Home > Personal Stories > A Million and One Ways to Use Color Gel

A Million and One Ways to Use Color Gel

I’m pretty new to the theatre lighting world. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no spring chicken when it comes to this business called “show.”  But all of those years have been spent as an actress. That’s right. An actress. I’ve always been the girl who gets hit in the face with the light. The girl who crosses in the blues and pinks and thinks about blocking and lines, rather than lighting and moments.  I’ve never really given much thought to the basic concepts and theories behind a mood or a scene. And I’ve never really appreciated the complexity that lighting offers a show. But the “magic” of theatre really is in the lights! Imagine what The Wizard of Oz would be if you had to watch it, beginning to end, in plain, boring, white light. Think of The Wicked Witch without a devious lighting change to announce her arrival in Munchkin City. What would  “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” be without a solitary spot on our lamenting Dorothy? Trust me, you lose almost all of the magic if you take away those pretty pretty lights. Most of the “Oooo and Ahhhh” factor goes out the window, right along with Dorothy, Toto, and the house they flew in on. Working for a company like StageSpot can give a small-minded actress like me some big perspectives to consider and it’s opened my eyes to a world I was just too naive to see. Now I’ve seen the light and I STILL can’t wrap my brain around how much credit those lighting directors really deserve.

With all of that said, I would like to talk to you about something I can relate to: lighting gel. That’s right, plain ol’ gel. I’m a simple girl. I like simple things. I like little sheets of super baked in color goodness that I can use in my home, in my crafts and projects, and in my letters and gifts.  Now, my much smarter StageSpot associates tell me gel is put in front of lighting fixtures, and gives the stage some of that “magic” I mentioned earlier. Blues, pinks, purples, yellows, and the dreaded color green can all be used to set a mood and add an emotional undercurrent to help communicate a theme, a story, etc. But did you know you can use them in your kitchen? Did you know you can make all of your apartment neighbors green with envy at your window cling modern art masterpiece? You can. I did, and I’m just an actress. If I can do it, YOU can do it. Below are are just a few examples of everything you can do with gel. At StageSpot I get calls all day from people wanting to change the mood of their house for a party, people using gel for stained glass windows, for gift wrapping, for drinking glasses, for children with learning disabilities, color therapy experiments, the list goes on and on! So give this material a chance. Add some color to your world. It’s affordable, and it’s fun.

Swatch Book Lighting Cover light1

Supplies Needed: Swatch Book

I hate halogen lighting. It buzzes. It make you look ten years older and ten times more tired than you really are. So when I moved into my apartment, before I could make anymore pancakes, I had to fix the lighting in my kitchen.

To make your kitchen a better place for pancakes:

1. Remove the plastic box cover from your halogen lighting fixture (you may need a screwdriver for this, depending on the fixture).

2. Cover the inside surface of this box with the individual colors from a Roscolux Swatch book.

3. Place the box back on the halogen light.

4. Your done! Your kitchen now has softer beautiful light, and you can finally make yourself some pancakes in peace.

Use any color you like, any pattern you like, and any swatch book you like. StageSpot has all of them: Lee, Gam, E-Color, Cinegel and Roscolux. The best part of this project is that no glue, tape or other adhesive is needed. The gel lays flat inside you halogen light cover and sticks with the power of static cling. It’s cheap, fun, and very pretty. I did a simple rainbow, but you can do any pretty pattern you choose!

Window Cling Modern Art MasterpieceStained Glass Color Gel

Supplies Needed: Sheets of Gel, Spray Bottle (with “mist” setting”),  Paper Towel or Sponge.

You can purchase sheets of gel from StageSpot for $6.25 each. They come is 20″ x 24″ sheets. I used Roscolux, because it’s thin and easy to work with. But I also suggest E-Color, It’s a bit thicker, but its bit cheaper at  $5.79 each.

1. First off, clean your window. The cleaner, the better.

2. Cut your gel into different sized squares. I used about four different colors in my project.

3. To make your gel stick to your window (i.e. “window cling”) spray a light mist of water on the spot you need you gel to stick to your window, and place your sheet gently on top.

4. Take your sponge of paper towel and press down on your sheet of gel. Spread out all the water under your gel, and soak up the remained that may be dripping out of it.

Ta Da! Window Cling! This will stay up for quite awhile. I placed mine about 4 months ago, and only one or two sheets have fallen. To fix that problem, just re-apply them! If you want the “official” instructions, you can click – How to Apply Filters to Windows. It get’s a bit more specific concerning “whole window coverings”.

Once again, the sky is the limit with this project. You can cut out shapes, make patterns, seasonal greetings, anything you can imagine!

Fun with Photographypenguin2

Supplies Needed: Camera with Flash, Swatch book

This is a pretty simple little experiment for all you shutter bugs out there:

1. Get a Rosco (or Lee, E-Color, Cinegel etc) Swatch book.

2. Pick a color and place it over the flash of your camera.

3. Take pictures.

You’re going to see some pretty neat results. You can make it look like you have a filter studio at your finger tips, and all you did was use a little swatch book and a little creativity!

Well, that’s about it for this actress. I hope you enjoyed reading about how cool gel is. Stay tuned next time to rambling about gaff tape. We here at StageSpot LOVE gaff tape.


Sarah Tuffs


“Your friend in the entertainment business!”

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Categories: Personal Stories
  1. commentater
    July 3, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    I wonder if I could use gel to change the color temperature on my ipad to make it “warmer” for night reading?

    • July 5, 2011 at 10:44 am


      The category of gel you are looking for is called color correction. I would recommend using a Roscolux R3410 (1/8 CTO). Which will “warm” up the color of your screen, without altering the true color of the content.

      Below is a direct link to the StageSpot Lighting Gels page.
      Click Here

      Is the majority of your reading on the iPad, black text with a white background?


      Michael L. Cecchini
      VP of National Sales

      888.56.STAGE *66 (office)
      646.801.SPOT (mobile)

  2. commentater
    July 5, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Thanks, I do a lot of full color surfing (but I am not concerned about color so much when reading in bed 😉 I also read a lot of news and books so in those cases it is black and white.

    Question: How easy is it to attach and remove a gel for different times of the day?

    Just for testing, I have already ordered the following from StageSpot:

    1 (GELSWATCH-ECOL) Gel Swatch Book $3.76 $3.76
    * Weight: 0.20 lbs. each
    * Option: Options is Rosco E-Colour

    1 (GELSHEET-ECO204) Gel Sheet – Rosco – $5.79 $5.79
    204 Full CT Orange – E-Colour
    * Weight: 0.25 lbs. each

    1 (GELSHEET-ECO205) Gel Sheet – Rosco – $5.79 $5.79
    205 1/2 CT Orange – E-Colour
    * Weight: 0.25 lbs. each

    1 (GELSHEET-ECO285) Gel Sheet – Rosco – $5.79 $5.79
    285 3/4 CT Orange – E-Colour
    * Weight: 0.25 lbs. each

    Would you recommend I change the order or add the Roscolux R3410 (1/8 CTO).



    • July 5, 2011 at 12:36 pm


      Applying and removing gel is very easy.

      But before I can give you a solution, do you have a cover on your iPad?
      This will determine what product you can use to attach the gel.


      Michael L. Cecchini
      VP of National Sales

      888.56.STAGE *66 (office)
      646.801.SPOT (mobile)

  3. Leonard Grossman
    July 5, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    I use the deluxe “suede” version of the magnetic cover. For bedtime reading i could simply remove it. In any event, the cover does not cover the front of the iPad at all.

    What do you think about the gels i have already purchased? Are the fairly similar to the one you recommended?

    • July 5, 2011 at 3:16 pm


      I would recommend that you exchange the ECO204 and ECO205 for R3410. Keep the ECO285.
      ECO204 and ECO205 will do the job but may be to saturated.


      Michael L. Cecchini
      VP of National Sales

      888.56.STAGE *66 (office)
      646.801.SPOT (mobile)

  1. March 19, 2010 at 3:24 pm

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