Cynthia St. Charles Store

Friday, July 17, 2009

Gelatin Plate Preparation

It has been a busy summer so far, lots of travel and family distractions (3 month old grandson has been hospitalized multiple times, both daughters who live nearby are moving this month, etc.).
Home for a couple of weeks - I thought it was time to do some Gelatin Plate Printing.

I wanted to make a large plate this time, so I used a 24 x 32" sheet of tempered glass. Not sure where this glass came from . . . something Joe had laying around.
I first created a tightly sealed dam around all 4 edges using modeling clay.
Then, I mixed up my gelatin. It should be a very stiff mixture - 2 Tablespoons of unflavored gelatin to 1 cup of cool water. Carefully stir the gelatin into the water so you don't get lumps. Then, heat until the gelatin dissolves. Cool slightly and pour into your leveled printing surface.

I buy my gelatin in bulk at the health food store.
It takes a few hours for the gelatin to set up - depending on the temperature of the room, etc. You do not need to refrigerate - it will set up at room temp.
A shallow baking pan can also be used as a form for the plate, but I like this process best. You get nice interesting edges when you remove the modeling clay after the gelatin has set up.

These irregular edges give a nice look to a print. I like to print in the center of a piece of fabric that is larger than my plate, leaving a nice white margin around the edges that really sets off the print - sort of like a built in mat board.


Beena said...

I was hoping you would go on, detailing the rest of the process!

Lisa said...

What do you do with the modeling clay when you take it away from the gelatin? Wash it, throw it away?

tiedyejudy said...

Wonderful! I have been wanting to try gelatin plate printing, but never had room in the fridge to set it up! Oh, boy.... can't wait!

Cynthia St Charles said...

Lisa, I do wash it off (or let it dry and peel away the dried gelatin pieces). Then, I put it away and reuse it next time. This way, I always have just the right amount of clay on hand. This particular batch has been reused at least 3 times.

Lya said...

Is the baby allright, now?

In the Netherlands we have only transparant sheets of gelatin, no powdered. Did you ever use these sheets, too?
I tried to buy powdered Gelatin during our holidays in Canada last month, but only found coloured/flavoured gelatin in small amounts. I bought some of these, maybe it will give an extra, special color?!
Can't wait to see your results!


Liana said...

You have nice tutorials, I read them all, thank you for share with us. Your fabrics are very beautiful.

Approachable Art said...

You probably printed right away on these? I would imagine they wouldn't have a very long shelf life. Would love to see the prints you pulled from this plate. :D