Whenever I tell people that my favourite printmaking technique is Jelly Printing, their first question is “what on earth is jelly printing?”
The simple explanation is that jelly printing is a form of mono-printing. It’s a really easy kind of printmaking that doesn’t need a press; just a printing plate that you make using gelatin powder, ink, roller and something to use as a stencil.
Like all printing, jelly printing involves exposing some areas to ink and keeping other areas away from ink to produce an image. The easiest way to block areas from the ink is to use stencils made from paper, fabric or plastic (and more) or use feathers, leaves and flowers or you can use stamps to lift ink from the plate.
Some people use stencils to make pictures of landscapes, cityscapes, crowds of people … while others use plants to produce botanical prints. Most jelly printers use a mixture of both, using texture and overlaid colours to build their composition.
Jelly printing is often used to make backgrounds for other forms of printmaking, such as lino printing. Jelly printing is also very popular with mixed media artists, card makers and scrapbookers. Gardeners make botanical jelly prints of flowers and leaves in their gardens. Sewers, textile artists and upcyclers make beautiful patterned fabric to use in their projects.
If you’d like to try making some jelly prints, read our instructions in Jelly Printing for Beginners. Alternatively, we occasionally run jelly printing classes at Slamseys and often include it in some of our longer courses such as Printing in Progress.