I realize that sometimes I get too caught up in the final product when I teach art lessons, so this week I decided to give Kindergarteners a day to play. I ordered a couple gelatin plates for my classroom and decided to give Kindergarteners the first chance to experiment. Was this a totally practical, step-by-step, planned lesson? No. Was this messy? Yes. Did the kids have fun? Yes. Am I glad I taught this lesson? YES.
I have tried making my own gelli plates in the past (you can find recipes online) but have never had much luck. When I realized that these ready-made and durable plates hit the market, I knew I had to pick some up. These plates look and feel like gelatin and work as a great printing surface for making mono-prints. You roll paint directly on the surface and begin pressing in textured items (feathers, bubble wrap, stencils, ect) into the painted plate. Next, you place a piece of paper on top of the painted plate and run your roller along the back so that the frontside catches all of the paint and texture on the plate. Peel the paper off the plate and…wah-lah… you have a mono-print.
I spent some time playing around with these gelli plates to try to find a system or formula for a clear-cut lesson plan. But I started making new discoveries, I found that the process of actually making these discoveries yielded more success and joy than the final piece of art. So I figured that the best way to teach this lesson was to provide fun textures, step back, and give students room to play.
This is a great activity for younger students because the gratification is immediate and the prints turn out colorful and fun!