April is Autism Awareness month. The CDC reports an estimated 1 in 44 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ASD is an invisible disability affecting the way that individuals interact, sense and communicate in the world around them. Did you know that boys are 4x more likely to be diagnosed with ASD?

Something I’ve always been impressed by is how Gel Press is a caring company that creates product for makers to share awareness, passion, and education on causes dear to their hearts. Such is the case with the puzzle piece gel plate.

Blue is the official color for Autism Awareness is blue, while the puzzle piece is a symbol of ASD.  Gel Press created a puzzle piece that is very versatile for use during Autism Awareness month as well as for other projects. You will see that both blue and the puzzle piece gel plate were used to create this fun project below and this is a great activity to do with children. You can create one shrink plastic piece for a necklace or many to put on a charm bracelet. So many possibilities.

Growth is essential in life. Whether physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, or any other kind of growth, I can sometimes be a painful or uncomfortable process. Nonetheless, it yields great rewards. 

I’ve found that growth often comes from being stretched, learning from our mistakes, moving through fear, and also knowing when it’s necessary to rest. 

I’m not one that often likes being stretched. I sometimes find change difficult. I’m not a fan of pain. I do however, try and remember that there is purpose in the pain. 

Even like a seed that is planted must break out of the seed to a plant and then through the soil to the sun, it takes effort. Just as in life, growth isn’t always easy, but it sure can bring amazing results. 

The next time you’re going through a challenge or difficulty, I encourage you to ask what are you learning, what can you take with you out of the circumstance, and how is/has this obstacle made you stronger and helped you to grow. 

How are you growing today? What are you learning?

Here is a simple project you can do with your Gel Press plate to remind you of the importance of growth. You can share this project as a gift for you, or maybe for a friend that has helped you through a growing period. This project is also simple enough to do with kids as well. 

The prints represent growth and a reminder that painful change can bring the birthing of something beautiful and fragrant. 

Supplies:

  • Gel Press Plate
  • Brayer
  • Acrylic paints in your choice of colors
  • Items to create texture (lace, bubble wrap, stencils)
  • Botanical Stamps (in this case I used some Stamper’s Anonymous stamps)
  • Paper to print on and to roll excess paint off on
  • Ranger Dina Wakley Gloss Spray
  • Archival Ink

 

  1. Roll out some paint with your brayer onto your Gel Press plate. Add two colors if you like. Make sure the paint layer isn’t too thick. Just enough to where you can slightly see the plate.
  2. Next place texture material down on the wet paint and roll your brayer over the material. Do this until you have your desired effect. Does this fairly quickly so the paint doesn’t dry.
  3. Quickly place your paper down on top of your plate and roll the back of your paper with the brayer. Smooth out the paper with your hand so that the paper picks up the pattern and medium. Slowly separate and peel the paper from the plate. 
  4. Now you have some fun interesting prints.
  5. Next using Archival Ink, stamp Botanical images in the center of the print.
  6. Take Gloss Spray and sprinkle color on the print. Take the nozzle off and splatter the paint off the end of the tube.
  7. Trim the prints either with decorative edged scissors or a straight-edged trimmer.
  8. Frame if desired or use as a card. I purchased the following frame at IKEA.
  9. Enjoy as a gift to you or for a friend.

 

Cheryl Waters works directly with many community partners including Autism Speaks, University of California Irvine’s Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders, as well as others.

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