Learn all about potato printing! Potatoes rise to the occasion as a wonderful tool to use for enhancing fabrics and paper. Instead of eating this champion food you can cut and create beautiful stamps to decorate all kinds of projects. Simply halve the potato and cut out a design rather like a stencil or stamp. A paintbrush to apply the fabric paint or a stamp pad will help to transfer the design. Random or organized, these potato printing stamp designs are really effective.
Potato printing has been a child-friendly and simple craft for many years. Potato printing is an inexpensive way to print on fabric and paper and knowing the tools to use and some handy tips will make the process easier.
IMPORTANT - While kids can do the painting with the finished potato, an adult will be needed to make the stamp designe since sharp tools are used.
Potato Printing - Supplies
Tools used to create potato printing stamps:
- KNIFE - Collect a variety of sharp tools to use to cut out the potato. These tools can vary from a craft or kitchen knife to a potato peeler or any implement you can find with a sharp tip.
- CUTTERS - If you don't plan on carving your design, then you will need some metal cookie cutters in the shapes you wish to create.
- PAINT -
- FOR PAPER - Acrylic paints are best. Look for non-toxic types if kids will be doing the printing. You can also use ink stamp pads for printing on paper.
- FOR FABRIC - Fabric paint is best, or acrylic paint can be used with the addition of a medium to fix the paint and make it water resistant. Most of these are not non-toxic and not suitable for kids so an adult will need to do the stamping.
- BRUSHES - A small brush or piece of sponge to apply the paint.
- TISSUES - Tissue paper or paper towel to blot excess moisture from the potato on.
- POTATOES - Any variety of large potato will work.
- FABRIC OR PAPER - Or whatever you plan on printing. Extra fabric or paper to test the stamps on.
How to Make a Potato Stamp
Here is a step-by-step approach to creating fabric or paper potato printing.
Step 1 - Preparation
Slice the potato in half to draw and draw out the design. Choose simple shapes and designs with not too many corners and curves to cut out of the potato.
Note that your artwork will be a mirror image when it is printed. Designs that are the same either way are easiest to plan. If you don’t want a mirror image then draw your design on paper and turn it over so you cut out a mirror image on the stamp.
Step 2 - Carve
Kids - Make sure you get an adult to do the carving for you!
Method 1 - Freehand Carving
Carve out your design on the flat surface of the cut potato. Use a really sharp little paring knife for this job if you have one. Cut away the potato that is outside the planned design so the design is raised and will print. Blot the raw potato stamp on some tissue to dry off the natural juices of the potato.
Method 2 - Cookie Cutter Carving
If you aren't great at freehand carving, consider using some cookie cutters. Embed the cutter down into the cut potato and then remove the outside area. Remove the cutter and you will have a perfect shape.
How to Use a Potato Stamp Instructions
Step 3 - Apply Paint
Apply a thin layer of paint to the stamp. You can do this with a brush, sponge, small roller or by pressing the stamp into the tray with a cloth that is there to soak up the paint like a stamp pad. Make sure any paint that has accidentally found its way to the sides has been wiped off so you don’t end up with blotches from excess paint.
Step 4 - Stamp
Stamp the potato stamp on your fabric or paper. Decide before you start how your design will work. Is it a border design or an all-over print? Measure and make the spot for the stamp if you want an organized design or just stamp randomly to create an overall collection of shapes and patterns.
Step 5 - Layering
Add other colors or shapes with a different stamp and different colors. Let the first stamps dry sufficiently before you add another color.
Step 6 - Drying
Let the stamped designs dry completely.
For potato printing on fabric, heat seal the paint with your iron for a color that will not run when washed.
Potato Stamps - Variations
Here are some ideas for simple designs and how to use them. Basic geometric designs work best because of their straight lines and their ability to match up with one another for a border or continuous pattern.
Here are some simple suggestions.
- Little triangles in a row - Cut a row of triangles on the potato surface, three is enough. Print the triangles in a line along a border. Reverse your triangle stamp for another row above the first and as the triangles touch they form a diamond shape.
- Simple motif stamps - Cut out a simple motif like a cross, a flower, a clover or a zig zag. Cluster each motif together or stamp it in rows and create a pattern.
- Leaf designs - Cutting out a leaf design on a potato creates a beautiful stamp to use for botanical types of designs. Combine a leaf and a flower for a really interesting natural set of stamps.
- Criss cross - Cut random lines across the potato and print for an abstract line design.
- Tree and trunk - Paint a rectangular trunk and then with a leaf design potato stamp print a multiple cluster of leaves to look like a topiary.
Items for Potato Printing
Potato printing does not need to be limited to fabric. There are many other ways to use a potato print. Try these out with your family at home and see what unique ideas they are capable of.
- Wrapping paper and cards are a great way to use potato prints. Brown paper is a good base for making wrapping paper. Save the stamp and use it to make a matching gift card.
- Try out different designs to fit in with particular holiday themes like Easter and Christmas.
- Potato print some plain placemats and make matching serviettes.
- Try potato printing book covers for school as a way to personalize your child’s book covers.
- Use a triangle shape to make Christmas trees for sending seasonal greetings.
Potato Printing - In Conclusion
There is no doubt that the humble potato is able to turn itself into a superstar stamp for printing on a multitude of different things. Now you can add to the useful attributes of a potato - mashed, baked, boiled or fried, roasted and printed.