Word masks for the Gelli plate

It’s been a while since I’ve played with my Gelli plate.  I had an idea for my art journal and wanted to try it out on some random Gelli prints I had kicking around and am pleased with how well it worked.

I am using Intaglio (Mac only) for the design, but no reason it can’t be done the same way in PSE.  I am cutting with the Cricut and SCAL, but again, no reason any cutter that has a TRACE function wouldn’t work as well.

First I created the layout.  They key is for each letter to be its own layer, so you can move them to touch. This font is called Art Post Black – it’s very distressed but by changing the settings in SCAL I can get rid of the tiny dots that the grungy font gives – just take CORNER and DESPECKLE up to 100.  Not sure what this would be in PSE, but you can just pick a less-grungy font instead.

Can you see each letter is its own object?


and grouped as a single unit


Then imported into SCAL and traced



Now, rather than do this from report cover plastic, as I have done loads of times, I wanted something with a little more weight, more stable.  I covered an index card with contact paper, front and back


I trimmed the excess from the edges and then (just to be sure it didn’t move on my old, less than perfectly sticky mat) added a bit of painters tape.  I took the speed right down and the depth of the cut right up.



Cut perfectly.



The second one, with a more scripty font, I only covered the front of the card with the contact paper (beig frugal) but more on that later.

I cut a circle just bigger than the block of text

7wordmaskthen covered the Gelli plate with black paint.  Laid on the circle mask, placed the word block (REVERSED) within it, and pulled the print on an old print.





I did some sketchy black lines to better define the letters but not required.  Love it.

Because the word block mask was slick on the back, I was able to pull a ghost on another print. Because the circle mask was NOT slick, I got virtually none of the black – which is what you want.



I just defined the edge of the circle with a black pen, and outlined the words with white for some nice contrast



Now, with the scripty writing I laid it down on top of another scrap print and sponged over it – this gave me a more…organic looking black-out to define the text.


Ditto the white outline, although I did first try outlining with hot pink.



One advantage of using the index cards is the lines – they help if you want to make sure things are straight

When I tried to pull this mask off, as there was no contact paper on the back, it fell to pieces.  and no hope of a ghost.  So this is NOT the time to skimp – cover both sides of the card and you will not only make it possible to get a print AND a ghost, you will make the whole thing a lot more stable.  And choose your fonts carefully – too scripty and the mask will be thin in places, and therefore weak.  Big and bold and it will be stronger – and personally I think big and bold and grungy suits the Gelli plate “look” better than pretty does.