Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Gel Printed Holiday Tree Cards

Hello! Nicole here back for my last blog post of 2023! What? This year has flown by, hasn’t it? If you’re anything like me, it’s the middle of December and you either ran out of time or completely forgot about sending some holiday cards. I always like to have a few on hand for neighbor gifts and friend get-togethers plus some for mailing.

Ever since I began making my own cards, I just can’t purchase them. I think that also adds a bit of pressure to create a work of art on a card. 

Recently, when I was playing with some StencilGirl® stencils, I applied paint through the Butterfly Rouen Tile stencil and thought it looked like snow and/or the pattern on one of those ugly Christmas sweaters. I immediately wanted to spray paint white through it and brainstormed how I could make that work for a card design. Then, it hit me. Trees! 

I could add some trees and make a snowy winter sky background. So, for this year’s card I had the idea to gel print some papers and turn them into trees with the spray-painted background of course!


My first step was to gel print a variety of papers in all shades of green. I wanted to layer different patterns, colors and sizes of trees in the foreground.


I printed on white and kraft colored card stock to add to the variety and for a tiny bit of pop and thickness to the trees.


The gel print process was simple. First layer down some green(s) on the plate and brayer them to a thin coat. 

Place a stencil down and pull a first print on top the stencil. 

This print isn’t always a great one, depending on the stencil style, but it makes a great first layer!

Then, remove the stencil and pull a second print. 

I repeated this process several times with different shades of greens and stencils.  Once in a while I pulled a third print to layer on one that just didn’t look right or flipped the stencil over to use the paint again on that side. I let the paint, stencil, and results determine my next steps each time. There are no rules, and you can watch my simple process in the video tutorial.


Sometimes when I was unsure of how the pattern would look for a tree, I isolated it with a piece of paper that I had cut a triangle out of. It’s amazing how different just a slice of the print looks and makes the perfect little tree.

While I waited for the prints to dry, I cut my base cards and spray painted through the Butterfly Rouen Tile stencil.

And, while those dried, I added some white splatters to the envelopes. I just simply sprayed some of the paint in a small cup and added some water to it. I repeated this process on both sides of the envelopes and also the back of the cards.

Finally, it was time to cut out the trees! I cut out some small tree patterns to make this process easier. Using the patterns, I was able to ensure that the trees would layer ok on the card fronts.

Once I had millions (ok, maybe just a hundred) trees cut out, I placed a large one on each card and then picked out all the little ones to go with it. I originally planned to put three trees on a card, but I couldn’t resist changing that to five trees. 

When the trees were perfectly placed, I quick snapped a photo just in case. Then I carefully piled the cards up and began the process to stick them down.

Looking back, I wish I had printed a few more trees that were a little more solid in color with small pattern. I like how they anchored some of the card fronts. 

To finish the cards, I knew I wanted to add a “Merry Christmas” sentiment with my typewriter, but I also decided to add some red berry garland to one tree on each card. If you don’t have a typewriter, you can print words from your computer or find some stickers. 

I added the simple berry dots with the end of a paintbrush.

I really enjoyed how these came together, even if my husband calls them mountains instead of trees. Maybe that’s one reason I decided to add the berry garland! 

The best part? Besides the fact that I have a bunch of cards to send, I have a lot of leftovers. So, I think I’m going to also make some small tags for packages as well.

Check out the entire process in the video below!

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, and maybe I just helped remove a little of the holiday stress by not only giving you a card idea, but some moments to just sit down and create.


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  • Card stock (white, dark blue, kraft)
  • Green acrylic paint of all shades
  • Red acrylic paint
  • Typed sentiments 
  • White spray paint (I prefer the Liquitex brand)
  • Gel plate
  • Adhesive tape
  • Scissors
  • Brayer
  • Envelopes

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