Tips & Supplies for Gelli Print Books

Thanks for your awesome response to the Gelli Print Notebook Tutorial I posted a couple of weeks ago and for the beautiful artwork you’ve sent me.  Today’s post will answer some of the questions I’ve received about supplies and techniques for making gelli books.

1. Soft Book Covers

If you want your gelli print to act as the book cover, use a thicker paper, such as a smooth 90lb/185gsm watercolor paper or a 98lb/160gsm mixed media paper. My favorite is Canson Foundation Watercolor Paper and Canson XL Mixed Media Paper.

Longstitch handmade journal with Slotted Wrapper

Long stitch book with a slotted gelli print cover

2. Hard Book Covers

To create a hard cover book, cover a piece of book board with a print made on lighter paper. I use 32lb/120gsm copier paper from the office supply store, such as this Staples brand paper. And a standard .087 book board from Hollanders.

Gelli print sewn over tapes book

Hardcover gelli book with sewn over tapes spine

3. Wax the Cover

I think most of us make our prints with acrylic paint and when we build up layers of paint some areas are thicker than others. To prevent these areas from cracking when the print is folded, rub a piece of beeswax over the surface. You only need a thin layer to protect the print and make your covers more flexible.

4. Turn-ins

Reinforce to the edges of a soft cover by creating turn ins.  This is especially helpful if your print is on thinner paper.

Turn ins
5. Signatures

If you’re not sure what paper to use for the signatures, think about how you’ll use the book. Will you jot down a shopping list in it or use it as a mini sketchbook? Will it be a journal for wet media or one just for writing? My favorite papers for journal pages are Mohawk Superfine Text Weight paper for writing and sketching. For art journals I like to use whole sheets of 90lb/185gsm watercolor paper, such as Stonehenge. And if it’s a simple notebook, I used copier paper.

6. Fill White Space

Sometimes the white space in our prints looks great on a larger print, but when it’s cut down and put on a book cover, it looks odd.  Why not fill it in with some stamping, doodling or handwriting once the book has been made.

handmade journal with gelatin print

Do you have any gelli book tips? Please share in the comments!

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One Thought on “Tips & Supplies for Gelli Print Books

  1. kiwiquilter on April 6, 2015 at 7:58 am said:

    Thank you so much for putting all this info in one easily readable post. Brilliant.

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