North Redwoods Book Arts Guild

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Gelatin Plate Printmaking Workshop

Note measurement change below, in red.

Michele O. will be teaching a Gelatin Plate Printmaking workshop for our January 2010 meeting. This is a process that requires no press and uses quick-drying water-based inks. We will use plates made from gelatin and explore design, color, texture, value, and imagery using stencils, direct painting on the gelatin, and transfer techniques. The finished product is considered a monoprint, but it is possible to print a second or even third image. Small gelatin plates will be provided (2.5 by 3.5 inches), but participants are strongly encouraged to make their own larger plate to bring to the workshop. 

Bring the following (two people can share items 1 and 2):
1. At least one tube of Speedball block printing ink, water soluble, in whatever color you would like to use. These can be purchased individually at The Art Center (Eureka/Arcata) or Ellis Engineering Eureka and NORBAG members get a 10% discount).

2. Brayer: soft black rubber sponge roller or soft beige rubber roller (Ellis Engineering, The Art Center, Michaels). No hard black rubber rollers or inexpensive sponge rollers.

3. Surface for rolling ink:  glass plate, small cookie sheet, small plastic chopping mat or plastic placemat.   
4. Surface on which to place gelatin mold: piece of glass, cookie sheet, plastic chopping mat or plastic placemat.  

5. Clean rags or paper towels

6. Spray bottle (for water).

7. Assortment of paper pre-cut of 4 x 5": drawing paper, printmaking paper, old phonebook or book pages, coffee filters…whatever you want to try printing on. Be generous—we’ll probably be making quite a few prints. For those bringing your own gelatin plate from home, which we strongly encourage you to do—you’ll get more out of the workshop that way—you should also bring an assortment of some bigger papers, slightly larger than your plate .

You’ll need these supplies for the accordion sample book:

1. One 5.5 x 22" sheet heavy-weight paper, grain short for accordion book.

2. glue stick
3. bonefolder. 

You are encouraged to 
bring any of the following:
1. Cheesecloth, string, leaves, flowers, feathers, bubble wrap, lace, paper doily, fun foam, and anything else that can withstand getting paint and gelatin on it for purposes of creating images on the printing plates.

2. Small, soft paintbrush suitable for water based paints.

3. Metal or plastic palette knife

You’re also encouraged to make and bring your own gelatin plate. This is easier than you might think. It shouldn’t require too much kitchen prep time. The longest part of the process is spent waiting for the gelatin to solidify. You should do this the night before in order to allow enough time for it to set up properly.

Making a Gelatin Plate:
1. Use a glass or metal pan with a smooth bottom. A Pyrex pan 7 x 5" inches is a good size. You don’t want this to be too large.

2. Place the pan on a level surface and fill with cold water to the depth of ¾ to 1 inch. Pour the water into a measuring cup to determine the amount of water to be used.

3. Determine the amount of gelatin. For each cup of water you measured you will need 2 envelopes of Knox gelatin or 2 TBS of quality bulk gelatin.

4. Pour half the water into the pan and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let the gelatin granules swell until the mix looks like applesauce. Gently stir.

5. Boil the rest of the water and add to the gelatin applesauce. Stir gently until the gelatin is dissolved.

6. Gently drag a paper towel or piece of paper across the top of the gelatin to remove bubbles.

7. Leave the gelatin pan on the table until it begins to set. Then move it to the refrigerator, where it should stay until it is solid.

8. Cover and bring to class!

Michele also has a post about making these gelatin plate monoprints, with links to additional resources, at her blog.

1 comment:

  1. HI there,
    Thanks for putting my printmaking with out a press on your blog roll. Have fun gelatin printing. You can see several of my gelatin videos at