What to do with your Gelli Plate Prints

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For those of you who have been playing with your Gelli Art mono printing plates I’m sure you have a huge collection of colourful prints. So what are we actually going to do with all of these Gelli plate prints?

using background papers for mixed media art ideas

Here are some of the projects Michelle has undertaken to put these colourful prints to use. If you don’t have a Gelli plate or a huge collection of Gelli plate prints, you can always use bought background papers or backgrounds you have made using other mixed media technique, like Credit card printing or found object painting.

Swap and Share

One of my crafting friends had admired my colourful Gelli print backgrounds. For her birthday I chose some of my favourite prints and put them into a nice folder. She was delighted with them and even made me a card from one of the prints I had given her.

using background papers for mixed media gift ideas

The prints are also fun to swap and share with friends, as each of us has a different style and colour preference, so all of the backgrounds turn out so differently.

Handmade greeting cards

using background papers for mixed media art ideas

It is easy to turn your Gelli plate prints into lovely handmade greeting cards. My preference is to simply cut or tear to size, add a little ink around the edges and stamp a greeting. Then use double sided tape to stick it to the card. This is a great way to show off the colourful prints and not hide any of the details.

using background papers for mixed media art ideas

I have also used my punches to cut out shapes from the Gelli plate print. These cards were made for my Christmas cards for 2013. Firstly I punched shapes out os several sheets of gelli print paper, so I had a variety of patterns and colours available. I then arranged the pieces and checked I was happy with the overall colours and patterns. The shapes were stuck down using a glue stick. To finish off the cards are used some Christmas stickers. These were simple to add and stood out well on top of the brightly coloured background.

using background papers for mixed media art ideas

Teabag Folding

Teabag folding is a specific kind of origami. You can buy prints that are identical to make these arrangements. I decided to try using my Gelli plate prints.

Firstly I cut out 8 2 inch squares. Then folded them into the correct shape.

using background papers for mixed media art ideas

I stuck into the eight pieces carefully into the flower arrangements using PVA glue on a toothpick to get into the folds of each piece.

using background papers for mixed media art ideas

Once the flower arrangement was dry I did added it onto the card background with double sided tape.

using background papers for mixed media art ideas

These cards are not as simple as the ones above but they are worth the effort and are perfect for crafting friends who appreciate them.

Art journalling

While I am making my Gelli plate prints, I also use the excess paint from the stencils and brayer in my art journal to create a pre-painted background. It is then easy to use the colour-coordinated prints to add features in the art journal layout.

Here are a few of my favourites:

using background papers for mixed media art ideas

using background papers for mixed media art ideas

using background papers for mixed media art ideas

using background papers for mixed media art ideas

Paper ornaments

For my 2013 Christmas ornaments swap I also used a piece of Gelli plate print. You can see the full details of how these were made here at #4. Like the teabag folding it was a tricky process but I love how it turned out.

using gelli arts mono printed papers for mixed media art ideas

Personalised Envelopes and Stationery

Having these prints lying around certainly makes it handy when you need inspiration. When I needed a quick gift wrapped for a Christmas gift, I decided to turn one of my sheets into an envelope. I then sealed it with double sided tape.

using background papers for mixed media art project ideas

using background papers for mixed media art project ideas

That inspired me to make more envelopes. And want to have finished with the envelopes I still had more offcuts, so I got out of my punches and created some stationery to go with the envelopes, decorating the plain copy paper. It will make a lovely gift.

using background papers for mixed media art project ideas

using background papers for mixed media art project ideas


We hope this has given you a few ideas as to what to do with that BIG pile of Gelli plate prints you have been creating. Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive – if YOU have another great use for handmade background papers, we’d LOVE to hear from you – just leave a note in the comments!


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Documenting your Creative Process with an Art Journal

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There is nothing more frustrating to have created a wonderful mixed media painting or when you have mixed paints to create new, wonderful colors, and then not being about to repeat the process or outcome because you can’t remember what you did in the first place. That’s where an Art Journal or visual diary can make all the difference. By jotting down a few key steps and materials you used in your artwork, in creative journal, you will have a reference when you are looking for ideas or wanting to replicate a certain technique.

Have an art journal at hand to note down colours and materials used

Tips for using your Art Journal

Here Michelle shows you her art journal and the kind of things she documents.

Here is the final mixed media painting Ocean that Michelle was creating while documenting the process steps and the acrylic paints used.

tip in swap spread with "Ocean" as the theme

When you compare the initial sketch at the top of the page in the art journal, shown above, with the finished piece, you can see the sketch is only a rough outline of how the final piece turns out. That’s fine. The art journal is to simply document any thoughts and ideas that you have at the start. then you can show the layers, as you have added them. Note that paints or mediums you have used.

When selecting a book to use as an art journal, consider the different types of mediums you are most likely to use and choose one with paper that matches. Here I’ve used a visual journal, which is great for sketching and adding little samples of paints and adhesives. Some inks and too much paint will run through the pages, so keep the paints fairly dry.

I tend to use both sides of the pages but will always start an important piece of work on a new page. That way I have a nice clean sheet, without any lumps of bumps underneath the paper. Then I can use the backs of pages for straight sketched or to develop and document ideas for future projects.

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Faux Stitching

This article is written by Dawn Stegall of Faithfully Yours

I don’t know about you, but I love the look of stitching on my craft projects.  However, I really don’t want to drag out my sewing machine. Actually to be perfectly honest, I don’t want to take the time to learn the proper needle to use, tension, etc. So instead I prefer an easier and quicker method.

Supply list:
• serrated tracing wheel
• gel pen, markers, pens
• soft surface (mouse pad, etc)

Step 1: Create Holes

Using tracing wheel, create your holes where you want your stitching to be. I traced around the border of my patterned paper.

 Mixed media art technique

I have a clear 6 inch ruler I like to use as a guide. Be sure to press hard enough to create the holes. This is why a cutting matt will not work, you need a softer surface to create the holes.


Step 2: Faux Stitch

Using gel pen or marker of your choice, “connect the dots”.  I keep the ruler in place and simply draw a line.

Mixed media art technique

Close up of “stitches”.

Mixed media art technique


Super simple, yet effective!


Method 2:

Use a marker and draw lines freehand to create your own faux stitching. I like to use glaze pens as they dry with a slightly raised surface. This gives your stitches a more realistic look. Note: for this method do not use a ruler as the pen tends to bleed under the ruler leaving smudges on your finished project. (plus allows for a more realistic hand stitched look)

Sample card:

Notice the striped panel of patterned paper from the tutorial above. Inside the card I used method two and drew the stitches freehand with a glaze pen. Under the circle, I stamped a sentiment on the inside of the card.

Mixed media greeting card

Mixed media greeting card


Dawn Stegall strives to be a good steward while remembering God in her scrapbooks.

For a free guide and weekly inspiration visit http://www.FaithfullyYours.net




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Five Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered

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This article was written by Martice Smith II

Use these simple approaches and general advice to get your artworks exposed so others can be inspired and get to know you and your creations. These tips will help both new and experienced artists!

Five Ways To Share Your Creativity & Get Discovered; Illustrated image

1. Above all, be true to YOU

Create what makes your heart sing and be happy doing it!

When you’re doing what’s fresh, interesting, and authentic to you, you make it that much easier for the marketplace to find you. Yes, it’s that simple!

2. Process is messy

Be open about what you’re working on.

Now is not time time for toiling away in your studio with absolute secrecy. Ask for feedback – don’t take it as criticism. Look at it as gathering information.

• Collaborate on a project with another artist…try asking someone whose work you admire but is a contrast to your own artwork.

• Discuss or teach a class, highlighting a simple technique.

• Share sneak peeks of your works in progress, your ideas and even what you’re learning online. Accept that, over time, you will evolve as an artist and learn to embrace change.

• Keep people “in the loop” of the changing influences that relates to what you’re working on.

(For example, show a new color palette of colors you mixed yourself; explain why the #2 fine-liner paintbrush is better for drawing your stylized hair strands; or provide a quick review on chisel tipped paint markers.)

The creative process is messy and should be fun!

3. Document

Even if your eyes will be the only eyes to see it, always take a record of what you are doing.

• Photograph of your work at different stages in your process or shoot a video of you working. (You don’t need to be all tech-savvy – just use what you have and start there!)

• Give people the experience of how you shape your art work by showing them behind-the-scenes; see how they react to it. Sometimes, you really don’t know what you have until someone’s spark ignites a new perspective. You’ll never know what stage in your progress will inspire or resonate with someone else.

4. Celebrate other people’s successes

That’s right – this article is about others just as much as it’s about you… It’s perfectly fine to celebrate your accomplishments but when your friend says that she just sold her painting, express your genuine excitement for her AND take it a step further by sharing her great news with your audience as well.

Teaming up with another artist to spread the word about each others’ recent success, instantly makes a greater impact.

This can work as an opportunity to visually show what inspires or influences your own creations. Not only will you pique the interest of others with this new artist, but your friend will be so grateful that you shared in her success.

5. Let go of crutches and PLAY!

I love covering a journal page with my graffiti handwriting. Seems like I can’t get away from it…or can I?

Lately, I’ve been making an effort to leave the scribble scratch behind (or cut back on it!) just to see what other direction I’d take.

During my printmaking challenge, I used a variety of found materials (sticks, yarn, bottle caps, etc.) to re-create the grungy, uneven texture that I love. What a surprise that was!

• Push yourself to try new tools and experiment with unfamiliar techniques.

In conclusion, creativity is not an antisocial act. Let go of your ego and remember: there is no one-size-fits-all plan for everybody. Flow with whatever’s good for you.

Be open to sharing your process and allow for the possibility of people to have an ongoing connection with you and your work. All you have to do is show your work.

“Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I invite you to join the Uneek Art Letter, my monthly newsletter, that offers more art biz tips and advice that will keep you in front of the right people.

What are some ways you like to share your creativity?


Mixed media artist and designer, Martice Smith II

Martice Smith II is creative director of Martice Smith II – Illustration & Design Studio , based in Kansas City, Missouri and owner of Uneek Art Boutique. She established herself as a freelance Illustrator and graphic designer after receiving her Bachelor of Arts Degree. Her stunning illustrations reveals her love for fashion, typography and wildlife- using a combination of analog and digital techniques.

Martice also contributes as an article writer for the Creating Mixed Media Art website.

You can see more of her work via her Facebook page or her blog.




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