‘Gelli’ Plate Printing for Monotype by Katherine Jones



Three key points:
• Avoid using sharp objects on the plates
• Clean the plate after use as instructed
• Place back in original packaging to store cleaned plate for your next project!

Important cleaning note – plate cleaning materials: Avoid using white spirit to clean the plate; instead smooth sheets of scrap paper, newspaper etc over the surface until any remaining ink has lifted off. Cleaning with white spirit will degrade the surface of the plate. If using water based ink you can wash the plate with water and mild detergent.

I am very excited to try using these plates too. They seem to have enormous potential for a variety of very exciting off press outcomes. A big thank you to Katherine Jones for introducing and writing this project for the Rabley Printmakers.

Introduction Katherine Jones

Gelli Plates are amazingly effective and pick up even the most sensitive detail. They are ideal for making monotype-style images without a press and are malleable, allowing you to print onto all sorts of materials including paper, fabric and even rigid surfaces like wood or cardboard.


• Gelli plate (on loan from RDC)
• Paper (any)
• Roller – any size or hardness
• Glass or flat surface (a large ceramic tile is good)
• Printmaking ink (relief or intaglio, oil or water based)
• Brushes – Something to thin ink for painting – For oil based ink use thin plate oil or a small amount of white spirit can be used if necessary.
• Leaves, feathers, string or alternative to use for printing

‘Gelli’ Plate Printmaking for Monotype – Part 1


1. Remove ‘Gelli’ plate from packaging and remove protective acetate film (keeping the film for storage of your plate).

2. Roll out ink very thin and even onto your surface and transfer onto the plate. The ink often takes a few rolls to stick properly.

3. Arrange leaves onto the inked surface.

4. Cover with paper and smooth the paper firmly over the surface of the plate.

5. Gently pull away the paper to reveal the print.

6. Turn the leaves or flowers over and place down on the plate without re-inking.

7. Take a new piece of paper and push down firmly again.

9. The result will be the ghost image (second passing) of the leaves and the silhouette.

Idea 2 – Monoprint and Ghost Monoprint

‘Gelli’ Plate Printmaking – Part 2

1. Roll ink out again and use a dry rag to remove the ink.

2. You can also paint directly onto the plate using thinned ink to make positive marks.

3. When your image is complete place paper over the plate and smooth over with your hand. Gently pull back the paper to reveal your print.

4. You can quickly develop a sequence of images using the trace of the last print to inform the next.

4. Again you can take a ghost print of the plate (second passing)

6. To clean the plate – smooth sheets of scrap paper, newspaper etc. over the surface rather than cleaning with white spirit, which will degrade the surface of the plate.


‘Gelli’ Plate and general print supplies

General print supplies: Ink, drypoint plastic, paper, tools, rollers etc.

Download worksheet

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