Even though Gel Press® as a brand has only been on the market since January of 2016, we’ve been making this product for many years. It used to be available under a private-labeling agreement through another brand. That company has created a knock-off version of our original permanent gel monoprinting plate. We felt strongly that the original, superior formula needed to be available and so we came to market with it ourselves as Gel Press®.
Our parent company has over 40 years of experience making gel for the health and wellness marketplace. Scientists have proven that art promotes stress relief and stimulates brain activity. So art is part of what we have always promoted with our gel. And we know gel very well!
As a manufacturer, we like to take a moment every now and then to look at the product and evaluate its performance.
For a while now I have been wondering how to take advantage of the fact that newsprint transfers to the Gel Press® plate when left on its surface. I had only heard of this as a negative and seen discussions about how to clean it off.
So I am here today to tell you that this is an ability that you should harness and consider a feature! It turns out that our gel does an amazing job of capturing the tiniest details from an inkjet printout and transferring a more subtle image to a print. Indeed, you can get multiple, varying subtle prints from the same transferred image; as you would expect of Gel Press®.
This technique appears to work with general purpose inkjet printers that have a two-cartridge system for inks; one black and one tri-color.
I have tried testing several variations on an Epson Stylus inkjet photo printer. These printers have two different ink cartridges for black; used separately for text vs. photo printing, et al. Unfortunately I have not come up with a combination that works. The same is true for the Canon Pixma printers. I would suggest that you try your local library to see if you can print a document there instead.
- Print out any image on your inkjet printer on regular text-weight paper.
- Do not use toner-saving or draft mode. You want more ink on your image for the best results.
- You DO NOT need to flip horizontally or mirror image the print. Your resulting image will transfer just as it appears on the printed paper – even the text will be correctly oriented. It’s easy!
- Place your inkjet-printed image face down on the Gel Press® plate and burnish lightly for good contact between the image on your paper and the gel.
- Leave it in place on the Gel Press® plate for at least 5 minutes. You can leave it on the plate for longer if you’d like.
- Slowly remove your printout. Peel it back from one edge until it is removed from the plate. You will see that the ink from your printout has transferred a mirror image onto the surface of your Gel Press® plate.
- Now put a small amount of acrylic glazing solution onto the surface. Apply with your brayer to cover the entire image with a very thin coat and put your desired surface onto the Gel Press® plate to make the print.
- This step in turn protects the transferred inkjet ink from smudging in further embellishment steps.
You can use this print as you would any ‘ghost’ print image. It makes a marvelous background for your artwork!
I’ve done the prints on everything from printing directly into a page of my Moleskine journal, cloth, clay, cardstock and copy paper. Think of things you cannot run through your printer. You can now transfer beautiful detailed inkjet images onto them directly!
In the artwork above, I applied Golden Open Acrylics to the plate for the background image. I then made the image smaller and flipped it horizontally to face the other direction before doing the transfer process onto my tag.
For the artwork above, I transferred the image into my Moleskine art journal to use for a future journal entry.
In the artwork above, I applied two colors to the plate, overlapping slightly in the middle. I used stencils and a rubber stamp to mask and remove paint from the plate before printing.
The inkjet images transfer beautifully onto Makin’s Clay as well.
Inkjet transferred from Gel Press® to Makins Clay. Painted with Finetec metallic watercolors and adhered to bezel.
And because we love to share in the joy of a newly discovered feature, here are some images that I have created for your use with this technique. Don’t ‘right click’ on the images. Do click on them and a PDF file will open which you can then save to your own computer.
A new technique wouldn’t be complete without also reviewing its performance on competitor products.
I attempted this technique on the knock-off gel plate and found initial prints to be fainter than those created with the Gel Press® plate. In keeping with prior independent testing the knock-off gel plate doesn’t release media as well as the Gel Press® plate and so the ghost print (second pull) was nearly invisible. Even the pick-up print didn’t provide a usable image.
I also attempted this technique on the homemade gelatin plate. The image never transferred to its surface. Condensation that appears randomly on the surface of gelatin made contact with the inkjet ink and created gray splotches of wet ink on the plate, but no actual image was transferred to the gelatin.
This is a technique that will only work on a commercially available permanent gel plate and the Gel Press® plate performs best.
You can always do traditional image transfers onto your printed papers. But these are usually smaller focal point pieces because of the work involved of removing the paper to reveal the transferred ink. You can still do these of course, but isn’t it great to find another way to incorporate them into your artwork using a tool that works this well?
Beautiful backgrounds are fast and easy with this technique! I hope you enjoy doing inkjet transfers with your Gel Press® plate. I’d love to see your artwork on our Gel Press Junkies Facebook group.
Sally Lynn MacDonald
Gel Press® Brand Development Specialist