I came up with this idea after another hunt through my studio for things to use with my gel printmaking plate.
Did you know that low-profile cutting dies, such as the Spellbinders Nestabilities are perfect for masking and ghost printing?
The key to their use is to apply them, cutting edge UP onto your plate. You don’t want that raised ridge being pressed into the plate. But with the pressure you apply with just your hands, it doesn’t even cut into delicate papers.
For simplicity’s sake, I will stick with a one-color application for this pictorial.
I applied blue paint to the plate and brayered it out for a thin, smooth application. I then applied rubber stamp images to the plate to create a pattern. Finally I placed the dies randomly on the surface of the plate, cutting edge UP. You can have them overlapping at the edges and even nesting inside of each other if you want.
Apply your chosen substrate to the plate and press, paying attention to the areas where the dies are located. You can feel through a piece or paper or fabric with your hands to trace around the shapes, inside and out. This will make your masked shapes more defined and crisp. If you want looser shapes, simply pay less attention to them when pressing.
When the print was taken off the plate, the dies remain in place. I could get another ghost print at this point, but I find that I like to work with the paint that remains UNDERNEATH the dies.
Remove the dies from the plate. Look at these cool shapes that remain! You can pull a print, just with these shapes, or in the case of my print, I layered these on top of the print I had just pulled.
And as I mentioned before, this is something you can do with a lot of different colors, and work with stacks of prints that you can layer the shapes onto.
One of my favorite types of prints to pull are envelope art. After pulling the initial print and a ghost print there is usually just enough to get a nice subtle print onto an envelope. Not too much print that you would obscure addressing or need to mask off the address blocks. No more blank envelopes!
I hope you enjoy this technique. Take a moment to hunt around your studio. I bet you have some really neat and unexpected tools to print with lurking there!