There is nothing like a good weekend craft to keep tiny hands busy. And with Christmas only [gasp] ....44 days away, this is also the perfect way to knock out your holiday gift list. I recently spent the afternoon with my four nieces [Charlie 3, Pepper 5, Eva 9 and Audrey 12] creating some perfectly imperfect masterpieces for them to take home after their trip to California. We made farmer's market totes, cloth napkins for Nana and bandanas for their two adopted pups at home. This entire project took us just a few hours and most of the materials we needed, we found around the house. The best part about potato printing is that you don’t need any fancy tools or techniques. The possibilities are endless with this project and you can print on almost anything. There is no fancy carving needed either. Cookie cutters can provide ready-made shapes -- flowers, animals, etc-- for your design. You can also use different sized spud slices cut crossway to create small or large organic shapes and polka dots.
Like i said- the possibilities are ENDLESS.
You will need:
Potatoes [we used large russets cut in half the long way]
Cookie Cutters [optional, small to medium works best]
Acrylic Paint or All-Purpose Paint [acrylic will be best for fabric applications]
Popsicle sticks or Painter’s sticks
Newspaper or Butcher Paper
An item or two to print on [we used canvas tote bags + cotton bananas from a local craft store]
1. First you will need to cover your crafting area with newsprint or butcher paper and pour a few dollops of paint onto an your paper plate.
2. Place a cookie cutter on the cut side of one half; set aside the other potato half to use for another stamp. Push the cutter through the potato, [adults may need to help little kiddos with this part] keeping the potato flat on the table; break away excess potato.
3. Poke the shape out of the cutter; blot away any moisture with a paper towel – this will help when applying your paint and give you the cleanest final design.
4. Next, dip the popsicle stick or painter’s stick into your paint and apply to desired potato shape. Be sure to wipe away any extra paint that gets caught on your edges with a paper towel.
5. Lay down your “canvas” and begin stamping shapes one at a time, working from left to right, top to bottom. Be careful to not smudge your paint as you work. Don’t worry about inconsistencies — they are what make these masterpieces so awesome. Be sure to reapply paint to your potato before each stamp. You want enough paint to cover the potato surface but not too much!
6. Once you have finished laying out your pattern or creation, set aside to dry. [We put our stuff out in the sun so it dried a little faster.]
7. Once completely dry, place your masterpiece in the dryer for 15 minutes to heat-seal it. This is only important for fabric items. By heat-sealing them, you will ensure your design will withstand numerous washing and drying sessions in the future. You can also use an iron to do this. For this method, make sure your item is completely dry and then place a lightweight pressing cloth over the top of the painted area. Adjust your iron to the highest heat setting appropriate for the fabric and then run it over the painted area and press firmly for about 30 seconds. Be sure to keep the iron moving so you do not burn the area.
[Finished bandana modeled by the handsome Watson Ball.]