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Autism Awareness, A New Puzzle Gel Press Plate and More

April is Autism Awareness Month and this cause impacts my personal and professional life. I work at John Wayne Airport, and one of key initiatives is to help individuals have an amazing guest experiences. Traveling can be a stressful experience for anyone, but sometimes even more so with those on the Autism Spectrum. We created JWA’s Helping Hands Program to provide additional support for travelers with hidden disabilities. We recognize that ‘if you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.’ 

I had the blessing of getting this program off the round with my late wonderful boss, and I am currently the Coordinator. The program and initiative are near and dear to my heart. The program began with an emphasis on assisting families and individuals traveling through our Airport with hidden disabilities such as Autism. Our goal was to help make travel the most pleasant it can be. As a specially trained Customer Relations team, we make this service a priority. The program also provides additional support to wounded veterans, individuals with temporary or permanent disabilities, travelers with early onset Alzheimers, visually-impaired passengers, and more. The program is award winning, but our goal foremost is to ensure the guest has an amazing experience while navigating through our Airport. We’ve been able to assist so many people, helping them to connect with family, or go on trips of a lifetime. You can find out more HERE. If you happen to be traveling through JWA, make sure to stop by our Information Booth during April and ask why we are going blue. We’ll share more about Helping Hands and you’ll get an awesome gift.

In my personal life, from elementary school on, I volunteered working with different educational organizations who specialized in teaching those on the Autism Spectrum. I’m grateful for what I learned, as I have several friends who have beautiful, gifted, and wonderful children with Autism.

So I was thrilled with Gel Press shared they were coming out with a Puzzle Shaped Plate in honor of Autism Awareness!! I couldn’t wait to create with this special plate and the possibilities are endless. Use this special plate for cards, projects and more. I’m happy to share with you one of my projects. We’ve done collaborations leading up to this month, individuals projects, videos and more. My fellow Gel Press Creative Team Members will also be sharing their projects which are all so unique, just like each one of us! Did you know, just like every human being, each gel press print is completely unique as well. No gel print, also known as mono print, is completely unique. Pretty cool, huh?

So without further ado, here’s a project I created with the Gel Press Puzzle Plate.

Supplies used:

  • Gel Press Puzzle Plate
  • 12″ x 12″ Gel Press Plate
  • 12″ x 12″ Ampersand Gesso bord panel
  • The Crafter’s Workshop Magic Ladder Stencil (6″ x 6″) – 12″ x 12″ shown HERE
  • The Crafter’s Workshop Corncob Etching Stencil 12″ 12″
  • Foam Script Stamp
  • Black Archival Ink
  • Yellow Chalk Acrylic Paint for Gesso bord foundation
  • Brown Acrylic Paint for foundation
  • White Acrylic Paint to pull prints
  • Acrylic Paint for Gel Press Puzzle Print in aqua, blue, white
  • Acrylic Paint in Pink
  • Chipboard Alphabet Letters
  • Craft Foam for puzzle piece
  • Piece of Cardstock for Puzzle Piece Print
  • A couple pieces of deli paper
  • Scissors
  • Brayer
  • Pencil

The How to:

On the 12″ x 12″ Gel Press plate, roll out yellow chalk paint and add just a touch of brown acrylic as well. You must work quickly and not allow the paint to dry. Place the Gesso bord which is already primed to take acrylic paint so well, face down on top of the Gel Plate to transfer the paint. Because the plate and the gesso board are both 12″ x 12″ you should get full coverage for the foundation. Set aside gesso bord to fully dry.

On your 12″ x 12″ plate, stamp script foamie with archival ink randomly. Allow to dry. It should dry quickly due to being permanent. Then roll out acrylic paint of your choice on the plate. I chose pink. Use Corncob etching stencil and place it down on top of the paint. Then remove the excess paint through the stencil by placing a piece of deli paper on top of that. Keep that sheet for another project. Once completely dry, place a thin layer of white acrylic paint on top of the painted plate with a brayer. Before the white paint dries, quickly place letters face down on the plate and firmly rub. Then lift for the print on each chipboard l etter. From there, place deli paper and remove the other excess pink paint.

For the puzzle print, again, stamp the script foamie stamp. Then roll out random colors of blue (the signature color for Autism), and then lift with white paint as you did for the letters only this time you print the puzzle piece on a piece of cardstock. The script stamp also was intentional as Autism has a lot ot do with often times, the difficulty of communication. Once the print is dry, cut out the piece, then trace the puzzle piece onto foam. Cut out the foam and then adhere with a liquid glue.

Place and glue the letters and puzzle piece in plate. Gift or give to yourself.

Temple Grandin, a famous inventor, speaker, professor and more who has ASD, said, “There needs to be a lot more emphasis on what a child CAN do, instead of what he cannot do.”

Warmest creative wishes,


Daughter, Wife, Mother, Friend, artist, vintage loving, law enforcement officer, Southern Californian, God and country loving girl who loves to meet like minded creative people, share life with new and old friends. Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better. ~André Gide