Friday, November 23, 2018

5 Easy Tips: How to Get Brave with the Gel Press

Last week I shared a speedy quick little video of a print that I made on the Gel Press. (If you missed it, it's below!) I wasn't sure whether anyone would think it was cool or interesting. But apparently people did! (Yay!) And I promised I would share the card I made with the print - plus, you get a bonus because I made TWO cards with that print! Ready to check them out and talk about printmaking with the Gel Press for a few minutes? 
To many crafters, the Gel Press is a little intimidating at first - I'll admit, I was one of those people! I knew I could use acrylic paint on it, but I wasn't sure about all that MESS. The Gel Press IS really fun to use with acrylic paint, but there are so many other options too! (And most of them are not too terribly messy either!) For today's print, I used FSJ's Re-Inkers. 

Why don't you take a second to watch this QUICK video, and then I'll walk you through the steps below. 

To begin, I dotted three rows of Re-Inkers across the Gel Press: Turbo Teal, Pool Play, and then Limeade Splash.  I knew those colors would blend nicely together - which brings us to the first Gel Press Tip.

Tip 1: Pick Colors That Play Nicely Together 

Whether you're using paint, Re-Inkers, or Liquid Colors this same rule applies. If you put green and red next to each other, there's a good chance you'll end up with an ugly brown, if you blend too much.  Choose colors that will blend beautifully into each other.

TIP 2: Less is more! 

After applying those dots of color, I used a brayer and blended them out until they filled most of the Gel Press. Generally, it won't take as much color as you think - and you can always add more if needed, so how about we say that's our next tip? Start with less color than more. You can always add more, but it's tough to take it away! 


(Seriously, you don't HAVE to....but you should.) 

After the color was blended and filled the press, I splattered Sparkle Silk. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know this is my GO-TO Gel Press technique. I absolutely love the way the Sparkle Silk allows spots of the white cardstock to show through, as well as adds a little shimmer. It's subtle, but adds the perfect amount of interest. Is that a tip? Sure!

After the Sparkle Silk, I pulled a print on Whip Cream cardstock.

Wait - What does it mean to "pull a print?"

It simply means - lay your cardstock down on top of all that inky goodness, smooth over it gently with your hands, and pull the cardstock back up, starting from one corner. Guess what? You've just pulled your first print. YAY! But we aren't done there.

Next, I placed the Polka Dot Wall stencil onto the Gel Press. (No, I didn't clean the Gel Press before doing this.) Then I dotted the same three colors of Re-Inker in the same order, onto the opened spaces of the stencil. I brayered right on top, to cover those dots with color and then carefully removed the stencil. Next, I pulled another print right on top of my first. Ta-dah! And NOW we're done. Then I proceeded to make today's two cards.

I love that the Gel Press prints really are the stars of the show on these cards, just enhanced by some simple stamping and die cutting. And you could use a print like this ALL YEAR LONG for any type of card. I'm excited to make some more, trying different color combinations!

Before you go, I have two more tips for you, about the Gel Press. 

TIP 4: Don't clean it too much. 

I know that sounds crazy, but if you can pull most of the color off by pulling prints on some scrap paper - do that. If you're completely changing colors, and you want it totally clean, wipe it with a baby wipe. But before you start another project, you may need to season it.  And that brings me to the last tip.

TIP 5: Season Your Gel Press. 

Let's say I'm going to start a new print in pink. I've wiped the previous colors off, and I'm about to start. I'll grab a pink color and add dots onto the Gel Press, and brayer it out, covering the whole Gel Press. Then I'll pull a print or two on scrap paper. If there's still ink on the brayer, I'll usually roll it out again and pull a second print. This will get a nice surface on your press, that's ready for your project. If you've ever brayered out color and it kind of beads up and doesn't stay smooth (if you've done this, you know what I mean!) then you need to season your Gel Press. Now, sometimes you WANT that beaded-up look. But if not, give it a practice run, pull a print on scrap paper and then your color will stay much smoother for the finished product. 

Alright friends! Ready to grab your Gel Press and give it a shot?! YOU GOT THIS. You can totally do it. Practice makes perfect! I believe in you! 

Looking for more Gel Press inspiration???? I've got some other great posts with tips, tricks, and techniques using the Gel Press: 

Supplies for Today's Cards:
Gel Press
Polka Dot Wall Stencil
Christmas Sprig Stamp Set
Frosty Snowflake Die
All Year Long Stamp Set
Silver Sparkle Tape
Turbo Teal, Pool Play, Limeade Splash Re-Inkers


Pam said...

Love using my gel press! Thanks for all the great tips and sharing your beautiful cards!

cghundley said...

Haven't used my press
yet, but enjoyed your
tips. Merry Christmas.
Carla from Utah