Thursday, June 18, 2015

Gelli® Printing with DIY Cardboard Texture Plates!

Get a head start making your own custom-designed texture plates for Round Gelli® plates by beginning with pre-cut cardboard cake circles! Watch this video and see how easy it is to create texture plates for monoprinting using these corrugated cardboard circles.

The baking aisles in craft stores are stocked with a number of products that have potential use in printmaking — and it's a fun place to get ideas. What captured my attention were the cardboard cake circles! The sizes are just right for making texture plates for the round Gelli®  Plates!

Corrugated cardboard is like a springboard for the imagination! There are countless ways to create textures on a cardboard substrate for printing. Plus, corrugated cardboard's unique layered and laminated structure means you can carve interesting designs in it, then pull back the top layer to reveal striped areas! Let's explore that process!

All you need for carving cardboard texture plates is a craft knife with a sharp blade, a cutting mat, and a pointed tool.

The cardboard cake circles I bought are regular corrugated cardboard with brown kraft paper on one side — and shiny white paper on the other. After experimenting with cutting and printing both sides, I found the regular brown cardboard side printed the best and resulted in the crispest images. So that's what I recommend.

You can work freehand, or draw your design on the cardboard first and cut along the drawn lines. Don't cut all the way through the bottom layer — just the top. I tend to cut through the corrugated layer too — it's hard to avoid — and that's okay. It also helps to mark the sections you want to remove.

Cut your design through the top layer of the cardboard with a craft knife. Then remove sections of the top layer of paper — revealing the stripes below.

To remove a cut section of the top layer of the cardboard — carefully pull it up. It helps to slip a pointed tool, like a knitting needle or an awl, into a 'valley' under the area you wish to remove. That helps lift the paper — revealing the striped corrugated paper underneath.

TIP:  The top paper does not usually come off cleanly. So, while pulling the paper up, I run an awl or knitting needle along the edge of the 'mountains' to help release the paper. A tweezer comes in very handy to pull up any small or stubborn remaining pieces.

As you're tearing and removing the top paper, you may want to leave some of the peeled paper remnants that stick to the corrugated 'mountain' part of the cardboard. The torn paper remnants can create a more organic look in your prints.

You can also trace a stencil onto the cardboard and use that as your guide for carving the cardboard! Cut along the lines and remove the top layer of paper — leaving the areas that are the 'holes' in the stencil — to create your pattern.

Add layers! Cardstock, chipboard, or manila folders are all great paper materials to use for adding shapes to your cardboard substrate. You want to be sure to glue any papers securely to the cardboard so they don't come off while printing. Tacky glue works well.

You can create interesting printed images by gluing torn paper, hand-cut shapes, die-cuts and punched pieces to your cardboard plate.

Punching holes into the cardboard plate with an awl will create dots in your printed image.

Printing with cardboard plates:
  1. Apply acrylic paint to your Gelli® plate and roll into thin layer with a brayer.
  2. Press your cardboard plate firmly into the wet paint — and remove.
  3. Place your printing paper on the Gelli® plate, rub to transfer the paint — and pull your print!

The paints used for all of these prints are Amsterdam Standard Series acrylics. They have a fabulous line of colors — one of my favorites is Pewter. It's a beautiful metallic — and great when layering with other colors! 

If you're into neon brights — check out their Reflex colors! The final pull on this print is toned with a solid sheer layer of Reflex Rose. Seriously vibrant!

When working in layers with the same texture plate, as you press the cardboard plate into wet paint on the Gelli® plate, each layer is usually a bit out of registration. That can create a 'drop shadow' effect, which gives the print a dimensional look. Very cool!

It's so satisfying to make your own unique cardboard texture plates! And cardboard is everywhere! Keep your eye out for round cardboard packaging! It's a great find when you come across it :)

Cardboard texture plates are sturdy and can be used over and over! And the prints are so wonderful!! Try it!

Eventually, the cardboard texture plates can become so layered with paint they develop a beautiful patina — and you may want to use them as collage material. They can even be a finished piece of art — as is!


Winner is Camille G-H!

Our FABULOUS giveaway is a complete kit for making exciting ROUND prints with DIY cardboard texture plates!

The Prize Kit includes:
  • 1 - 8" Round Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plate
  • 1 - 6" Round Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plate
  • 1 - 4" Round Gelli Arts® Gel Printing Plate
  • 10 - Amsterdam Standard Series Acrylic Paint - 120 ml Tubes
  • 1 - Speedball® 4" Soft Rubber Pop-in Brayer
  • 1 - 6 in. Wilton® Cake Circles - pkg. 10 count
  • 1 - 8 in. Wilton® Cake Circles - pkg. 12 count
  • 1 - 10 in. Wilton® Cake Circles - pkg. 12 count
  • 1 - X-Acto Gripster Knife
  • 1 - Gelli Plate Printing: Mixed Media Monoprinting Without a Press - 144 page book signed by author, Joan Bess

To enter the giveaway, click on the red "ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE" button below! (This will ensure that we can contact the winner and that entries are limited to one per person. One winner will be selected from all the entries via a random number generator to receive this very special giveaway!) Entries will be accepted until noon EST Monday, June 22nd, 2015. Our lucky winner will be contacted by email and announced here on the blog and on our Facebook page no later than 5pm EST on June 22nd, 2015! 



Remember, we now have Gelli® partners all over the world, so it's easier than ever to find a Gelli® retailer near you!

Good Luck and Happy Printing! 

Materials Used In Today's Blog:

4" Round
Gelli® Plate
6" Round
Gelli® Plate
8" Round
Gelli® Plate
Wilton® 6"
Cake Circles
Wilton® 8"
Cake Circles
Wilton 10"
Cake Circles
X-Acto Gripster
Creative Mark
Cutting Mat
Clover Bamboo
Knitting Needles
110 lbs Cardstock
Manila Folders
Tacky Glue
Clover Straight
Tailor's Awl
Amsterdam® Standard
Series Acrylic


  1. I will never look at corrugated cardboard the same way again.

  2. I love this! What a great idea!

  3. Wow this gives a whole new meeting to recycling ! I love it ! Now if I could only gets my hands on these round babies, I'd be all set ! Thanks for the opportunity

  4. what a great idea of using the cardboard circles!
    stamping sue

  5. This is true creativity at its best! Seeing something with "different eyes" is how my Grandma was a brilliant crafter. Thank you for sharing this super easy and affordable way to jazz up Gelli Arts. Creative Bliss and June JOY...

  6. I'm going right out to get cake rounds at Michaels, I am spending 3 days at the coast on an art retreat, and am doing Gelli printing, the whole time!

  7. What a neat idea to use the cake circles to use with the round Gelli Plates.....would love to have the package. I love my 8x10 Gelli Plate.

  8. What a fantastic idea - now where are all those cardboard boxes...

  9. What an amazingly creative idea Joan and the results look really stunning too.
    Thanks for the chance at a giveaway too as the round plates are on my wish list.
    Fliss x

  10. another terrific tutorial and another great way to use up my cardboard stash!!

  11. great tutorial...great giveaway. hope i'm lucky!!

  12. Love this idea and the results! Looks like lots of fun. Thanks for sharing such wonderful ideas.....Linda E.

  13. OMG!! I am seriously salivating at the thought of winning this fabuliscious prize package!!! To get my hands on all of these delicious goodies has me quivering with delight!!! Fingers tightly crossed and praying to the Gods of Randomness that my name might be drawn!!

  14. I soooo want to try this! I learned about it at Dick Blick Art store first and have been aching to give it a go ever since!

  15. What a fantastic giveaway! This tutorial is beyond inspiring on utilizing things we may have in the kitchen pantry to use with our plates!

  16. Love the video. Just got my 6 inch circle. 4 inch soon. You have so many fun techniques. I was a gelli fool this week. Love my gelli!

  17. These are awesome ideas. I would love to win.

  18. I so want the round plates! I have the big round but I want the little rounds. Great video and fabulous idea to use the cake plates. The cake decorating aisles are great places for inspiration. Thanks for sharing.

  19. These are such GREAT ideas you gave us ! With a cheap product we can make so much cute creations :D I love how you added different thick textures ;-)

  20. Great ideas.
    I'd like to know if international can enter for the giveaway as everytime I try I have the message error that I haven't write the right code even if it is
    Has Someone else the same problem?

    1. Hi Kiaretta! Please email me at and I will make sure you are entered. Our contest is worldwide (just like our customer base!) so stay tuned.. we pick a winner today at noon EST. Happy Printing!

  21. So glad that you and Michelle Ward work together. Her genius techniques translate SO well to your delicious Gelli Plate Wizardry. More please......

  22. These are so cool! Never thought to use cardboard circles like this! I so want a Gelli Plate! :)

  23. Time to re-kindle my love for all things Gelli!

  24. I can't wait to try the cake circles. Great idea!

  25. Wow, very cool! Never ending surprises from my gelli plate!

  26. Wow, very cool! Never ending surprises from my gelli plate!

  27. you are amazing!!!!!! the ideas keep on flowing! thanks!!! <3

  28. Thanks for the chance to win, my granddaughter and I enjoy using the Gelli plate and she wants one of her own. Great ideas, thanks for the tutorial!

  29. Wonderful tutorial and creations. Thank you so much for the chance to win. I would love to do this.

  30. Wonderful video. I love seeing things in a new way. Never would have thought to make the geared edge on the cardboard by using a hole punch. I'll be using that idea! I still wish I could do this with my elementary students but I am concerned about classroom management. Anybody have any experience and hints to share?

  31. Could you please tell me what background Latin music was playing on your round cardboard texture plates video.

    1. The song is 'Bailando Salsa' by Olive Musique - hope you like it!

  32. Yet another interesting method for printmaking with the Gelli plate. You never cease to amaze me by coming up with incredible method after incredible method!

  33. thank you very much for telling me about Bailando Salsa by Olive Musique. I really enjoyed the track.

    thanks again


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Happy Printing!
Gelli Arts®

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