Gel Printing Tutorial with Dina Wakley

I have long been enamored with printmaking in all forms. I especially love gel printing, since it’s easy and the results are so varied and interesting. The new line of gel plates done as a collaboration with Ranger Dina Wakley Media/Dylusions and Gel Press are fun because we got to choose custom sizes for the plates. I get a lot of use out of the plate that is 3 ½” x 6 ¾”, about the size of a #8 tag. The plate is perfect for creating quick and easy backgrounds on the tags.

Recently I was making prints and wondered how, or if, Scribble Sticks would work on them. Scribble sticks are pigment sticks that can be used to sketch like crayons, but are water-soluble and can be blended.

First, I scribbled into the paint with them, and they didn’t really work. Then I tried dipping a Scribble Stick in water before drawing on the plate, and voila! Magic! The Scribble Stick pigment, combined with acrylic paint, made for stunning results. This tutorial shows you how to combine the two mediums to create a monoprint.

Materials (all products are by Ranger)

  • Gel Printing Plate, 3.5” x 6.75”
  • Printing Brayer, small
  • Dina Wakley Media Acrylic Paint (I used Turquoise and Magenta.)
  • Dina Wakley Media Stencil (I used Wallpaper)
  • Dina Wakley Media Scribble Sticks (I used Marine from Set 2.)
  • Tim Holtz Distress Tags, #8

1. Load the gel plate with Turquoise and Magenta paints. Squeeze some of each color onto the plate and use the brayer to spread the paint over the surface. I like to overload the plate with color, so I use a heavy hand with the paint. I like it to be thick.

gel printing
A brayer makes it easy to apply paint to the surface of a gel plate, and you can even mix colors.

2. Press the stencil onto the plate and roll the brayer over it. Lift up the stencil.

gel printing
Stencils are useful for adding patterns when gel printing.

3. Dip the end of the Scribble Stick into water. Draw onto the plate, directly into the paint.

4. Dip the stick in water again and keep drawing. The stick must be wet in order for a good amount of pigment to adhere to the plate, so don’t forget to wet it often. Work quickly, though, so the mediums don’t dry on the plate before you get a chance to print.

Water-soluble Scribble Sticks dipped in water are perfect for drawing directly on the gel plate.

5. Lay a #8 Distress Tag on the plate, and roll the brayer over the back of the tag to burnish it. Pull the tag off to see your print.

A #8 tag is the perfect fit for this size gel plate.

6. Quickly lay another tag on the gel plate, brayer over the back again, and pull it off. This second print made from the paint left on the plate is called a ghost print, and it’s often better than the first print.

Revealing your unique design is what makes gel printing so creatively satisfying.

7. Let the prints dry and use them as desired. I like to use mine as backgrounds for stamped collages.

gel printing
Add stamped images and words for a beautiful collaged tag.

Dina Wakley is a mixed-media artist who loves everything about art. She teaches both in-person and online workshops, and is a Ranger Signature Designer. Her line of mixed-media art supplies with Ranger includes acrylic paints, mediums, brushes, stamps, and more. Dina is the author of Art Journal Freedom and Art Journal Courage, has seven instructional art videos, and has kept a personal journal since she was nine years old. See more of Dina’s work at, on Facebook at Art of Dina Wakley, and on Instagram at @dinawakley.

Dina has more great techniques to share with you! Here’s another idea for creating with tags, using mixed media.

Dina Wakley is our February Artist of the Month! Her books, videos, and downloadable Art Lessons are packed with great ideas for collage, art journaling, and more.

No matter where you are in your art journal practice, Art Journal Freedom lets your creativity and self-expression soar by offering a great foundation of tips and techniques.
Discover how to make artwork that stands out with Dina’s techniques for using colors in correct proportions in Art Lessons Vol. 11, 2015: Using the Gallon/Quart /Pint Rule.
Let Dina show you exciting ways to use stencils to add depth and dimension to art journal pages in Art Journal: Stencils & Masks.
Get fail-proof methods for creating random looks in your art journal in Art Journaling Live 2: Random by Design with Dina Wakley.


Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques, Printmaking

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