Category Archives: Recycling, Repurposed

T2inspired “WOW-MOM” Gelli Prints: Part 1 The Inspiration

I came across T2‘s online advertisement for Mother’s Day, which was a GIF that slowly transformed the word WOW into MOM, over a background of abstract shapes. The colours used for the background were restricted to varying shades of pink, red, orange and yellow.

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I decided I would try creating some Gelli Prints using only those similar colours. Using my newest homewares-sources texture mats. And then, for contrast, using inks from the blue spectrum to fill in the spaces in-between.

So, here are my latest finds from the homewares aisle of local shops, which will create the marks for my Gelli plate prints. These are silicone trivets, a pencil case (yes, really),  felt placemats and a plastic/raffia round placemat.

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And here’s my restricted palette of colours to be used:

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As you can see, I get my acrylic paints from various sources. I like them runny and squeezy, as they’re easier to apply to my Gelli Plate that way. I find the paint in tubes a little too dry and hard to brayer on the Gelli Plate. These tubes are cheap, costing me only around $2-5 each.

Tomorrow I will show the results of this WOW-MOM Gelli Plate Printing experiment.

Adventures in the Homewares Department

I was queuing up at my local Spotlight homewares, Arts & Crafts depot, waiting to buy some binder rings for an art project. There were 2 kids and their mother behind me, and the little boy wandered over to a shelf by the side and picked up a circular turquoise-coloured something. His mother told him to “Put that back!” right sharpish, and so he did. But not before I noticed that said circular turquoise-coloured something was made of silicone and had a beehive pattern on both sides, and could possibly make a wonderful texture stamp for my Gelli Plate printing.

So, as soon as the boy dropped the object back on the shelf, I picked it up. It was labelled a “hot mat”, but essentially it’s a potholder or trivet for putting hot pots/pans on, to save your kitchen countertop.

It was beautiful.

Having bought my newest texture-making toy, I started searching the kitchen and homewares aisles of my local KMart and Target stores. And of other, independent stores. I believed I could find some pretty amazing things that I could use for my Gelli Plate printing, at a fraction of the cost. My turquoise trivet had set me back $6.50.

My mission came up trumps. Here are some photos of my new stash of (cheap as chips) goodies:

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The 3 in the top photo are silicone heat trivets, or hot mats, if you will. The others are placemats made of compressed felt. The last one, the red, however, I believe is made from extruded rubber or plastic.

Now to go create some Gelli Art with my new finds! I’ll be sure to share the results with you in my next post.

Strip Art

No, no, not what you’re thinking. Pfftt! Tut tut. Naughty naughty ;-).

I mean Art made from Strips of Gelli prints. That’s my latest creative notion, one that I’ll get to eventually once I’ve done the 101 (ahem!) other little projects I’ve set myself.

Like these that I’ve curated from Pinterest. The first one is my ultimate aim; the Pinterest link led to an Etsy store, but the item had already been snapped up by some lucky bugger. So I thought to myself, “Never mind, I’ll just have to make my own!”. The others are for inspiration. Go, me!

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Mini Art Journals from Gelli Prints

So, I’m awash with all these Gelli plate monoprints. I’ve kept the best and my favourites (not necessarily exclusive to each other) for myself, but still there are dozens of prints that did not quite make the cut, but are too pretty to just throw away.

What’s a girl to do?

I know, make some mini art journals. I can then write in them, sell them on eBay and Etsy, give them away, or Abandon them. Hmmm…sounds good to me. Reuse, recycle.

Here we go!

I used my A3 prints. Folded them in half lengthways, tore them rather than used scissors. I like the ragged deckled edge look. Some further folding and tearing later, and et voila! I had enough to make four 10-page mini journals. I used some twine that I’d saved up from parcels received in the post (always one for recycling), and secured the pages together…if I need to add to the pages or change their order, I can simply untie the twine.

Some of the pages had empty spaces near the edges. Others looked a little drab. So I dragged out my stash of Tim Holtz Ranger Distressed Ink Pads and Ranger Dylusions Ink Sprays, and had a field day playing with colour.

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Some photos of individual pages:

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You like? I like!! :-)

More Mask Making – WAVY STRIPS & BILLABONG BOULDERS

Encouraged by the successful outcome of my first attempt at creating my own stencils/masks, (see post here), I had a go at making more masks.

I’d read about using Tyvek for making stencils, but Tyvek it very expensive, when you can get it. My plastic files from KMart cost me $3 for a packet of 6, and they go a long way.

WAVY STRIPS
The Wavy Strips masks are really simple to do. I just used a pair of scissors and cut strips out of my green plastic file. I took care to make the cuts wavy and some parts wider than others.

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I used up all the green plastic, then found myself left with the clear cover part. So I used duct tape to make a simple envelope to house my Wavy Strips masks in. Neat!

BILLABONG BOULDERS
For these masks, I wanted to recreate geographical contours like hills and also represent billabongs (Australian watering holes), boulders and perhaps hint at Aboriginal Dot Paintings.

Using the same technique as for making WAVY STRIPS, I drew shapes on a blue piece of plastic file, and cut them out. I also used up a clear piece of plastic file, so I ended up with lots of circular shapes that could fit into one another, and little and large pebble or egg shapes too.

Notice I’m not precious about cutting exactly along the lines I drew. Accuracy does not matter when it’s organic shapes you’re creating.

Here are a couple of photos of the clear masks just arranged over black paper.
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Here’s a photo of the blue masks:
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Oh, and I made an envelope for them too, using the clear leftover half of the file.

Coming up next – what I did with these 2 masks. Stay tuned!

Handmade Stencils & Masks

I wanted to make my own stencils and masks, for more Gelli Plate printing fun, so I had a look in KMart for suitable materials. I didn’t want to be splashing out money on a simple piece of plastic that could be gotten anywhere.

And I’m pleased to report that I’ve discovered a really cheap source of stencil blanks. They’re a pack of 6 plastic files, in dark pink, blue and green, plus clear for their covers. At $3 a pack of 6, you can’t go wrong.

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For inspiration, I used the seaweed-like motifs on this wrapping paper.
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I cut out the motifs I liked, then placed them on one of the dark pink files, traced around them with a copper Sharpie (the closest thing to hand), then cut them out.

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Et voila! Simple as a pimple. Handmade stencils. Which can also be used as masks…no, not for your face, but to cover over areas you don’t want to paint over.

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Here’s an example of how I combined the use of my handmade circular Gelli plate with my new Seaweed Stencils/Masks. If you brayer a layer of paint over the Gelli plate, then lay a few of the seaweed stencils over that, and pull a print, the stencils act as masks or resists, leaving you clear unpainted areas.

If you then remove the stencils (using tweezers), and pull another print on a fresh piece of paper, this is what’s called a “ghost” print, and you’ll essentially get the opposite of your first print. Areas that had paint will now be the clear areas, because you pulled that off with your first pull, and where the stencils were will now be paint, which gets stamped onto your fresh paper.

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Here are two examples of a simple, basic “brayer on paint-lay on masks- pull print” technique using a rectangular Gelli Plate. I really like the organic shapes of the masks, they remind me of the botanic-inspired prints of Henri Matisse – see the 2 Matisse examples below:

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Hmmm…I may have subconsciously just tapped into my Muse. This has exciting possibilities!

My Gelli Plate Is No More!

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That’s right. You’re looking at the remains of my 8×10 inch Gelli Plate.

No, I did not chop it up for my dinner last night. No, the dogs did not get to it. The Kid did not destroy it.

I have a confession to make. I did it. With a pair of sharp scissors. In my studio. On the table. But I did not do it in a fit of anger. Rather, I did it in the name of Art because I wanted some round or circular Gelli Plates and they were going to cost me upwards of $35 for a small one. And here I had a nice 8×10 inch rectangular Gelli Plate. Actually, make that 2, because I bought 1 for The Kid. His is still pristine in its clamshell packaging because we’ve been sharing mine.

So, instead of buying a circular Gelli Plate or three, I decided to sacrifice mine and see how many new Gellis I could get out of it.

Use scissors, as due to the wibbly-wobbly nature of the Gelli Plate, it is very difficult to cut it accurately with a knife. Even with the scissors, I found it hard to get a perfectly smooth edge, and so my circular plates have small imperfections.

Which won’t matter in the grand scheme of things, as I now have not 1 Gelli Plate but 15 different pieces of varying shapes and sizes, that I can use as stamps for monoprinting.

Note of caution: only resort to this drastic surgery if you are okay with having some imperfections on your resulting plates. Who knows, you might have a steadier hand than mine, or a better and sharper pair of scissors, and your new plates might come out perfect.

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These are the sweet tins I used to mark my circles. In this photo you can see I’ve already cut out part of the large circle. I feel a song coming on: 🎶🎶🎶Past The Point Of No Return🎶🎶🎶.

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Here’s what I got out of my 8×10 inch Gelli Plate.

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Reassembled back onto its original protective acetate sheet. The Gelli Plate is stored sandwiched between 2 of these acetate sheets, and then in a clamshell case, to avoid drying out.

Coming up next…what printing with these new Gelli Plates and stamps looks like.

More Letterpress Stamp Artwork

I don’t know what it is about Western Australia, but it seems to me that the only place I’m able to find Size 8 Shipping Tags is at Stamp It in Victoria Park, which takes me over an hour to get to by public transport. These are the big tags, measuring 10 x 16 cm. They’re the ideal size for practising mixed media art on. I bought a pack of 20 from Stamp It, and only now am I realising just how rare they are.

None of the stationery shops near me have them. Not even my local Spotlight. All they stocked were the usual small tags with the string attached. My local scrapbooking store, Made With Memories, had them…but only in brown or black. I wanted white or cream.

They’re not easily available on eBay either. But luckily I managed to track one lone listing, and by gosh it was a multiple lot too, so I bought 2 lots of 40. Which should last me, oh, til midweek next week.

Meanwhile, I did find some white cards at a very nice size, 10 x 15 cm, very close to the Size 8 tags, at a newsagents.

They’re called “System Cards” and the brand is Panther. Here they are nestled hand in glove inside a thrift store box I got a while back, that had been sitting empty until now. A perfect fit!

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And here’s what I did. I used Tim Holtz’s “White Picket Fence” Distressed Paint for the stamps, and the backgrounds were done and blended using Distressed Inkpads.

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The alphabets that I used to make the letterpress stamps are wooden. The numbers are made of corkboard. Corkboard has a dimpled texture, different from wood, which is smoother. This difference is evident in the prints above, especially in the last one, which looks mottled.

Homemade Letterpress Stamps

One of my favourite pastimes is searching for bargains at my local thrift stores. Depending on what I’m into at the moment, it could be books, canvasses, Art, bric-a-brac, dressmaking patterns, picture frames, teacups, toys…your guess is as good as mine. If it looks like I could use it somehow, or modify it to suit my purpose, I’ll buy it.

Last year I’d bought a set of 4 square melamine-coated MDF drinks coasters. Which I never got round to doing anything with.

A couple of months ago I’d bought a set of wooden alphabets. Which again I never got round to doing anything with.

Last week I bought a set of cork numbers. I’d been in town looking for stamps and stencils and had come across the set, and for some reason my mind did this calculation:

Coasters + wooden alphabets + cork numbers + acrylic medium = handmade upcycled letterpress stamp.

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I’d always admired Letterpress-style stamps. But they were always way too expensive to buy. So why not have a go at creating my own?

And so I did. Not just one, but 4. 2 with both letters and numbers, 1 with just letters and 1 with just numbers. The acrylic gel medium worked a treat as an adhesive. I also sealed the letters and numbers afterwards with a layer of the same acrylic gel medium.

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And now for the question – how would these stand up to being used as stamps?

I used acrylic paints and spray ink on my handmade letterpress stamps. They came out a treat, with minor imperfections, which just added to the charm.

Have a look:

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The next test was – would cleaning up these stamps be easy, or would they fall apart if they went under the tap for too long?

Turns out I was able to wash them under warm running water without any problems. I used a stipple brush to get into the cracks and spaces.

Very happy with my new letterpress stamps! I have big plans for my babies. :-) Oh, and by the way, I’ve discovered that old drinks coasters make ideal mounting blocks for stamps, so guess what I bought next from my thrift store…

Paris Ooh La La!

Always one for recycling, I found these 3 square art canvasses at my local thrift store, for a paltry $2 each. They look rather alien, don’t you think? ;)

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To start off, I wanted a sturdier background to work with, so I pasted some thick Laura Ashley wallpaper samples over the canvasses. There’s nothing worse than trying to stamp on a soft, wobbly background.

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I then laid down some blocks of colour using acrylic paint. Again, no idea where I’m going just yet. Next, I stuck on some vintage dressmaking pattern tissue paper – a favourite technique of mine, as it always sparks off ideas. Then, I added ephemera – scrapbooking paper, washi tape, birds, butterflies.
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And here’s what those alien critters became:
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Now for some stamping. I’d recently bought a set of Paris-themed ink stamps, so I tried these out.

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After a few mishaps (and cover-ups ahem!), and some judicious spray varnishing, here are the final results of this little experiment of mine. Voila!

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