Make Your Own Collage Papers using a Gelli Plate

by | Free Art Lessons

Hey Messy Artists, it’s Julia (@Julia_Bethmann on Instagram) here with my first video tutorial!

Printing with the Gelli Plate is a super fun way to loosen up in the studio AND make your own collage papers. I always enjoy experimenting with different techniques and just messing around with different colors. Each time you start playing with the Gelli Plate, you learn more about your favorite ways to work – it always leads to exciting results! The Gelli Plate is so easy to use and I hope after this lesson you love playing around with it as much as I do.

In this video, I am going to share some helpful steps for beginners to the Gelli Plate to feel comfortable getting started. We will also try a few neat tricks once you are familiar with the basics.

This lesson has two main parts:

Gelli Printing Basics

  • Explore different papers
  • Explore different types of acrylic paint
  • Get the most out of your paint
  • Clean up tips

Experimenting with…

  • String
  • Fabric Paint
  • Oil Pastels
  • Heavy Body Titanium White


  • Gelli plate of any size
  • One or two paint rollers
  • Acrylic paint – your favorite colors and and range of ‘body’ types
  • Range of 10-20 different papers – such as old book pages, deli paper, drawing paper, printmaking paper, paper that is already marked up, rice paper, scrapbook papers…
  • Water bottle
  • Paper towels
  • Baby wipes

Optional for experimenting:

  • Heavy Body Titanium White
  • Embroidery floss – color does not matter
  • Glazing Medium or other acrylic medium extender that slows down drying time
  • White fabric paint with a thin nozzle or a refillable thin nozzle tipped bottle that you can fill with the fabric paint
  • Oil pastels or crayons

Have you had some fun with the Gelli Plate and used these papers in your art journals? I encourage you to try at least one of these techniques and use the papers in your next art journal page. Be sure to share in on Instagram and tag me @julia_bethmann and @getmessyartjournal! We always love seeing everyone’s amazing work!

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Action Steps


Open up that Gelli Plate!


Pick out three or four different version of the same color (such as different shades of blue). Roll up the plate with the first blue, and print. Then roll up the plate with the second blue and print and so on. Layer and play with these colors, printing on the same papers and new papers until you are happy with the results.


Cut or tear your favorite section of each print and use in a journal page


Julia is a mixed media artists who works in collage, printmaking, painting, and drawing to express her personal vision that we are all connected through spirit and nature. Julia loves experimentation and layering color, materials, and patterns. Julia studied photography and printmaking at the State University of New York at Buffalo and Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy. Today, Julia sells original works and prints and teaches in person workshops on a range of topics including bookbinding, printmaking, and collage.


  1. Suzanne Earley

    I have a new brayer coming today, and can’t wait to watch this and get to work with my plate — I’ve had troubles with my gelli plate in the past!

  2. Jenny Sehlstedt

    Awesome tutorial!

  3. Maura Flood

    Fabulous! Thank you so much for this clear, helpful and inspiring tutorial.

  4. Tammy Murdock

    Great video! I had never seen the oil pastel technique before, I love how versatile gelli plates are!

  5. Amber Coulter

    So fun Julia!

  6. Gilly

    Thanks Julia, so much fun to be had – I love using mine and had a big smile just watching you play!

  7. Kellye Crocker

    Thank you so much! I’ve seen the gelli plates but never knew how to use them! Looks so fun!

  8. Patricia Shimozo-Allen

    Great tutorial! Thanks

  9. Leslie Bishop

    Just ordered my 1st Gelli plate. This was a very helpful video. Thank you! Have you ever tried using the plate with oil paints? Do you have any idea how the plate should be cleaned with oil paints? I’m afraid to use turpentine or paint thinner on it.

    Thank you!

    • Julia Bethmann

      Hi Leslie- I also just had the same thought occur to me! I have seen people using oils online, but no one explains how they clean their plate afterward…. I would suggest baby wipes instead of turpentine? Thanks!


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