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How to - Gelli print card making, using an XCut machine

Cards are nice things to make as they are fairly quick and ultimately useful. These cards were made as an experiment to see how much detail you could print from a gelli plate using acrylic paint and stencils cut from an XCut (or any die cut machine)

Here's a how-to in case you'd like to try something similar.

First of all, you need to cut your stencils out of paper (card, fabric etc would be too thick for printing from, but you could also use a very thin plastic of some sort. I used printer paper).

The die I'm using is a bee with quite intricate wings. I'm using a sheet of waxed paper over the top of it and then the printing paper. This helps the die to release the paper and it's fiddly bits more easily.

I've set the machine to 4.5, but you may need to experiment with the settings to see what makes a good cut for the die you're using.

The die has cut the shapes and I've carefully peeled them apart and put to one side. As you can see the paper left behind from the cutting is also useful for printing through, so don't throw it away!


You're now ready to print

You'll need some background papers to add to the insides of your cards, so step 1:

Choose your colours. I'm using Open acrylic paints. This means they don't dry as quickly as normal acrylics - almost essential I'd say.

Put a little on your gelli plate and roller over with a brayer to cover the entire plate.

Put a piece of paper over the gelli plate and press and smooth over the surface. Lift the paper and leave to dry.

Do this several times replenishing your gelli plate with fresh paint for each print.

Don't worry about taking a second print (a ghost print) on this occasion as you need good strong colour.

Leave your papers to dry thoroughly.

Now go through the same process with your card stock. I didn't add any texture to the plate at this stage.

The results of the rollered paint are quite lovely and happen naturally. Keep going with the printing and replenish the paint on the gelli plate for each card.

Leave to dry.


Overprinting - now for some texture

Now we can overprint to add interest and texture. Roller paint colours onto your plate. At this stage I'm changing to green gold, yellow ochre and white.

I've pressed a wooden stamp onto the wet paint, to leave an impression. I also went on to add other stamps and pressed stencils into the wet paint.

As your stamp will be wet from the gelli plate, why not add it to one of those printed sheets of paper you've made?

After creating some texture, gently place the paper cut outs from your die cutter over the surface. No need to press. I've added some cup cake stencils that I cut at the same time as the bees.

Gently position your painted card over the stencil, and gently press. Rub softly. Lift and remove any paper stencils that may have stuck to your card. They can be used again if you're careful.

Just carry on printing, replenishing the gelli print for every card. In between printing the cards you could take a ghost print onto paper if you want. (Lay a piece of paper over the gelli plate with stencils that you've just printed from, and press firmly. You should get a second print)

Here's mine all done.

When everything is dry you can embellish - it's difficult to see but I've added glitter to the cup cakes. I've also made the inside cover a bit more interesting by using acrylic gel to stick on some of the printed papers. This is useful if you've been a bit messy and splashed the paint around a bit!

Some of the bees!

 Inside the cards

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