Gelatin Plate Printing With MX Dyes

I have a swap that I participated in that involved the process of gelatin plate printing. Our fabric dyeing group works with MX dyes so that is the medium we use when we do our various swaps each month.

I have to admit that I know nothing about the process of print making but was game to try so after googling various youtube demos I started. I was going to explain the process but after a couple of paragraphs I realized that it’s just easier to google youtube and see what people have done there so if you’re interested I suggest you do that.

Here’s a couple of pictures of the process:

Gelatin plate, it was hard getting the plate out of the container. Even though I was careful it cracked.

Thickened sodium alginate.

Mixing dye into the thickened alginate.

Various coloured dyes.

Prints taken off of the plate. Of course I forgot to take pictures of the process.

Prints drying on table.

Gelatin print 1.

Gelatin print 2.

Gelatin print 3.

Vague outline of purple oak leaf.

What I found was that I couldn’t get the thickened dye to come off of the roller properly. The dye just tends to slide on top of the gelatin. I know from watching the videos that the people demonstrating the process didn’t use thickened dye they used ink dyes so I’m thinking I would have had better success with those.

I did take a couple of prints using leaves. I spread the dye on the gelatin using the back of a spoon but it was patchy at best. The abstracts were made by me getting frustrated so I thinned down the dyes and just dribbled them onto the gelatin and then pressed the fabric over top.

Out of 16 attempts this was the best of the lot. I couldn’t really see the point of using the gelatin as I’m thinking I could have gotten the same results just using a hard surface. Maybe if I had used inks instead I would have gotten a better idea. I don’t see much mentioned on the subject so maybe people don’t  use gelatin printing that often. Maybe it’s a technique that you try but don’t really use.

Anyhow I won’t try this again, I think I’d rather stencil instead. It was fun dabbling sort of like a kid and finger paints. Hmmm….maybe I should have used my fingers.


2 responses to “Gelatin Plate Printing With MX Dyes

  1. Well….it’s different. Not something I would try though – looks a bit fiddly for me.

  2. I’m with Catherine…your trying is experience enough for me. It looks frustrating and like it could potentially be a big mess. I haven’t dyed fabric in years…since high school except to over-dye something to cover stains. Sometimes I get the urge to do some tie dying or batik…but the urge passes quickly. It’s been a while since I wove a basket, but I dyed the reeds…and still have a good many dyes on hand.

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