Featured post

Copyright for all text and images @bellabow.studio

Gelli print concertina sketchbook finished

I've had enormous fun printing in my gelli concertina sketchbook.

I had no driving force other than to just let myself go choosing colours, patterns and techniques as the mood took me. It's completed and I have a rather large collection of backgrounds now to do something with. Not sure what though! Perhaps a diary? Perhaps a place to stick little sketches?  Here's the last pages.

I also experimented with using the gelli plate to make a landscape, but can't claim success! It's a little too heavy handed, but of course has potential! I'll try again another day.

Fineliner quilting - the results

Yesterday afternoon was very blustery and I decided it was too stormy to be out in the garden, and stayed firmly tucked up in the studio giving the fineliner quilting a go. Here's the results!

I think it took a couple of hours to do and to mount onto a canvas, and I really liked getting in to the tiny stitching, but wished I used a darker thread for the blue bits. Maybe next time I'll run a quick line of stitching around the edge to help with the cut ends that you can just see, although they are not going to unravel as they are held in place with acrylic gel. (Maybe acrylic gel before cutting to size?)

A good and fun experiment though!

"Fineliner quilting" by Laura Kemshall

I can't give you a how-to on this one, because that would just be wrong.  I watched a video yesterday of how to do Fineliner Quilting by Laura and am itching to have a go myself. If you would like to know more about this technique, here's a link to their online design website.

First thing I need to do is to find a suitable sketch from my old workbooks. Here's 3 options:

A fishy lino print.

A sketchbook teapot and random backgroud.

 The sketchbook page with my Talking Heads - which was going to be a quilt series, but I never quite got there!

Monoprint - an easy picture to make using oil paints

The above monoprint (blue/black)was made with oil paints and the orange with Caligo printing inks. They were very quick and easy to do, and a pictorial how-to follows.

You need a very little amount of oil colour. Squeeze a little (I've used indigo and prussian blue) onto a small sheet of polythene. I have large sheets of this to cover my table, but an old bag or some packaging would work. Spread the paint using a spatula, scraper or a piece of card. It doesn't need to be smooth!

Here's my sheet of polythene covered with a thin layer of oil paint.

Next, tape a piece of printing paper or whatever you wish to the table to stop it from moving. Put a frame over the top to give a crisp edge. I've used an old card mount.

Tear up some light cardboard into shapes and put them over the paper. Small pieces work better than large.

Lift the polythene and carefully begin to press it over the card (which will probably move a bit). The idea wasn't to get a complete covering but just to press some paint into the background.

Here you can see how much paint was pressed into the paper and the shapes left behind by the torn card pieces.

Gently, with a sponge or piece of cloth etc., blur the edges of the shapes.

I used the end of a paintbrush over the painted polythene to give some movement with lines.

A final bit of blurring of the lines.

Below: the finished piece.

Gelli plate - Using embossed paper and the Xcut to create texture

There are lots of ways of getting texture into your prints - stencils, stamps, freehand drawing etc., but I thought I'd have a go with embossed paper. You don't need a Xcut for this, as there are plenty of wallpapers out there with interesting patterns, but I thought I'd make my own.

The Xcut machine and the embossing folders which you can buy at most craft suppliers

Opening the embossing folder to put a sheet of paper inside. I used thickish paper as it was to hand and was robust enough to deal with lots of paint.

The embossed paper. I set the machine to 6.

A pile of interesting textures to print with.

Preparing the gelli plate. I'm using golden open acrylics.

Magenta and orange paint being rollered onto the gelli plate.

Pressing the papers into the wet paint to get textures

2 prints on paper

And one using gold paint on black fabric. This would have worked better with a nice crisp cotton rather than the soft artificial fibres. Interesting though.

Allowing the paint to dry on your gelli plate


This has possibilities but needs work!

How it was done.

The materials: gelli plate, stencil, acrylics, brayer and baby wipes.

Roller some acrylic paint onto your gelli plate using a brayer.

Place your stencil over the top
of the wet paint

Take a print by rubbing a piece of paper over the stencil.

Leave the stencil on the plate.

Use a baby wipe to clear the negative spaces of the stencil of any remaining paint.

Using a sponge, fill the spaces on the stencil with a second colour of acrylic paint.

Gently lift the stencil to reveal the paint on the gelli plate. Leave to dry. This is very important. I didn't and ruined my print!

When the paint is thoroughly dry, squeeze some acrylic paint using a 3rd colour onto the plate. Roller on with your brayer. You need a very thin coat of paint, so clean the brayer between rolls on a piece of scrap paper. You should be able to see the colours through the top layer as in the photo below.

Take a print and rub very thoroughly on the back of the paper.

Because my paint wasn't thoroughly dry the yellow ochre paint didn't lift onto the paper, but stuck the paper to the gelli plate instead. It wasn't too bad as an experimental piece, and I can remember to do it properly next time!