces that will fashion or burn. I've included lessons for gel printing onto copy paper, tissue paper and deli paper. Each one has unique properties. Gel printing is a fun and easy former printmaking, but using delicate tissue paper has to be treated gingerly to that effect. I've included a gel printing fails video to guide you through this unusual art supply and help you avoid some pitfalls for your class project create some gel printed papers or you some that you have on hand. Or you can download some that I've included in the project section so that you could get started making your collage, then create your bird or even a flock of them using some inspiration from class. Please take a photo of your work and posted in the project section is sure to follow me here on skill share to get notified of future classes and please consider leaving a review . Do you have any class suggestions? Please leave them in the comments section. Thanks for joining me Now Let's get started. 2. Class Supplies: the class supplies that will need for our collage birds class include the class template that you confined in the project section and a pair of scissors to help you cut that out. Then we'll need a Breyer, and that's to apply. Paint to the gel plate will use some acrylic craft paints. I prefer those with a matte finish. Then I have some copy paper. I use a stack of it, and I use this to clean my Breyer. Here. I have an acrylic plate and that holds the gel plate in place as well as the gel played. I use, um, different papers for printing to get different effects. Just standard copy paper is terrific. Here's some tissue paper that I cut down to size, and that's very delicate. And then also, I have some deli paper, which gives the same effect as tissue paper but is a little more adorable here. I have an assortment of stencils. I have different spacing on the stencils, and that variety gives a nice look to the finished product, so just use four or five from your stash that you have. I think you'll have really good results. Lastly, we'll need some adhesive to collage our paper. Any of these will work. Hodgepodge Matt Medium fabric Tack. Next up will prep the papers for printing. 3. 3 Prepping the Papers: to prep my papers for printing. What I want to do is take my tissue paper and I unfold it, and I want to cut it in manageable sizes. So after a unfolded off, take a few layers of it, folded in half and then cut depth gel plate size sheets. And I do this by cutting through about four or five layers. And so I take the giant sheet, cut it in half, and then I'll take that half sheet and cut it in half again, and that gives me the approximate size of my jail plate. You only an abundance of this paper because it's very delicate. And so there will be some that gets tor nor ripped. Or if you're not quick, it'll stick to the gel plate and I'll show you some of that. With the gel Printing fails in a later video. The deli paper that I use is very adorable by comparison. It had similar effects to the tissue paper. I do cut that down to size. It will be narrower than my jail played, but that's not gonna be a problem, since I'm gonna be cutting up the paper to collage and lastly copy paper. And that doesn't require any preparation 4. 4 Gel Printing Set Up: the gel printing set up is crucial for success. You want to have your materials close to you to start. I have my acrylic plate that I sat down and I put my jail plate onto this acrylic plate. It doesn't require any adhesive, and it just makes the plates stick, and it's easier to work with. I removed the plate from the packaging, stick it on the acrylic sheet. My jail played a sandwiched between two sheets of Mylar, and I store all the packaging materials, the sheets of Mylar and the plastic box. It comes in together, and I put it away and store it that way. And then I gather my supplies. I keep my Breyer and a stack of copy paper close by. The copy paper is used to clean the Breyer and the stencils. I keep them the copy paper to my right because I'm right handed, so it might be convenient if you're left handed. Use to the inverse of this. Then I keep all my papers that I would like to print on close by, as well as my paint in my stencils. 5. 5 PFL: to start gel printing. First thing we'll need to do is select the color you want to create for our first pull or print. I like to stick with color families when I'm collage ing, because I know that I'm going to use the blue for a body or a wing. So I like to choose a couple of colors of blue, different shades here used a light in a medium blue, put a few drops on my plate and then with the Breyer, I rolled it out to get an even layer. I immediately clean my Breyer on the scrap paper next to me, and then I'll set my stencil down onto my jell plate. From here, I'll select what paper I'm going to use. I'm choosing tissue paper, which is very delicate. I also have to work fairly quickly with the tissue paper because the paint will dry and cause a tissue paper to fall apart. So I set my tissue paper down on my stencil, and then I try and get a nice even coating of paint through the stencil. The tissue paper will peel apart, so I always take out one of the layers. It might be a little stained from paint. Then I takes my regular pull here, making sure that all the paint is where I want it, and then I'll carefully pull it up, set the paper aside and let it dry. So there's our first poll from here. I can make a decision. Do I think there's enough paint left on the stencil that I could try a second poll? And that's what I'm gonna do. So I began to go through the same procedure. I set my tissue paper down and then with my hand, I burnish everywhere, trying to get his much paint onto that tissue paper as I can. The tissue paper might wrinkle a little, and that's all right for the look that we're going for. So here I get a lighter print than the 1st 1 we did. At this point, I'll remove my stencil and depending on how I place it, if I place it down onto my scrap paper or I can place it up and then put a piece of paper on top of it. Putting another piece of tissue paper on the jail played here because the tissue so soft and thin it fold on itself, so I just very carefully lifted up, set it back down, and then I'm burnishing it once again before I fully remove it. So that's our third pull from the gel plate, and I really like the way that looks. I'll take a piece of paper and put it onto my stencil here, and that's kind of 1/4 pole, even though it's not from the plate itself. Once again, the tissue paper came off in layers. I have that one layer down, and I have to work fairly quickly, and then I can pull that paper right off and there's our poll. I repeat this procedure with the remaining colors to create a first layer on my papers. 6. 6 PFL Small Papers: When created your painted papers, consider what colors you'd like to use in your collage. I made sure to include brown, so I have a color for the beak and the legs as well, in addition to the fund colors for the body. Now, when creating a gel print where you have smaller papers that you want to make the po on you follow the same procedure you did when you created them with a full sheet of paper. So you'll add pain to your gel plate. Roll it on with your Breyer to create an even layer and then place your stencil down. In this case, I did of Pull with a full sheet of paper the first time I use tissue paper and it came apart in layers, just like it did originally. I made that pull very carefully, and then I used smaller sheets for the next layer Here. I just took a sheet, and I put it exactly where I wanted it. I did this because my sheet wasn't big enough to cover the entire plate, but it doesn't matter. Here. I took a piece of copy paper and I just held it down over the partial area of the wet paint on the plate. Then I took a poll with both of them. While the pain only covers the partial area on the full sheet of paper, it covers a good portion of the area. On the sliced deli paper, you can intermix full sheets of paper with smaller pieces of paper as well. It just creates various interest in the layers. In our next chapter, we'll look at some gel printing fails. 7. Gel Printing Fails: Inevitably, there'll be some mistakes when you print on the jail plate, but most of them could be remedied some one way or the other. And if not, it's just a piece of paper. So here I've created a gel print where I let the tissue paper stay onto the paint on the gel plate. Too long resulted in the tissue paper sticking to the gel plate, kind of disintegrating before my eyes. Part of the problem is, I think I used too much paint in retrospect, but also I know I let it sit on the gel plate too long. This is a matter of just becoming used to what you're doing and getting a feel for it. So here I added the layer of paint. I added the stencil, and I put my piece of copy paper on and did my first pole. Everything was going well. Then I took a piece of Delhi paper. I did another poll use my Breyer, and that was successful. And here's where the problems began. I put down my tissue paper onto my gel, played and then I rubbed in, trying to get us much of the paint onto the fish. tissue paper as I could. I took my time here. I moved around. I played with stencil a bit. I tried to take my print off of the stencil, and then when I went back to remove my tissue paper, As you can see, it started to fall apart. My problem was, the tissue paper is very delicate. While that maneuver may have worked with a deli paper or with copy paper, the tissue paper was having none of it. So here the tissue paper was fine on the stencil. But as you could see, I still had trouble removing it from my jail plate. I took my time and removed as much as I could, trying to salvage it, so I had enough of a peace there I could use for my bird collage. And then I had stuff stuck to the gel plate. It was not a big deal to remove it. A damp paper towel picked off what I could and then remove the remainder with a damp paper towel. And then, for my second fail, I added too much paint. What happened was I tried to squirt the paint out, and too much came out onto the jail plate. I've known from past experience not to try and salvage it by just pulling the print anyway . So what I'd have to do is just remove it. So I took an object that wasn't gonna scrape my jail plate a non pointy paint spreader. And I'm just removing that paint onto a paper towel again. You get a feel for how much pain is necessary on your jail plate and how much is too much. It's all a matter of experimentation. This one was easy to remedy. Then I went about my way, creating that even layer with the Breyer putting on the stencil and making my polls. The next chapter will have some more success and will use varying colors of paint on a single pole. 8. Multiple Colors in a Single Pull: previously. When making our polls, we've stuck to colors within the same color family. Sometimes it's nice to create a pole with various colors that offer a little contrast. So here, when I'm doing to make a brown layer, I have my brown pigments that I add that I am I black and then I'm gonna add some yellow. It kind of creates a variation where it's not a solid color blended all and unify it, but there's still differences in color. I also clean my Breyer on a piece of paper with this tent stencil tucked underneath, and that creates an interesting result using the Breyer on the paper. So here I take my tissue paper, put it on top of my stencil and pull the first poll. There's still a lot of pain left there, so I'll take another piece of tissue paper and create a second poll gives an interesting effect similar to the first poll. Now I'm removing my stencil from underneath my scrap paper, putting them a new stencil down on it, and I still have a pull left on the gel plate, and so there we have a poll made with various colors. Instead of all brown. There's brown, black and yellow. So there are four poles and then I'm doing a final poem, basically to clean the gel plate. But I'm using a piece of Delhi paper that has not been cut in half, and that's really just to clean the gel plate. 9. 9 PFL Tips & Techniques: here. He did a series of polls, and I've sped up the video so that you could get a lot of information from here. I just wanted to comment on some of the tips that you dio as you experiment and learn As you go, you don't have to have one stencil. You can have multiple stencils on a sheet, and it gives an interesting result. On a single page. You have various prints. Another techniques that's very interesting is to after you have a little bit of color left on your plate that you've already pulled off the rest and layer of white paint on top of it . When you pull it, you'll get the result of what's closest to the jail plate, not what you see when you make the pole. Another tip is to try and use these stencils in an unusual way. So instead of being straightforward, put the men of angle for collage work this pre. It's very interesting effects, since you don't need a full sheet of that different pattern. There's also an interesting effect when you have a light color on the gel plate and you add dark color to it. So here you can see a little bit of the light colors showing through against that dark purple, and it creates a very interesting effect. Gel printing is very fun. Ah, lot of the time you just spend playing and learning and discovering new things that work for you. You get a feel for how much paint to use, ah, feel for what colors complement each other and which ones are very unexpected. 10. Adding 2nd Printed Layer: Now we're gonna add a second layer of paint. Two are already printed pages. This creates a very interesting effect that a lot of contrast between the second layer and the first layer, and it creates a very nice look for collage. The procedure is the exact same. Adding the paint to the jail plate, rolling it out evenly and using your stencil. Now the fun comes in that you get to select one of your already pulled sheets of paper. Do you add a second layer to it? So you want to choose different shapes you see from your stencils or different colors of paint you use what it depends on what look you're going for. If you want to stick with the same color family or if you want a lot of contrast and it becomes very fun for the second layer, you can also add 1/3 or fourth layer, and you could just decide to stop. You can stop the first layer, or you could just continue to add layers until you have the look that you're trying to achieve. 11. Results of Gel Printing: And here the results from the gel printing these air multiple layers that we made. I tried to stick to color families, um, within each sheet because I knew I was gonna use them for the body or the wing or the beak . I have lots of blues greens. I have some red. I have a few browns and then I have yellows. I've included five images from these gel prints that you can download. They could be found in the project section. 12. Using the Template: to use the template printed out off the project section. Select which bird you'd like to use, then cut out the different shapes that coordinate with each bird. There's a wing, a body. Some of them have capes, beaks. You cut each one out to use it as a template, and then you'll trace around it for your work. 13. 13 Collage Bird 1: to create my collage bird. I select the bird and the template that I've already cut out that I want to create in collage papers. I take template, and then I trace it around the color of the paper that I selected for that part. In this case, I chose a wing, so I'm making it blue traced it around with pencil and now I'm cutting it out. I'm taking my time to make the cut fairly nice and now set that aside and work on any other pieces. So here we have the wing. I've decided that I want the body to have this yellow tone to it. So I found a piece of the yellow, um, tissue paper that we gel printed. And so now I'll do the same thing. I'll trace around the template to create the body, and then I'll cut it out. So cutting out the tissue paper is a little difficult because it's so delicate, I gingerly handle it. The addition of the acrylic paint stabilizes the tissue paper somewhat, but it's still very delicate, kind of flimsy. In places. I trim up any odd parts, so I have a nice shape and I set that aside now for the tail. I find a spot where I want the color just right trace around that, and then I'll cut that out. And now for the beak. I look for the my brown paper, and then I'll find a spot that has the right coloring and effects on it so I can use my template to trace out my beak. Then I'll cut that out as well. Lastly, to make the perfectly round I instead of trying to cut that out by hand, I just took a hole punch and punched into some black card stock. You could use black paper as well or any color I that you would like. So now that I have all the components of my bird together, I set them aside. And then I decide on what color background paper to set them on black white pattern paper. Another piece of gel printed paper. It's up to you. Then I take my adhesive. I have a small cup of water that I keep with it and my brush in this way. If I get called away for any reason, I can just drop my brush in the water and they won't ruin the brush piece of scrap paper so that I can pay theeighties it very carefully onto each piece, the back side of each piece of the components of the bird, and I just paint that right to the edge, and then when it's ready else it, place it down in the paper. The tissue paper is very sticky, and so I have to work fairly quickly. I don't want to tear it. I also know that I want the tail feathers to go underneath the end of the body. So I lift up that body just a little bit so that I can slide the tail feathers underneath. Once I have them where I want them, I'll set them down and gently burnish them with my finger just to get rid of any wrinkles. If the paper fold over itself, I trying just very carefully, gently toe unpeeled. I'll use my brush or my finger to avoid ripping it, and then I just slide it back in position. From there, I'll test out where I want my wing to go, and then Aditi's it to that. I add the beak by putting on more adhesive, getting it all over my fingers as well, because it's such a tiny piece and setting it down. And then lastly, I'll do the same thing with the I. So I'll set that down to dry just like that. If you want to put another layer of, um at he's of on top of the paper, you can. I want the look to look match, so I'm not going to do that. We'll set that aside and work on some final details later. 14. Another Collage Bird: for another bird will use the same procedure. I use the same template, except I reversed it. You could just take the template and flip it over. I already cut out the pieces here and now I'm just trying to place them just so I know where I want them to sit on the piece of paper. I'll add my adhesive to each piece, starting with a piece of the bottom. This time this is the tale, and then I'll continue with the other pieces in the order at which I'm building them. So the body is next putting lead, a nice even layer of adhesive all the way covering the body right to the edges. And then I'll place it down onto my paper. I'll add my wing next, doing the same procedure and then eventually the beak and the I. The colors here are so vibrant. The gel printing looks so nice against the white background 15. Final Details & Variations: Now that we have our birds complete and they're all dry on the paper, now is our chance to add any details that we might want. I like to add a little highlight to the eye with a white gel pen. Then, from here, you can decide if you want to add any lines to emphasize shadowing or create a border or if you want to add any shadows here, I'm just taking a black marker and I'm just making a light line following the outline of the different shapes of the wing. I really like the way that looks. It emphasizes the beautiful curves of the wing, and it kind of grounds the bird up against the black background. I outline around the body, the wings and the tail I outlined around the beak. It doesn't really show up because of the dark color cross hatching. Might be a nice addition to this is Well, I just made a couple of parallel lines. I'm for think bird here. I'm just gonna create a shadow with some light gray marker, and that's just to create a border between the white background and the bird Again, I want to really emphasize the brightness and the colors, along with a pattern that we created when we gel printed. Now here we have some variations. These were the all three of the birds done with different colors. Of the papers that I gel printed. I put the one a black background, and I may just some skinny legs. I'm making the outline of a tag so that I can cut around the bird, leaving a little black border and punch a little hole in the top to hang it from either putting it on a tree or hanging it in my studio. These air adorable little birds. They make great gift toppers or even decorations for a little tree I'm gonna use one is a bookmark as well. 16. Class Wrap Up: So now, with all our birds, it's very interesting how each of them has a different look based on the paper, but they're adhere to. So when we have them on printed background, you can see through the translucency of the printed pages how that comes through as black wise on a black background or a white background, the birds send up tend to look a little differently. I hope. Youll try your hands in a collage bird and post your work in the project section. Please be sure to follow me here on skill share and consider leaving a review. Thanks for watching No.