Media & Techniques

Don’t Let a Small Budget Keep You From Trying Gelli Arts!

We’ve been having so much fun this week bringing you exciting tips, tricks and behind the scenes info about Gelli Arts®. I hope that you’ve had a chance to read about how the company got started as well as enter the amazing giveaway. But I hear some of you saying, “This is so cool, but there is just NO WAY that I can try this with my tiny art room budget!” So today, I’d love to discuss three ways that you can make Gelli Arts® jive with your limited funds at any grade level.

1. Set Up Stations

What if I told you that you only needed to buy ONE Gelli plate? Well, if you set up a Gelli plate printing station, it’s true! While you conduct other projects, related to printmaking or not, if you keep a small station set up for Gelli printing, you can have all of your students experience this awesome process.

At the elementary level, two students to a plate generally works well. This way, they can help each other, but neither has to wait too long for a turn. At the middle school or high school level, you may be able to set up a permanent station. Students could use it to make prints, fabrics, or material to use in visual journals. Showing students or having the video tutorials from the Gelli Arts® YouTube channel available would be a great way to build some background knowledge. The kids can take it from there!


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2. Use Materials You Already Have on Hand

The great news about Gelli printing is that besides the Gelli printing plate, you probably have everything else you need in your classroom already. Other than a brayer, which can also be a bit pricey, many texture tools are inexpensive or free. Think: toilet paper tubes, bubble or plastic wrap, combs, and more. This Pinterest page has a ton of resourceful ideas. You can also make your own texture plates from foam. See the process on the Gelli Arts® blog. In addition, the acrylic paint that Gelli Arts® recommends is much less expensive than traditional block printing or screen printing ink.



3. Shop Where You Already Get Discounts

Gelli Plates are available at Blick Art Materials, where you can buy them for 10% off list price and where you already may get an education discount. Gelli Arts also wanted me to let you know that if you are unable to order from Blick, you can contact them for help directly at

One last insider tip: Although Gelli Arts doesn’t recommend it, they have seen one teacher cut some of the plates in half!

So, there you go, three easy tips for stretching your budget to include Gelli Arts®. After playing around this week, all of us here at AOE hope you give it a try!

Tell us, are you inspired to try Gelli printing in your classroom?

How else could you creatively stretch your Gelli printing budget?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Amanda Heyn

Amanda Heyn is AOEU’s Director of K–12 PD & Media and a former AOEU Writer and elementary art educator. She enjoys creating relevant and engaging professional development just for art teachers.

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