The Gelatin Photo Project

More GelatineAfter doing a similar multiplicity project with water, Vik J. shows us how to use Jello and water to create amazing repeating patterns and light painting.

If you’re looking at a hot and humid weekend forecast, try this instead of going to the mall.

Stuck for something to do on a rainy day? Find yourself a piece of glass, some gelatine and water. I never realized that these simple things could provide so much fun!

Technique #1 – Smiley Pics

water and gelatine smiley

Having mixed your gelatine and water let it cool then use a syringe to form beads of liquid gel on a sheet of glass leave it for an hour or so until it has set. Now set the glass up about 40cm above your subject. Set your camera on a tripod looking down onto the refractions in the gel beads on the glass sheet. Your subject could be virtually anything, a flower, printed words, smileys etc. What you are trying to achieve is to capture the subject sharply focused in the gel beads.

water and gelatine smiley setup

Technique #2 – Light Pics

Water and gelatin

Put the gelatine beads onto the glass as usual. Mount the glass about 12.5cm above a background. Set your camera on a tripod focusing onto the gelatine beads. Set your camera to bulb and fit the remote shutter release. Take a set of Christmas lights and ‘waft’ them under the glass whilst the shutter is open.

water and gelatine light set up


  • Mix your gelatine/water mix at about 2/3 of the directions on the packet.
  • The refractions will be upside down versions of your subject.
  • You could mount the glass in a vertical plane to give more possibilities (the gelatine beads will not move).
  • Keep the glass as clean as possible
  • The gelatine beads will eventually dry out..
  • The gel mix can be stored for a few days, To get it to liquefy again add a little water to it and then microwave it for a few seconds, you should then be able to re use it.
  • Put the beads onto the glass using an eye dropper or a syringe (without the needle).
  • Apparently pig gelatine is clearer than beef gelatine.
  • Personally I use a remote shutter release and long exposures for my images.
  • Watch out for reflections from lights, window frames etc that can appear in your image.
  • Air bubbles are one of your enemies as well and should be avoided.

More Gelatine

About The Author

When David Michael Victor Waters (or as everybody knows him – Vik J) works on an oil rig, When he is not being assigned to save the earth from an imminent asteroid hit he takes wonderful pictures.


  1. GJH says

    How much mix should you put onto the glass? Is it a large drop in a dome shape, or a flatter drop?. I have tried this with your guide and I can’t get the image of my picture in the droplets. Any help please.

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