Monoprint Mug Mat (Tutorial)

Gelli Art plates are my latest obsession, and I’m discovering how much fun they can be. Today I’m demonstrating for Arizona Art Supply at the Phoenix Women’s Expo. I thought it would be smart to demonstrate something practical, so I made a mug mat, using a Gelli Arts printing plate, Studio Cloth, paints, and masks that I cut myself. I’ll be teaching a Gelli plate class at Arizona Art Supply on November 2, in Phoenix. If you are in Tucson, I’ll be there on November 17. (Mark the date, registration isn’t open yet.)

Mug mats protect your desk from spills and smears and provide a nice surface for a mug of coffee, tea, soup and perhaps a snack. They come in many sizes; this one is larger than most.


Here’s what you will need:

  • A Gelli Arts plate, any size. Mine is 8 inches x 10 inches..
  • One piece Studio Cloth, the size of your mug mat. Mine is about 10 inches x 12 inches.
  • A fat quarter of batik fabric, in colors that coordinate with the colors on the mug mat.
  • Sewing machine and thread (optional).
  • Acrylic paints, several different colors
  • Brayer, 2-inch or 3-inch.
  • Paper mask, one in the shape of a tea bag, one in the shape of the tag.
  • Sturdy cardstock, to cut masks
  • Pen, pencil and tea bag (to create mask)
  • Baby wipes (to clean plate)
  • Decorative comb

Drip several dark colors of acrylic paint onto the Gelli plate. About a teaspoon will do. I used Quinadricone Dark Orange, Payne’s Gray, and a bit of Iridescent gold.

Brayer the colors over the plate to reach the corners. Take a print on either side of the Studio Cloth. Allow cloth to dry completely. Take another print off the plate to create a ghost print to use for another project.

While the cloth is drying, place he tea bag and the tag on cardstock, trace around the outline, and cut out.

Re-ink the plate with lighter colors. I used Titan Buff, Periwinkle blue. Brayer over the plate, which will pick up color from the last application.

Place the tea-bag mask and tag at differing angles on the plate. Using the non-bristle side of a brush, create a “string” connecting the tea bag and the tag with a curved line. This design will remove paint.

Using decorative combs or other household objects, create patterns around the tea bag. Take a print on the same side of the Studio Cloth as before. The mask and the scraping of the paint will allow the darker first coat to come though. Allow to dry.

LinerCut a piece of batik cloth a bit larger that the Studio Cloth. Fuse to the back of the cloth using Pellon fusible webbing. (Make sure it sticks on both sides). Create a fabric sandwich: Studio Cloth, painted side down; fusible webbing; batik fabric, right side facing you. Iron to fuse.

Trim away any extra fabric, then use a zig-zag stitch to edge the Studio Cloth. You can also use a decorative scissors to trim the edge. Studio Cloth will not fray.

Your mug mat is ready to use! You can seal it with acrylic paint sealer. I leave mine the way it is and surface clean it if it needs it.

You can also use canvas, but you will have to gesso it first.

Quinn McDonald is enjoying playing with Gelli plates.