How to pull Gelpress prints with Alcohol ink – A step by step

How to pull Gelpress prints with Alcohol ink – A step by step

Hi there

Thanks for popping in. I hope you are enjoying our Tutorial blogs this month? We are certainly building an interesting little library of ideas and inspiration – both here on this blog, and on the Clarity Matters Blog, where all our parching experts are hanging out! I must say, we are in very, VERY good company.

The Gelpress plate has certainly been a game changer in my arty crafty world. It gave me a bridge from craft to art, and even all these years later, it is still one of my favourite tools in my mahoosive art stash. If you have never tried this kind of art, but you like the arty grungy look, then I highly recommend it! We’ve reduced the price on these considerably too, so now would be a great time to go for it! There are several sizes; today I shall use the 8 x 10 inch plate.

Let’s take our Clarity elephant stencil ….

and have a play with some alcohol ink. There are loads of different alcohol inks on the market. My money’s on Ranger. I’ve tried others, but they were too watery. These ones work like a charm every time.

  • First, let’s load the Gel press onto one of our Perspex Megamounts. In my humble opinion, mounting the wobbly gelli plate on a rigid acrylic plate changes the whole functionality of the Gelpress.
  • Place the clean stencil on the clean Gelpress.
  • Decide which alcohol ink colours you are going to use.
  • Squirt a little ink from one of the colours onto the brown craft mat, and load your ink applicator. The yellow daubers we sell are great for this job, and can be used over and over again.
  • Start dabbing the ink onto the Gelpress plate.
  • Top Tip: start the dabbing AWAY from the stencil, just in case you have over inked the dauber. This will prevent flooding the elephant image and possibly seeping ink under the fine stencil lines.
  • Turquoise and orange always work beautifully together. And wait till we add the fuchsia pink colour! We have a fabulous assortment of Ranger alcohol ink colours, already sorted into 3’s. Ranger have created some beautiful colour combinations! We’ll add them into the Travel Gently through January Sale.
  • Be sure to use a different yellow dauber for each colour. This way the colours stay true. You can write yellow or red or blue etc on the handle of the dauber, for another time.
  • Once you have completely covered the stencil and Gelpress plate with alcohol ink, and it has dried (that happens very quickly), peel the stencil off and put to one side.

There are two potential prints here: one with the Gelpress elephant, and one with the stencil. Let’s tackle the Gelpress first….

System 3 Acrylic paint rocks for this print-pull trick. There are several acrylic paints which work – some better than others. This one gets my vote every time.

  • Squirt a little white acrylic paint on the craft mat,
  • Load your Speedball brayer by rolling back and forth.
  • Lightly and quickly transfer the paint to the Gelpress plate.
  • Cover the alcohol ink elephant with the white acrylic paint, gently rolling the brayer back and forth to cover the colour.

There are a couple of things I want to point out:

Use too much white paint and the ink won’t budge; use too little white paint and the paint will stick to the Gelpress. You do get a feel for it after a couple of times. It’s a process, and you have to FEEL your way through it.

When you apply the white paint, it’s better to add too much, and then roll it back off again with the brayer, rolling it off on a sheet of copy paper until you can just see the coloured image peeping through the white paint – THAT is the perfect moment to pull your print.

  • Flip the plate over and plant the painty side down onto a sheet of our large Stencil card.
  • Here you can see right through the perspex plate and the Gelrpess. That’s what you’re trying to print!
  • Flip back, rub the back of the card to transfer the paint, and then pull your print. As you peel off the card to reveal your print, you will know instantly whether you used too much white paint or not.
  • Mine was perfect, except at the bottom. If you look at the second pic below, you will see white paint flecks at the base of the gelpress. That is an indication that I didn’t have enough white paint in that area. And you can see on the actual print exactly in the same place where the print didn’t pull the colour with it.

Still very happy with this print though! Bingo!!

Next up: the stencil print. You can add more ink if you want to mottle the ink a little, as I have done here.

  • Add a little blending solution into a spritzer bottle. Best to wear a mask whilst doing this print,. We’ve all got plenty of them eh?!?
  • You will need a Die cutting machine to press the stencil onto and even into the card adequately. Which cardstock to use? Well, our Clarity stencil card works – you get a matt finish. I have used our Chromo card here, which is ultra gossy. Looks fabulous.
  • You have to work quite quickly, so have your die machine plates ready. I use a rubber shim, to embed the stencil /iimage in the card too.
  • Spritz the Card with the blending solution. NOT the stencil.
  • Lay the dry, inky elephant stencil down on the spritzed card, and run through your mangle, your die-cutting machine.

I had a couple of runs at it, on Chromo card (1 and 2) and clarity stencil card (3).

I really liked the scrap papers which I layed over the stencil prior to running through the machine, to soak up any excess ink.

Hours of play! And when you come back down to earth, and it’s time to mop up, that’s actually pretty clean too. Once the ink and the paint are dry, they literally wipe off the mat dry with a cloth….

…and the gelpress clean up lovely with water and a cloth too..

There you are. Fab and easy elephant prints, ready to frame.

We’ve attached super saver bloggy prices to this tutorial too. So have a look… CLICK HERE.

Stay safe

Love and hugs

Barb xx

19 thoughts on “How to pull Gelpress prints with Alcohol ink – A step by step

  1. And the copy paper ones perfect to doodle into like you and Tina did on designer paper a couple of years ago! Still have the sheet of doodles she produced for that and have used them in the SHAC Shack, especially the heart. Xx

  2. Thank you so much Barbara- really enjoying all the tutorials. I purchased a gelpress – have not used yet. Thanks for your inspiration – excited to get it out and play. First need to order white paint and daubers. The daubers look like a great tool to have.

    1. The One Day Special today on Hochanda is all about the gel press so if you want some ideas then have a look at the shows on rewind (final one on at 4pm). Lou really knows her stuff.
      Have fun!

  3. I haven’t tried AIs on the gel press yet but must give it a go as it looks so bright and pretty. Thank you for the step by step which helps a lot Barbara. x

  4. Hi Barb,
    Brilliant! However not one I can try as I don’t have any alcohol inks and I’m reluctant to buy any at present. The step by step is really useful, though if ever I do change my mind lol! Love and hugs,Alison xx

  5. Brilliant. I love this elephant stencil and have used it in many ways but there are a couple of new (to me) ideas here. Thank you so much Barbara – you are a gem.
    Stay safe.

  6. It’s quite worrying when you look on the offers page and discover you have everything!! Not every colour of alcohol ink but everything else!! Everyone thinks my bank manager is self isolating. He’s actually in hiding!! Lol. Anyway, having had hours of amusement with the clear stamp and the flowers over the last few days, I need to give this a go, too. Thanks, Barbara. Have a nice evening. Hxx

  7. Fantastic! I continually admire the results from the Gel Press. I shall have to put it onto next year’s ‘to try list’. I bought so much in the Pergamano and Gray Friday Sale, that I must use those first this year! Thanks, as always, for your inspiration Barb. Hugs, Gilly x

  8. love it! have kept meaning to get my Gelli plate out (don’t want to admit how long since it last saw the light of day) and this will spur e on to do it! Loving all the bloggy tutorials – fab inspiration

  9. I like the gel press print, think I have done something similar at your workshop. the stencil print might be a step too grungy for me but I am trying different techniques during lockdown. Thank-you for the tutorial. x

  10. This is awesome I have alcohol ink and gelli plates but not used them together , that’s what I’m doing tomorrow thank you xxxx

  11. Thank you Barbara for this demo on your blog with the alcohol inks.
    Will have to try this.
    See you tomorrow in the Shac.
    Lots of love, Trijntje Huppel

  12. Hello Barb, well this is just a wonderful project for me, as it uses one of my all time favourite stencils. Must get my gel press plates out and give it a go. Love your choice of colours. Take care and stay safe everyone. Bx

  13. Thanks Barbara
    This was really helpful I have never used alcohol inks with the Geli plate before.

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