Saturday, 13 July 2013

Adventures in Gelatine Plate Printing

I spent a few days investigating purchasing a Gelli Arts Printing Plate. I discovered it would cost between NZ$55-65 to get one from Australia or the US. I wonder if I can get one here in NZ??? Well, in theory, I can - in fact I’ve ordered one on-line from Zigzag (a NZ company) but they still haven’t replied to my email, and might never do so – I understand the owner is very ill.

Well, I thought, in the ‘olden days’ they used to make plates from ... gelatine (or gelatin for my American readers). How hard can it be????

Quality time on-line found me a couple of recipes, many interesting anecdotes, all sorts of ‘how-to’s’ and some awesome looking prints.
A trip to the Asian supermarket secured agar agar and a large packet of gelatine; a fossick thru the pantry found some more, slightly ... ‘older’ gelatine (evidently the stuff doesn’t go off); googling found a NZ supplier of Glycerin.

Wah-hoo-hay, as the Wiggles would say.

So, rock on Friday evening – I had less than an hour before going out again ...

I’d decided to make what, in theory, is a ‘non-degrading’, ‘plasticised’ jelly-plate, or Hectograph (yep, it’s a real thing – check this link!) 


Water (boiling)

I doubled this to fill the container I’d chosen – a plastic drawer, 12 ½ x 9 inches. I wanted something I could move easily, without splashing it everywhere. Also, I was concerned that while we were out, the animals might have a light snack! The plate is about 1cm/1” thick.

The theory is that the glycerin is meant to ‘plasticise’ the mixture, making it stronger and more durable. I stirred and stirred, making sure it was all mixed well, then left it to solidify while we were out. By the time we came home about 2130, it was nice and firm, but I was too tired to play.

Saturday morning – 1030 (ish) (after a nice sleep-in, with the help of pain-killers)

The plate (and I’m going to call it that, just letting you know), came out quite easily, after running a knife round the edges of the plastic to break the air seal. I placed it on a sheet of glass (left over from the last time I broke the lid of the fish tank). We tried wrapping it in plastic wrap, but there were too many wrinkles.

IT FELT DISGUSTING! OMG! Slimy, slippery, clammy, cold ... got any more good descriptive adjectives here? EWWWWWWWW!

Paper. Paint. Brayer. Texture plates, ‘stencils’.

Oh, texture plates – made some last night – got out my Cuttlebug and embossing plates, cut up some sheets of plastic (the sort you put on the front of bound documents), and wacked them thru – ooooh – such goodness!

   Artworks Violet (cheap, nasty) – didn’t stick to the plate, but sure stuck to the brayer. Added some Pebeo Rose and Vert – they stuck to the plate a bit better. Added some texture plates. Yeah. Well. Disappointing to say the least.

Kaibo Yellow (cheap, nasty – see Artworks) – again, didn’t stick to the plate. Chroma A2 Cadmium Scarlet and Plaid Folkart Cobalt (didn’t stick).

The first picture is the ‘front’, and the second is what was left on the brayer – the ‘wipe-off’. This still feels sticky and horrid about 10 hours later, as tho it has gelatine/glycerine attached as well as paint.

Sullivans Periwinkle + Plaid Folkart Engine Red – neither stayed on the plate, and the red was a bit solid.

Plaid Folkart Night Sky + Americana Fluro Yellow

You get the idea ... cheap and nasty paints don’t stick at all. Sullivans, Plaid Folkart and Americana were less worse. The Pebeo’s were ... ok. 

The best so far was the Chroma A2 Cadmium Scarlet.

The plate is already showing wear and tear after ... less than 10 prints maybe? 

Placing texture plates really didn’t work; however, using them with the paint onto plain paper worked well. The two stencils – star punchinella and holey cardboard, were much more effective.

Overall, I’m rather disappointed. Tomorrow I’ll try my Golden fluid acrylics, but I suspect they’re too ‘fluid’ to leave an imprint.

Tonight, I’m going to make a smaller, plain gelatine plate – which will need to be kept in the fridge. After church tomorrow, I’ll have a play.

What else have I been doing today - we attended the Bat Mitzvah of one of our best friends' daughters. Bethany Brown's coming of age.

Bethany and Alistair:

Such a privilege and honour to be present for this. And the food! Oh my goodness - Julia has been baking for days (or is it weeks?), so much beautiful, colourful wonderfulness.

And tonight, Becca and I are watching Fiddler on the Roof - girls night in - she's drawing, I'm typing, and the dogs are wuffing.


Brigitte aka Scrappassie said...

It's interesting to read about your experiment! Never found that recipe, I simply used gelatine (honestly, I only had a few packages of the stuff you use to cover a fruittart LOL). Although it wears out easily, I made a lot of prints with all kinds of different paints and it worked perfectly. The scratches and marks on the gelliplate just adds interest ;-) Try it again with thich gelatine, it has to become really firm! Mine also never felt slippery. Don't give up!

Sue Cottle said...

Thanks Brigitte - I've got a second plate solidifying - just gelatine this time.

Glenis Goodman said...

I just came across your page while researching how to make a gelatin plate and will try out your recipe. I wondered whether you had used oil- based paints / inks? That could be the reason they stayed on the brayer, they won't be able to sit on the gelatin's surface because gelatin is water-based. Water-soluble inks and paints, including acrylic, ought to be fine.

Anonymous said...

I have made 2 plates so far. The first attempt I had to melt it and fish out the hunks! I used it for a few prints then it cracked so I melted it again. I left it covered to about a week but mould set in so I had to throw it out. I have made a second one that cracked as I was getting it out of the mould. Remelted it and have made about a dozen prints on it. It cracked again. I'm just investigating ordering one from amazon. I would ultimately like the 12 x 14 inch but it doesn't ship to NZ. The 8 x 10 does. I really wish they had a 9 x 12 inch. What I have spent on glycerol and gelatin I could have invested in a bought plate.