Hi everyone, I thought that for today I would share how I make one print with different colors using masking and using my Gel Press® plate as a stamp directly into my journal.  I created a landscape scene all within a one-time print, this way it takes out the guessing and trying to line everything up to create layers of color. It’s just a matter of adding layers and waiting for things to dry.



5x7 cropped
5×7″ Gel Press plate

DecoArt Acrylic paint


5½ x 8″ Strathmore journal


assorted pens

paintbrush ( for mark making )

  1. The first step is deciding what you want to create in your art journal.  You can use ready made stencils and/or you can cut out masks of your own. Feel free to combine them together to create one of a kind images of your own. Lay them out ahead of time to see how they work together and make any desired adjustments before adding any paint.
    Masking is easy
    Create the masks

    2. Next, remove the stencils from the Gel Press plate. You can always lay them aside in the exact same order as you had them on your plate so you don’t forget their proper placement. Now add your paint colors to the top of the gel plate and then add the stencils back on top of the plate.


3.  Lay a piece of paper over the top of your plate and gently press down to remove any excess paint. Don’t remove all of the paint, just a portion of the first layer of paint.

Remove excess paint
Remove excess paint

4. When you remove just some of the paint you are leaving areas where another color can be applied which will show through the open areas.

ghost print
removal of paint

5.  Next add analogous colors over the top of the plate. Analogous colors are colors that are close to each other on the color wheel and will not produce what is termed as “muddy  colors” when mixed together. So now you will have several shades of blue paint layered on top of each other and several shades of green paint layered on top of each other.

adding analogous colors

6. This is the perfect time to add some character to your print by “mark making” directly on top of the wet paint with a dull or round tip tool. Mark making  is a term used to describe the different lines, patterns, and textures we create in an artwork.  In this example; the end of a paint brush was used to create dots and dashes.

mark making
mark making

7. At this point gently remove the mask from the gel plate and let the paint completely dry on your plate. Acrylic paint doesn’t take very long to dry, once to turns from shiny to dull you’ll know it’s ready for the next step.

removing the masks
removing the masks

8. This is also a good time to talk about how paper and plastic masking reacts differently to the plate when they are removed. The plastic mask leaves paint under it because it is a non-porus surface while the paper masks remove the paint when you pull them up because they are porus and soak up the paint. So by using a combination of plastic and paper you create 2 different surfaces for the next step.

Masks react differently
Masks react differently

9.  Now that the paint from steps 1 through 8 are dry to the touch, it’s time to add your last layer of color. This time you can add a complementary color like orange directly over the blue and green paint without having to worry about the colors mixing together with each other and creating brown.

third layer of paint
adding a complementary color

10.  To use your gel plate like a stamp, gently pick it by the edges and turn it over; laying it directly onto the journal page itself. In this picture below you are looking at the underneath side of the gel plate which is really cool because you can see exactly what your print is going to look like at this stage, but you will need to wait for the paint to completely dry before removing it.

using the plate like a stamp

11. After the paint has dried just simply pull off the plate to reveal the print left behind. Not only will you have a crisp print but your plate will be clean too which is an added bonus.

lifting off the plate

12. The last step is to add details however you like. My preference is outlining with pens and adding some words since this is in my art journal, but it’s totally up to you how you finish it off.



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sandee setliff DT photo

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This article has 11 Comments

  1. Wow…this is amazing. Love the colors, design…all of it. I am a newbie at using a Gel Plate, but I think with these instructions I could give it a good go… well, I have little patience for waiting for paint to dry, but I’ll try my hardest 😊

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