Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Gelli Mirror Frame by Alan Scott


I don't know if you all know it but I have now relocated to a new home. Now then this is, well the move is, where the fun and games started. PACKING! I honestly did not know I had collected so much crafting goodies. Things I must have seen and thought 'Oh I can do something with that so will save it' then as you all know the 'SAVED FOR LATER' box just grows and grows. The original few items that you saved are becoming swallowed up by new things. This project is one of those items.

While on a visit to that Swedish store, I saw these and they were on sale and the pack had 3 of them so I grabbed 2 lots. Got home and then my crafting brain was seduced by another project and then another .. okay you got the picture by now. They were forgotten. Roll the clock on now maybe 4 years the move. They once again saw the light of day. Greeted with the words.... 'Oh l must do something with them!'. So here it is, I have done something with one of them at least.

This project is basically the backing for the Gelli Plate. This is a wonderful piece of crafting equipment. I have had mine now for approx 12 months and while it has not been used everyday, I do use it and experiment with it. But I have got a strict routine when I'm using it. It's on a clean level surface (I use an old glass cutting mat that was chipped in a corner but there are  no scratch marks where the Gelli plate lays). I don't always clean it after I have use a colour, however when it's being put away I always make sure that it's clean from paint on the top as well as the sides.

Cheap Pad of Children's Tracing Paper
Cheap Roll of Baking Paper
Stencils ~ Masks ~ Embossing Folders Stamps (anything that will leave an impression)
Pages from that very old unwanted book
Small Metal Tool for making sure the paper goes into tight places (small spatula will work for example)
Good Quality Collage Glue
Blue or Low Tack Masking Tape
Scrap Paper




This is the frame that had been in the 'Must do something with this' pile. Oh I have added the picture in the middle. I'm sure you dont want to see my mug trying hard not to get into the reflection!

Pages from an old book that had been rescued from a car boot sale or a charity shop. The older and battered the better the page. Try to buy porous surface paper and not the glossy feel that you can get. These take the paint and glue a lot better, becoming more secure when glued. 

This is the only time where we will need a straight edge when preparing the base layer. We need this line so that it can fit inside the frame along the glass. The bottom left photograph will show you what I mean. 

The straight line was placed onto the glass surface and then folded over. I did not put glue onto the paper only onto the wooden frame itself.
Then the rest of the frame was covered in the paper. Just by gluing and then ripping and pasting the paper down. On the bottom right photograph, you can see the metal tool I used to make sure that all the paper was secured onto the frame and in the corners.

We now need to protect the glass from anything that we are now going to use. So by using masking tape once again using the metal tool making sure that the tape was right up to the edge and it was secured in place. You don't have to make sure the length of tape is right as your going to over lap in the corners. As you can see, I have left a small gap in the bottom left. 

Now after this has been done, just leave the frame to cure over night. It's best to let the paper dry as by using layers of glue the paper will buckle, however when it's dry it will become flat.

The following day when it had been given several hours to dry, the next step was to use gesso. The aim was then to us paints and distress the paper surface and leave that as the finished project. However things were going to change. Again a project started out as one thing, only to be taken over by another element.

This was the element that was going to change everything. I have had my Gelli Plate now for 12 months and to be honest I have not used it as much as I should have. I have watched all the videos on You Tube and been eager to do something only to be seduced by another crafting item or technique. Sometimes I'm my own worst enemy. I would love to ask Santa to give me that focus a lot of crafter's have out there. 

I was going to use a cheap and cheerful paper source. On a lot of videos, they recommend that you use Butchers Paper. This is the paper that they wrap meat up or sandwiches in some shops. Can I buy it by a short length - NOPE! It's like 100 meter rolls and not at a nice price that I can afford. So this was going to be my surface of choice. The Baking Paper sheets were soon going to be replaced by another paper. I found that this surface, while it took the paint, it did not act in a positive way. The grease proof side was a bit to greasy if you know what I mean.  

The bottom left photo shows the the new paper surface. Also it was thinner and could be handled a lot easier.  

Armed with my stencils and masks. Later I found that l had another source of impressions.. embossing folders. They have great textures so there is a whole new world to use.

A wide selection of brands and colours. The creative colourful world is now open to me. I can be as colourful as I want to be. After selecting my first colours, all I had to do was place a few spots onto the Gelli plate and then with my rubber roller/brayer, start to move the paint over the plate making sure that all of the plate was covered. To stop contaminating your colours, on the side have some spare paper that you can remove the paint (or like me, I use an old cotton shirt but that's all being saved for another project next year!). 

Then placing the stencil that I wanted to use onto the surface of the Gelli Plate. When using a text stencil, make sure that you have reversed the side you put down. As when you press the paper onto the stencil, you want the letters or wording to come out right and not backwards.   

The top right photo shows the first 'pull' of the plate. As you can see (sorry it's upside down) the letters have come out the right way.  

The bottom left photo is the 2nd pull. By this I mean that after you have removed the stencil and then placed the paper onto the Gelli Plate its self, this is what you get.

In theory you can get 3 'pulls'. 1 is from the paper onto of the stencil. 2 is when the stencil has been removed and the plate is used. Then 3 if you're very quick, you can get a 'pull' from the paint that's on the stencil itself before you wash the paint all off. Just to be sure, use a spritz bottle just to refresh the paint. 

Then just start playing. Make as much mess as you want. Experiment and make marks on the plate (BUT NEVER MARK THE SURFACE OF THE PLATE ONLY USE TOOLS THAT WILL NOT CUT INTO THE PLATE).

Masks/Stencils can be made using your die cutting machines. Think about all those decorative punches that we have all collected. Now l know a stencil made from scrap card stock is not going to last, that's not the issue you can make another one. There are ways you can make things so that they leave an impression. Use the rubber tip of a pencil to write onto the plate.  

After I had spent several hours creating papers, there came a point in time where I had to say okay we have a warehouse full of papers now to select what we are going to use and move on to the next stage. 
After I had selected the papers I was using, the next step is to rip them into strips as I was going to do a collage, again using these papers. A good quality collage glue is highly recommended - I found that this secured the baking paper a lot more than ordinary glue. Also as it was thicker, you are not using as much as the cheaper glues.

Continuing to build up layers of colour and interest. Once again making sure that the inside edge of the frame was papered over by using a straight edge paper.  

The frame is now almost finished. Leaving just a few scraps - these are not thrown away as they can be used in other projects. To glue the outer edge of the frame, first place the frame onto a large object that will both lift and give you space where you're able to glue and then make sure that the outer edge is papered over.

This is now where the matte surface is turned into a glossy surface by using Mod Podge High Gloss medium. This is a thick medium that will sort of self level if left alone. But it's advised that you move the medium one way and then in another direction before leaving to dry. There are instructions on how to use this product on the tub itself so you don't make errors and spoil a project.  

The finished project. A cheap frame turned into something that's interesting and you have made the paper yourself, so double high fives!
Below are samples that I made during my Gelli Plate play date!
Most of these papers were made using the cheap as chips paints. I then even started to think about what I could do with printed materials. The final photo shows a paper that I used to scrunch up and leave marks on the Gelli Plate, so nothing is thrown away.

The paper on the right is the scrap paper. It's turned out very interesting - it has all sorts of colours placed on it.


So there you have it, a project that started almost 4 years ago, then took a great big turn half way in. 

Any questions please send me a message and I will get back to you as soon as possible.






  1. Very cool idea! Thanks for sharing the tutorial!

    Take care and STAY POSITIVE!


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