Friday, 20 May 2016

Gelatine printing on paper

The childrens art workshops this month were a lot of fun experimenting with different textures and paints.
We did gelatine printing on paper, but this kind of printing can also be done on fabric.
I think the prints done on fabric could become a quilt or cushion cover. I love some of the subtle colours, but the bold bright colours are wonderful too.
An autumn print done with pastel colours.

I asked the children to bring different materials to print with: feathers, leaves, different textured papers,lace,string.
I have a lot of stencils, so we used those as well.
The prints can be used for further art work and I encouraged the children to think of a way how to use the prints by layering or cutting the images or colouring the images with different art materials.
I really like them to make the decisions, I just offer ideas and enough good art materials for them to use and explore with.

                                                                     Some bold apple prints.                                                                                       

The gelatine printing base last for about two weeks kept in the fridge and I added a little bleach to the mixture before I poured the gelatine into the trays.
I used aluminium foil baking trays bought at the "Two dollar" shop in Motueka.
Stencils and leaves print
After printing cracks can appear in the gelatine, but instead of making a new lot I just melt the gelatine base in the microwave and pour it again into the trays.
Skim the airbubbles of with a strip of newspaper, because the printing base needs to be really smooth for printing.
Art work on top of a print
Some of the children designed their own images and one of the boys made a deer stencil.
I talked about negative and positive spaces and the prints are a great tool for explaining this concept.

Stencil of  a deer cut by one of the boys
Most of the recipes how to make a gelatine printing base I found on the internet are from the States and they have different brands and packaging then in New Zealand.
I will give my recipe and it works really well.
Please do not pour the gelatine down the sink, it will block the drains. I will dispose my gelatine base in the compost bin.
Busy working

A leaf art work on top of a print

The gelatine  base with a print in it.

Bubble wrap and shapes
The recipe for a gelatine printing base:

  • Pour 250ml of hot water into a measuring cup and add 8 tablespoons of gelatine powder.
  • Stir briskly with a fork until dissolved.
  • Pour 750ml of water with a little bleach into the tray and add the dissolved gelatine and stir.
  • Air bubbles will appear on the surface, use a strip of newspaper to slide over the surface of the gelatine and take the airbubbles of. You want a smooth surface for printing.
  • Let the gelatine set overnight in the fridge.  
Use a brayer or paint roller, I used cheap foam paint rollers, to spread the acrylic  paints onto the gelatine base, lay the materials on the paint and place your paper on top and use a clean paint roller to print the image onto the paper.
I think the gelatine printing is really exciting and I will try some more on fabric to make my own cushion cover, maybe colourful autumn leaves.


  1. Fantastic Marijke, it looks so fun! Good on you for putting the recipe up, I still want to try it. lovely teaching tool that you handled so well. :)

  2. Thank you Jean. It is fun to do and I want to print on fabric and make a cover or bag.You should try it!

  3. These are wonderful and it looks like you had a lot of fun. :)

  4. Thank you Alexandra and I love your work!


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