Category Archives: How To

If you don’t want to buy it, DIY it!

With Love as Key

With Love as Key

If you are not confident with painting or drawing faces, rip one out of a magazine, glue it down with gel medium, give it a coat of transparent gesso and paint over the top. Keep the acrylic paint loose while you block in the features and shading, then just keep layering and refining. This is my way to become more familiar with a different style of portrait than I normally draw. I used:
Inktense pencils, Kaisercraft Stencil, assorted brands of paper flowers (mostly Kaisercraft), Matisse Medium 30, magazine image, Matisse transparent gesso, acrylic paints, book page, metal key, paper napkin


My First Design Team Gig!

My First Design Team Gig!

I am on the Design Team for Kreative Koncepts Mixed Media!

I had such fun making this page.

Copyright Kreative Koncepts 2014

Making the video and writing the instructions took a lot longer than I expected, but I am putting that down to the learning curve. I had to do a lot of things I had never done before like create a video from still photos, work out how to add music, upload it to YouTube, embed a PDF for download in a blog post…. Next time should be a doddle *fingers crossed*.

Monoprinting with a homemade gelatine printing plate

Monoprinting is an artistic technique used to produce unique prints. The word ‘mono’ meaning ‘one’ refers to each impression being unique; even if using the same printing media many times each impression will be different. Monoprinting plates can be made from many different materials including wood, leather, stone and plastic.

Making the Plate

Here is the link to the YouTube video sharing the recipe. All the supplies for making the gelatine plate are available at any large supermarket or chemist. Gelatine, rubbing alcohol (Isocol is the most common brand in Australia) and glycerine are all available from the supermarket. The alcohol and glycerine can also be found at chemists. When choosing gelatine, you may have the choice between a box of individual 7g sachets or a tin. Buy the tin. This is about half a tablespoon more than the original recipe called for, but as the point is to make a very stiff gel, I figured that wouldn’t hurt.

Open a window, this gets a bit smelly. Have everything opened, measured and ready to go:

  • 100g tin of gelatine
  • 1 cup rubbing alcohol
  • ½ cup Glycerine
  • 1 ½ cups hot water

Dissolve the gelatine in the hot water then add the alcohol and glycerine. Use a whisk and keep stirring until everything is dissolved. Pour into a shallow tray on a level surface and leave to set (a few hours is all it takes).

Choose a container with a perfectly flat bottom such as a ceramic baking dish. The top of the gelatine plate will have a rougher texture than the bottom and you can choose which side to use when making your prints, depending on the effect you would like.

Originally I used a plastic container with ridges on the bottom. This created stress points in the plate where it tore when I washed it. I tore it up into small pieces; put it into a pyrex jug and microwaved it for about 1 minute 20 seconds on high (stirred it after 1 minute) and repoured it into the baking dish. This second time around the dish was smaller so the plate ended up thicker as well, which I am guessing will also help it last longer. I am using the plastic container to store the plate in, with a transparency on the bottom to protect the plate from the ridges.

Storage (added after original post was written)


I had read that this method of creating a gelatine plate did not require refrigeration; something to do with a chemical reaction that turned the gelatine into a plastic; so I was storing mine in a plastic tupperware-type box on a shelf in my studio. I got my plate out yesterday to use it and found a box full of black mould. Nasty. The whole lot went straight into the bin.

The silver lining is that when I make another one, I will take photos to add to this post!

Making Prints

  • Lay the plate on a flat, non-porous surface.
  • Using a brayer spread a small amount of acrylic paint over the surface of the plate.
  • Place flat media onto the plate and/or making marks in the paint with different tools (nothing sharp or pointed)
  • Lay a piece of paper over the top and rub over gently with your hands.
  • Lift the paper to reveal your first mono-print.
  • Remove the media and take another impression on a new piece of paper.
  • Clean the plate by spraying with water and wiping clean with a soft cloth.

Media ideas: stencils and masks, leaves, string, ribbon, punched shapes and die cuts, hand-cut shapes.

Tool ideas: round end of a paintbrush, your finger, a comb, craft foam cut with decorative edge scissors, foam stamps.

Layered Prints

Once your print is dry, you can print onto it again (with a different colour) to increase the visual depth of the artwork. This YouTube video demonstrates several different layered printing ideas.