I get lots of questions about gelatin plate printing, so I think I will post the info here to help you get printing and having fun.
First to make the gelatin plate go to How TO page and watch the gelatin plate video.
For the basis on printing watch the gelatin printmaking videos.
What type of ink to I use?
- I began with speedball water based block printing ink and Daniel Smith water soluble block printing ink.
- I recently I have used the Akua kolor inks. See a slide show video of some of those gelatin monotype prints here.
- I have experiement with other water based media such as poster paint and acrylic paint. Try what ever you have for water based printing ink and see what happens.
- Some artists use Golden Open acrylics or Createx Monotype inks.
What type of paper do I use?
- I like masa paper and
- sulphite drawing paper and
- tissue paper
- Paper that is smooth and absorbent work the best.
- I use 90 lb drawing paper for workshops.
- I have used slippery poster paper
- Bristol board works well
I do a newsprint pick up until I have removed all the unwanted plate ink and then I lift up the stencil and print the ghost. An example of this is the black line layer in the print in this post.
How to get crisp clean colors?
I use the Daniel Smith inks when I want the best color and I let the layer dry completely before printing on them again. This can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for the layer of ink to dry. Speedball water based ink does not dry fixed and when it is wet again the colors lift or mix.
Do you have to take the gelatin out of the pan to print?
No - you will just have to deal with the ink on the edge of the pan.
Why is my gelatin falling apart?
My guess is that you did not use enough powdered gelatin. I use heaping 2 tablespoons per on cup of water. The color of the gelatin plate should be yellowy. If your plate is more clear than yellow you did not add enough gelatin. If your plate is falling apart then leave it in the pan and print with it in the pan.
Why is my gelatin splitting?
I store my gelatin in the refrigerator to keep it cold and make it last longer. Well mine falls apart some times too. These are the factors that I think affect it-
- not enough gelatin in the gelatin/water mix I use heaping spoonfuls.
- hot weather,
- out of the refrigerator too long,
- pushing down too hard when you burnish
- using sharp objects as stencils or mark making tools,
- reusing (freeze/thaw/pour/harden) more than 3 times
- Handling the gelatin "roughly" When I transfer it to plexi glass I try to use broad hand and support it as much as possible, or make a plexi glass sandwich to flip it.
See a full post on Newsprint pick ups
What is the recipe to make the gelatin plate for printmaking? The basic recipe is 2 tablespoons per cup of water. One box (not one packet) makes 1.5 cups of water. So 10" by 13" cookie sheet is 5 cups of water. 4 boxes of gelatin. Don't skimp on the gelatin or it will be too weak and crack easily. Full instructions on how to make the gelatin plate go to HOW TO page
Do you have to make it in a cookie sheet? No any solid container with low sides will work. You could probably make it in small plaistic or aluminum containers and then each /person/student/kid would have her own and you would not have to cut it. I have made it in a styrofoam produce tray.
Where to get gelatin? If you are doing a classroom you might want to order online or buy it in bulk. I have used http://www.bulkfoods.com/
How long will it last?
- It will last a couple of weeks in the refridgerator.
- Cover it will plastic wrap.
- Don't let it freeze. see video on moldy prints http://www.youtube.com/user/lgcreate#p/u/1/I6Qv8RCIes0
- Or the video on how to refresh your gelatin in the blender http://www.youtube.com/user/lgcreate#p/u/0/JjSSX_gHyno
I need help getting the gelatin out of the pan -
here are some trouble shooting ideas
- You can leave the gelatin in the pan.
- If it is not a yellowy color then you probably are not using enough gelatin to water, so it will crack easier.
- Use a non-stick pan, that has a smooth surface. It will stick to rusty scratches on the surface of the pan.
- Let is get to room temperature. If it is right out of the refrigerator it sticks to the pan.
- If you notice that it is starting to crack, stop and try another angle.
- If the sides of the pan are too high then it is hard to get your fingers under and it may crack. I use the cookie sheets with 1/2" sides or so.
- Release the edge from the side by running a knife along the edge.
- Remove it from the pan within 24 hours of making it. The longer you leave it in the pan the more it seems to stick to the edge.
- Get your fingers under and keep your hands wide to support the gelatin.
- Make the gelatin on a plate of plexi by building a wall of plastic clay. Just make sure your wall does not leak and it high enough. Then you do not have to move the gelatin, just remove the plastic clay wall. I found that too challenging.
- I don't spray anything and I do use teflon pans. If the pan is rusty or worn it may stick in that area.
- Get the gelatin in bulk online or from a food supplier.
- Do it at least once or twice for practice before you try to teach it.
- You can make cook sheet size gelatin and cut to size.
- Place each piece on cardboard or plexi, wrap in plastic wrap and stack and store in the refrigerator.
- The gelatin does not like to be in very warm rooms and gets soft and crack easily in the heat. But then you just have to go with the flow and make it part of the design/challenge.
- Be sure to use the newsprint pick up to get the balance between the water in the ink and the gelatin plate. see the link above.
- Gelatin printing creates stacks of printed and textured paper.
- I make cards, crop into ATC's, layer and collage, frame and finish.
- I would love to see what you do too.
- Share on the facebook page or the flickr group
Daniel Smith inks make for a very strong detail/ghost, compared to the speedball inks.
Other factors are
- stencil material, plastic or paper, or wood or metal They all pick up the ink differently And for the ghost you don't want it to pick up ink at all. I like paper with a couple coats of matt medium.
- Sometimes I will pre ink the stencil on the underside - to encourage it to leave ink behind
- Room temp - cold weather not so helpful
- Moisture in the ink or gelatin plate too much - weal ghost
- dark colors make for the strongest ghosts
- don't clean your stencils let ink build up and mix and get unpredictable texture
What type of paint/ink to use with fabric?
I always say use what you have to start. And beyond that use something that is compatible with your fabric and something that fits your project. Does it need to be washable?
I have used speedball screen printing ink, pro chemical fabric paints, Dan Smith water soluble block printing inks and Tulip soft fabric paints. The stiffer the ink/paint the more detail may transfer. The more fluid the easier the paint transfers to the fabric but with possibly less detail. Heat and drying time can affect how the image transfers.
How to make a gelatin Plate for printmaking - the video
Quick video on the basics of gelatin printmaking
Gelatin printing artist trading cards - a short video
48 second slideshow of gelatin prints by linda germain and why she loves it.
Gelatin Printmaking tips page
Or Take the next gelatin printing workshop
The reusable plate for for gelatin printmaking Gelli Plate is another option. I have played with it a little and it does the trick and is very handy to have around.