Let Your Light Shine by Jen Kitchen - Gel Press

Let Your Light Shine by Jen Kitchen

Light stamp print

My latest creative obsession has been with words. I’ve got a list of “power” words I came up with, I considered choosing a one word theme for 2017 (but couldn’t narrow it down that much!), and I just really love combining the power of words with the power of art. I’ve been adding words to my Gel Press prints with stamps, hand lettering, die cuts, and embellished words from my printer. What I really wanted to do, though, was make words directly on my Gel Press plate itself. If you’ve ever tried this with a stamp, though, you know the result – it looks fine on the plate, but gets reversed when you pull the print. Luckily, I also started sorting through some craft stuff I hadn’t touched in a while, and came across some thick alphabet stickers. I realized I could make my own stamps to use on my Gel Press, and the words would read correctly! I got to work making stamps. What I love about these stamps, besides the fact that they print correctly, is that they can be used with any medium you use on the Gel Press. They work best with mediums that don’t dry super quickly. As you can see, I limited myself to making just a few to experiment with… 😉


Supplies for today’s project:

  • Gel Press 8×10 plate
  • Gel Press rectangular plate from the Petites B set
  • Yellow cardstock
  • Paint in red, orange, black, white, and copper
  • Brayer
  • White pen
  • Spiral and person stencils
  • Hairy texture
  • Thick foam alphabet stickers
  • Cardboard
  • Glue stick

For today’s project, I wanted to highlight a line from a favorite hymn of mine. I made two stamps, one for each word I wanted to emphasize. Although I was putting the alphabet stickers sticky side down, I used a glue stick as well to make sure they were really attached to the cardboard. The cardboard backing for my stamps came from a box in my recycling bin, one of my favorite sources for material.

First, I used a layer of red paint and the spiral stencil. I printed on yellow cardstock instead of white to give myself an extra layer of color right away. I knew I was only going to have a few all-over layers of color on this piece, and wanted to have a background color other than white. Using colored cardstock is a good way to add extra color without using extra paint. It also works well when you want white to be a feature color, as in my piece.

ghost print

After pulling my first print, and removing the stencil, I really liked the look of what was left on the plate. I pulled a ghost print on yellow cardstock as well, and decided that would be the base for my piece. I saved the initial pull for a different project.

Gel Press ghost print on colored cardstock by Jen Kitchen

For the words, I deliberately didn’t cover the whole plate in black, because I knew it would cover the print too much. I used a small brayer to just spread enough paint to stamp the words into.

Gel Press custom word stamp technique by Jen Kitchen

The effect came out exactly as I’d hoped. The black rectangles fit the featured words with enough space for me to write the rest of the verse. I really like how the red and orange spiral over the yellow background evokes both “light” and “shine”. A brief word about the orange layer – I had initially tried the stamps as part of the orange layer, stamping them into the orange paint on the Gel Press, then texturing the rest with a piece of an old scarf made from novelty yarn (my hairy texture) but the words didn’t show up as well as I wanted them to. The rest of the print still looked great, though, and having to redo the words led me to try the black paint, and I loved the effect! It just goes to show that sometimes your “mistakes” lead to your favorite work.

Gel Press happy mistakes by Jen Kitchen

I did want a little something more on the left side, as well as some sparkle, so I sponged around a mask of a person on the Gel Press with copper paint, then took a print.

Gel Press masking technique by Jen Kitchen

I added the rest of the verse with a white marker, and outlined the letters with it as well. I was tempted to leave the piece alone at this point, but I felt like it still needed something.

Gel Press stamped words by Jen Kitchen

I decided to try adding a print of the stamps with gold paint, using the rectangle from my Gel Press Petites B set. It didn’t show up enough against the orange and red (though you can still see hints of it) and I tried a different color.

Gel Press using words with Jen Kitchen

I knew white would show up well, and coordinate with the other lettering. Here you can see that although the stamped letters look backwards on the plate, they do print correctly.

The finished piece!


Gel Press word stamps finished page by Jen Kitchen


This piece was full of “plus ones” for me – reusing cardboard, rethinking how I could use the stickers, and rescuing a couple of “mistakes”. I hope you’ll let this inspire you to let your own light shine, and maybe even share your light over on our Facebook group!

Create Every Day,

Jenn Kitchen

Jen Kitchen