Saturday, November 14, 2009

Potato Printing Fun

Potatoes are a favorite vegetable for many kids. Most love French fries and potato chips, but healthier preparations such as mashed and boiled potatoes are also popular. But potatoes aren’t just tasty. They can also be lots of fun.

Did you know that spuds make great artistic tools? It’s easy to make stamps out of raw potatoes. Kids large and small love to create their own unique stamps. Here’s how.

What You Need
  • Raw potatoes
  • Sharp knife
  • Pencil
  • Construction paper or card stock (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Paper towel
  • Newspaper
  • Saucers
  • Paint

1. Cut potatoes in half widthwise.

2. Have kids make shapes on the inner part of each piece of potato. Small children can draw shapes on construction paper or card stock, cut them out, and trace them onto a potato with a pencil. Older kids can carve directly onto the potato if they like, with a sharp pencil or knife and adult supervision.

3. Have an adult carve all around the shape so that it is about ¼ to ½ inch higher than the rest of the potato.

4. Place the stamp surface on a paper towel to absorb excess moisture before using.

5. Cover the work area with newspapers. Put paint in saucers, dip the potato stamps into it, and make prints. You could also use an ink pad, or color the design with a marker and stamp it.

Potato prints can be used in a wide variety of projects. Here are some ideas.

* Use potato stamps to paint designs on walls. Kids can create a whimsical border with their home-made potato stamps.

* Create unique clothing designs. Potato stamps and fabric paint can easily spruce up a plain t-shirt or pair of jeans. They also work very well on canvas sneakers.

* Make limited edition wood furniture. Potato stamp designs go great on unfinished pieces, as well as those that are painted a solid color.

* Make your own stationery. Use ink pads in different colors to make designs on a plain notepad or loose sheets of paper. This makes a thoughtful and inexpensive gift.

* Design your own gift wrap. Just stamp designs onto solid colored gift wrap, craft paper or plain white paper.

* Use potato stamps to decorate greeting cards. They’re great for making uniform borders and patterns.

* Make plaques. Stamp designs onto premade plaques found in craft stores, or use scrap wood from other projects.

Potato printing is an easy and inexpensive project for kids. It’s also a simple way for adults to create their own stamps. If you have some potatoes and a knife, you can create any kind of stamp that you can imagine.

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