Gelatin Printing

So as I said in the last post, I discovered a great new method for printmaking.  Dissolve 2 tablespoons of gelatin per 1 cup of boiling water, pour it in a cookie sheet, skimm off bubbles with a piece of newspaper and then place it carefully in the fridge.  (I had to place a baby food jar lid under one corner of the cookie sheet to make it level).

This morning the kids and I headed outside with our old storm door placed atop the picnic table as our workstation.  Although I intended to make monoprints (single prints) with the gelatin we used mostly the glass itself.  I was enjoying the gelatin but the kids were a bit violent with it so it didn’t last long.  No worries – the sun melted it and it’s back in the fridge.

So to make the prints you take the cookie sheet with the gelatin out of the fridge and place it on the table.  Next you cover it with paint.  I used acrylic and applied it with a brayer and added flourishes with brushes.  Then you lay the paper on top, smooth your hand over the surface and pull your paper pack to reveal a one-of-a-kind print.  Like I said, the kids preferred painting the glass.  They smeared it with their fingers, drew in it with sticks and then placed paper on top of that.  The gelatin creates a softer image, the glass is more splotchy.  In the examples below the red one is a gelatin print and the green and yellow is a glass print.

All together this project took a couple of hours, mostly because the cleanup was pretty extensive with the door and the kids (my two-year-old was up to her elbows in glitter and blue paint!).  If you want to make it short and sweet you could give each child a cookie sheet to paint on (without gelatin), a paper plate with finger paint and a few sheets of paper.  They could enjoy swishing and squishing the paint in the cookie sheet with their fingers or found objects. (This alone will amuse the toddler) When they are ready they can place the paper on top of the paint to “make a print”.  My kids enjoyed saying they were “making a print” – it seemed like magic.

Here’s a link to an article that Amanda Gordan wrote in 2006 that sums up the process well.  Her  process is for making cleaner art prints.  For a fun quick kids’ project you can just leave your gelatin in the cookie sheet and let it melt in the sun when your done for easy reuse.  After a couple days go ahead and throw it in the trash – but don’t put it down the drain!

Happy printing!  If you create prints yourself or with your kids please put a link in the comments to your project.

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