Make Mixed-Media Jewelry with Gelatin Monoprinting

My favorite Halloween costume is the gypsy fortune teller. It has served me well from youth through mom-hood because all you need to pull it off is a peasant blouse, long skirt, a fancy shawl, and tons of jewelry.

mixed media jewelry jenn mason
Gypsy Gelatin Mixed-Media Jewelry by Jenn Mason.

This year, the only place I plan to go for Halloween is to the door to hand out candy. But if I had a party to attend, I'd make myself a piece of mixed-media jewelry like this Gypsy Gelatin Necklace created by Jenn Mason to complement my shawl and hoop earrings. This fun piece of wearable art combines gelatin monoprinting with metal embellishments in the form of copper and brass blanks.

This mixed-media necklace is especially easy to make if you use a pre-made gelatin printing plate, such as the Gelli ArtsTM plate. It's ready to go when you are. I also like this necklace because you don't need a lot of special jewelry-making tools and the supplies are readily available at the craft store.

Here are the directions for printing the charms, adapted from Jenn's tutorial in the 2012 issue of Handcrafted Jewelry magazine.

Tools & materials

  • Brass and copper circle blanks in various sizes
  • Opaque metallic inks in desired colors (I used purple, yellow, green, and blue)
  • Metal sealer
  • Mild soap
  • Paper towels
  • Gel printing plate
  • Acrylic brayer
  • Bubble wrap
  • Baby wipes
  • Rubber basting brush*
  • Scissors
  • Lobster clasp, jump rings, chain, and chain or flat-nosed pliers


how to print on metal embellishments
Printing the blanks for the mixed-media necklace.

Directions for printing charms

1. Set up a printing station: If this is the first time using the printing plate, use mild soap and water to remove the factory residue, then use a paper towel to dry. Shake the first ink bottle. Use the ink to draw a line across the center of the plate. Roll the brayer over the ink to spread it over the plate (fig. a).

2. Print the charms: Use your hands to press the bubble wrap into the ink to make an impression (fig. b), then remove the bubble wrap. *Place 1 large copper blank into the ink over the impression (fig. c). Use your fingers to evenly apply gentle pressure to the blank, then remove it from the ink (fi g. d). Repeat from * as many times as desired, adding ink to the plate as necessary. Let dry.

3. Reset the printing station: Use a baby wipe to clean the ink off the plate. Shake the next ink bottle. Spread paint over the plate as in Step 1. Print the charms using one of the following suggested techniques, or your own ideas:

  • Use the basting brush to draw lines through the ink to make an impression. Place 1 large blank into the ink over the impression, then apply pressure as in Step 2 and remove the blank.
  • Use scissors to cut out five 5⁄8" × 5⁄8" hearts from the piece of a scrap paper. Place the heart cutouts into the ink 1" apart. Place 1 blank into the ink over the top of 1 heart cutout to make an impression, then apply pressure as in Step 2 and remove the blank.
  • Use scissors to cut various lengths of thread and randomly place them into the ink. Place 1 blank into the ink over the thread to make an impression, then apply pressure as in Step 2 and remove the blank.
metal embellishment printed with bubble wrap
The finished bubble
wrap charm.

4. When you are done printing and the ink is dry, seal the ink by using your finger to apply metal sealer to each of the charms. Let dry.

5. Using the pliers and jewelry findings, attach the printed blanks onto the chain in a pleasing arrangement. Attach the lobster clasp, and you're ready to don this handmade piece of art wear and go.

There are 34 mixed-media jewelry projects in this issue of Handcrafted Jewelry, including decoupage jewelry using chandelier crystals, found object jewelry made with candy wrappers and dice, and fashion art bracelets made from old t-shirts. Plus plenty of blingy rings to make a gypsy fortune teller shine.

Hmm. With all these great mixed-media jewelry ideas from Handcrafted Jewelry, maybe I'll dress up for Halloween after all.

P.S. What's your favorite way to dress up for Halloween? Does it involve mixed-media jewelry or wearable art costuming? Leave your answer below.


Art to Wear, Blog, Mixed-Media Jewelry, Printmaking


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