Gelatin Printing Adventure +Blog Angst

Gelatin printing

The Angst

First of all, I realized that I was putting too much pressure on myself to compose coherent blog posts. Which basically meant that there were no blog posts. I think I read too much about what you “need” to have in your posts to be “successful”.  Eff that, we’re going stream of consciousness with this shit.  I might actually post something this way.

I’ve been working on a few projects lately, and despite the fact that I was planning on having Craft Fail posts, I felt like I needed to complete my disasters before posting.  Like I had to take pictures and document the failure to write a “good post”, when what I really wanted to do was take a picture of my project in a dumpster with the caption “Well that sucked!” This is where the stream of consciousness thing comes into play.  Or….stream of life perhaps? 

*Throws all blog advice out the window*

The Gelatin Printing Adventure!

Affiliate links included in this post.  See Disclaimer.

I love Craftster.org!  Along with Pinterest, they are responsible for the majority of my oh-so-brilliant ideas.   They also have Organized Craft Swaps, and my MO is to sign up to make something –that I’ve never ever made– for a total stranger.  Yay!!  Sink or swim bitch!

So I signed up for a Gelli Print Journal Swap on August 7 and have until August 31 to learn what the eff I’m doing, make 15 Gelli prints and bind them into a journal.  If you’re not familiar with gelatin printing, it’s frequently used as a background for art journals, and textures in fine art.  Here are a few examples:

As usual, I found out exactly how much was involved and fell down the rabbit hole.

  1. You need a Gelatin Plate to actually print things
  2. You need stencils and texture making things
  3. Paint, paper, and a brayer (I already had these in my stash)

The Prep

I am who I am,  so I opted to DIY as much as I could.  A Gelli Plate can be purchased for about $25, but you can MAKE one with $12 worth of gelatin and glycerin.  Did you know that if you concentrate enough gelatin into a small amount of liquid, it actually smells like a barnyard? Either did I.

I had to melt mine down a few times before finally just leaving it in the pan for stability.  I also figured out that if you damage the surface through over aggressive printing (apparently I’m a craft gorilla), it can be re-surfaced with a heat gun.  Yay!

So….stencils…I’m cheap. I have always admired stencils, but never blew the money on starting a collection, so I had jack shit to actually print with.  Confession: I impulse purchased about $20 of stencils on Wish that will get here WAAAY after I’m done with this.  Anyway, I had a stash of stencil film, transparency film, and shrink plastic that I started cutting on.  The winner for ease of cutting (with a scalpel…more on that later) was the matte shrink plastic, and it gave me newfound confidence that I could actually make stencils!!  And then the Pinterest hoarding began…

And the stencil making began.  And the stencil making became an obsession.

The Actual Printing

What a mess!!!  There were many failures, a few successes.  Paint and paper EVERYWHERE!  There was a lot of YouTube time.  If you’re interested in the actual doing of it, I suggest a “Gelli Plate Printing” search on YouTube.  I am not a YouTube video star, you’re not getting video out of me.

With every print, I had wet paint on the brayer, on the paper I cleaned the brayer on, on the stencils I used, left over on the gelatin plate, on the paper towels I used to clean the gelatin plate.  Is paper covered in paint recyclable??  I’m keeping most of the scraps to re-use for collage, but holy cow.  I made three prints before my desk looked like the disaster above.

Even with my craft room in full disaster mode, I managed to make 12 prints that I’m happy with.  Only 3 more and a journal cover to go!

Which one is your favorite?? 

The Damage

So I was cutting down the prints with a razor knife and ruler because the rotary cutter or mat cutter definitely would have been too easy.    Apparently my index finger jumped out in front of the blade halfway through a cut, and I finished the cut….right through the side of my finger.  It didn’t bleed at first, so I wrapped a bandaid on it real tight and kept going.

Sometime before going to bed, the super tight bandaid started to get very uncomfortable and I decided I needed to re-do it. Immediately upon removing the bandaid, the blood started flowing, and I realized that I had a flat spot where part of my finger had been.  Aaaand the world spun and I had to lay down on the floor. 

Eventually the queasy feeling passed and I knew I had to give this another try.  I got up and tried to slap some gauze on it real fast, but ended up on the floor….again.  Luckily, the gauze and tape went down with me, so I was able to finish the job flat on my back on the wonderfully cold tile.  Shout out to my mom for giving me the gift of passing out at the sight of blood.  Thanks Mom!

Finally got the damn thing bandaged!  I’m done…going to bed.

The bleeding apparently didn’t stop. When I woke up the next morning, it looked like I had tried use a bloody tampon as a chinese finger trap.  

And on that note…good night!

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