How to make a gelatine plate for printing
There are recipes all over the internet for making your own Jelly or Gelatine Plate for mono printing; some are made simply with gelatine and water, others include sugar, alcohol, glycerine or vinegar. The recipe that follows, which is based on one from Linda Germain, is very simple and most importantly, works well and keeps for months.
If you think you may only do a couple of printing sessions and then throw your Jelly Plate away (in the food waste bin, not down the sink) then replace the glycerine in the recipe below with water and keep your plate in the fridge between sessions. Remember to take it out an hour before you want to print, otherwise you may have a condensation problem.
If you’re planning several sessions of printing then I’d use the glycerine as the Jelly Plate will last for months rather than weeks and won’t have to be kept in the fridge. I buy glycerine from the pharmacy where it’s usually stocked with sore throat remedies.
The quantities below will make an A5 sized plate, which is perfect for beginners. Double the quantities and use a larger mould for A4 or quadruple for an enormous Gelatine Plate if you want to do some serious large-scale printing.
To make a Gelatine Printing Plate:
A mould, slightly larger than A5 size. Use an acrylic or plastic box, baking tin or small tray with a flat base (with no indentations)
72g powdered gelatine (6 x 12g packets)
1 x 200ml bottle of glycerine
265 ml water
Put your empty mould in a cool place, where it can be left undisturbed for a few hours, making sure it stands absolutely level,
Pour 100ml of cold water into a bowl with half a bottle of glycerine, stir with a spatula to combine the two and then tip in the powdered gelatine. Stir gently until all the lumps have gone.
Stir in 165ml of boiling water and then the rest of the glycerine Stir until there are no lumps but don’t whisk, as you need to create as few bubbles as possible.
Gently pour your runny gelatine mixture into the mould and use strips of newspaper to skim off any bubbles that may be lurking on the surface. Don’t move the mould while the gelatine is still liquid, but leave for a few hours until the gelatine is well set. If you live somewhere hot, you might need to pop it into the fridge to fully set.
You should end up with a very firm set jelly (not at all the voluptuous wobbly sort you’d make for dessert).
Now that you have your jelly plate, you’re ready to start printing. Learn how to make monoprints using a jelly plate here.
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