Gelatin Printmaking

gelatin print 3

On yesterday’s post, I introduced artist Cathy Savage and presented a few of her original prints created using a gelatin printmaking technique. Today, I pass along the details of this fun process (who doesn’t like playing with jello) so you can try it yourself.

The materials you’ll need:

  • unflavored gelatin (Knox brand, etc.)
  • water
  • mold to form the gelatin slab (plastic container, etc.)
  • brayer (a hand roller)
  • butcher’s paper or aluminum foil – for covering the work space
  • palate, aluminum foil or butcher paper for printing ink
  • water-soluble printing ink (Speedball brand, etc.).
  • paper
  • textured objects: plants, jewelry, found objects, paintbrushes, etc.


Measure the amount of water it will take to fill the mold to a 1/2″ to 3/4″ depth.  In a saucepan, stir in 2 tablespoons of gelatin for every cup of  water required (use cold water to ensure best results).  Heat the water to a boil and continue to stir until the gelatin is dissolved.  Pour the mixture into the mold and allow it to solidify, leaving it undisturbed in a cool place (preferably the refrigerator) for at least 12 hours.


When you are ready to begin, remove the gelatin from the mold by running a knife dipped in warm water along the edges of the container.  Place it on the work surface.

Squeeze printing ink onto your palate (or butcher’s paper) and brayer a thin coat of the ink onto the gelatin mixture (called a plate). Place the objects you’ve selected on top of the inked plate. Gently press the objects down to ensure good contact.

Lay a piece of paper down on top, pressing gently. Lift the paper off.   The resulting print is called a negative image.

Now, lift the textured object(s) off the gelatin. Lay a second piece of paper down on the gelatin plate and rub gently. Peel the paper off. This print is called a positive image.

Once you’ve got the basics down you might like to try a few variations, such as collage, plate texture, different inks, stamps, etc… In case you are more of a visual learner,  here is a video by Linda Germain, showing the process in action:


You can join Cathy’s mailing list here to learn about her printing workshops.


source: image 1

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