Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Artificial Mold Technique

     I made a new discovery with gelatin monoprinting this week. I needed some more fabric for rocks for my rock cairn quilt that I'm making. The last time I printed fabric for rocks, I used a gelatin plate that had some spots of mold on it. (It was before I had put any glycerin in my gelatin plates to make them permanent.) The moldy spots made wonderful marks on the fabric that mimicked patterns of lichens and erosion on natural rocks. Well, now I have a permanent gelatin plate I made back in August and it has no mold on it. So I was thinking of cutting out pieces of dots of paper and using them as masks when I printed the fabric, but that would make very harsh and defined spots and wouldn't look too natural. So I had an idea and it worked great. The reason I'm posting this is because some people who are really into gelatin monoprinting wait for the magic time when the mold and cracks appear on their natural plates because of the wonderful patterns that can be produced from that.
1.) I mixed the color of paint I wanted and then added fabric medium (GAC 900).
2.) I spread the paint onto the gelatin plate with a brayer.
3.) Then I took a small syringe I had leftover from when I had to give my cat an oral medicine and dipped the end of the syringe (the plunger end; not the delivery end) into water).
dipping the syringe in paint water

4.) Then I carefully, so I didn't damage the gelatin plate, pressed the very wet end of the syringe plunger tip onto the paint to smear it a bit.
making marks on the painted gelatin plate

5.) Repeat steps 3 and 4 and let drops of water hit the painted plate here and there.
6.) Place the fabric onto the plate.
fabric on plate after being pressed down;
 notice drop shapes have appeared

7.) Gently rub the fabric down and notice the drop shapes appear on the wrong side of the fabric.
8.) Lift the fabric to reveal the pattern.
pulling off fabric from gelatin plate
 after printing several times
Here is a photo of rock shapes I cut out of fabrics made from my monoprints. (I painted on veins after the monoprinting). The rocks with the arrows are ones made with these latest fabrics on the permanent plate without mold. The ones without arrows are made from fabrics monoprinted a long time ago on a plate with actual mold on it.
rocks from monoprinted fabrics
I've since sewn these rocks onto my quilt and they look really great on it. I can't tell which rocks were printed from which kind of plate by just looking at them. I'm not ready to show the quilt yet, but here's a portion of it. All the fabric is gelatin monoprinted.
layers of earth


  1. Replies
    1. Always something new to find with gelatin monoprinting, isn't there?

  2. Permanent gelli plates, very interesting. I'll check for more details on your blog. Thanks

    1. Margaret, if you click on gelatin recipe in the label section on the right you'll find the posts about how to make a permanent plate. That way you can make whatever size you want. Just be sure to buy 100% pure glycerin. If it's not pure, you will grow mold. I recently found it on Amazon. 32 ounces for $20. If you are an Amazon Prime member you don't have to pay for shipping. Plus if you make your own plate, you can remelt it if you damage it and it will set up again no problem. Not sure you can remelt a commercial plate or not.

  3. Will have to try your recipe!
    In that bottom photo, are you serging the fabric edges and then appliqueing? I like the look there/.

    1. I don't have a serger. I used a basic utility stitch on my machine called a Jersey Stitch. I like the look of it better than just a zig zag stitch. I overlapped the edges of the fabrics about 1/4 inch and then stitched them together using that stitch. Then after they were all stitched together, I placed the entire top onto the batting and did the quilting. Then I did a pillow case backing. Then I pinned the rocks on and machine-appliquéd them on top of the quilted surface. Lastly, I hand stitched my sun on.


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