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Leaf Gel Prints

Gel Printing with Leaves

I’d been wanting to play around with gel-printing leaves again, so one day recently I decided to do just that.  

Apart from the gel plate and brayer, it doesn’t take much—just some acrylic paint and a handful of leaves gathered from outdoors.  

  1. Usually, you start with a darker color of paint.  Brayering on a thin layer works best.  Arrange some leaves on the plate, vein / textured side down. 
  2. Place your paper on top and press thoroughly to pick up the paint around the leaves and create a strong impression of the leaf or leaves in the paint.  
  3. If desired, use a small piece of low-tack tape (like paper tape or washi tape) as a hinge to fix the paper to the table or work surface.  (This helps you reposition the paper with less fuss.)
  4. Pull back the paper and remove the leaves.  
  5. Allow the paint to dry. 
  6. Apply a contrasting paint (usually something lighter in value) to the gel plate, on top of the dried paint.  Brayer it into a smooth layer. 
  7. Place the same paper back onto the gel plate.  Rub it thoroughly for a fair bit of time.  (You need the wet paint to adhere to the dry paint so it all lifts off.)
  8. Pull the print—and you’re done!  

At this point, you can either start another print or layer a second leaf shape over your first result (typically leaving out the veins for the second print).  

This is a quick and easy project and so much fun!  You’ll soon learn that certain leaves work better than others.  Generally, leaves with a strong texture of veins make more effective prints than smooth, flat ones.  

If you don’t get the paper to line up exactly the same way for the second pull, that can yield interesting results, too.  

When I went out to gather leaves for this project, I originally planned to take a frond from a fern near our kitchen door, but I was stopped by this sight—a tiny snake coiled up on the fern:

I think it was a rat snake.  Whatever it was, it was definitely non-venomous, with round pupils, but it made me reconsider adding fern fronds to that day’s gel-printing experiments!

Diamond Painting: Fox

Until last week, I hadn’t worked on a diamond painting in probably months.  The mood struck me, so I picked up the one that was currently in-progress.  It’s a fox that came as part of a two-pack; this was my less favorite of the two, but it still turned out pretty nice.  

It was a relaxing project to do when I felt tired and just wanted something to do with my hands while watching TV.  

I went ahead and sorted out the drills for my next diamond painting.  It’s a bunch of succulents, and it has square drills instead of round.  This will be only the second diamond painting I’ve done using square drills. 

30-Day Watercolor Challenge!

Day 20: "Daydream"

The month-long challenge of daily watercolor painting continues.  I’m less structured with it, now, but I do some sort of watercolor every day.   

Before adding ink details, then after:

Day 21: "Pattern"

Day 21: "Baked Goods"

More “before details” and “after”.  This time, the additional details are mostly color pencil. 

Day 23: "Birds"

Before details and after…


I’m Michael (a female Michael, to remove any doubt).  I live on the Alabama Gulf Coast with my husband, Donald, and our crazy American Eskimo Dogs. 

I love to fill my spare time with various crafts and other hobbies, and this blog is where I share photos, record my progress, and ramble endlessly.

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