There’s nothing like potatoes to bring the family together. Fish and chips by the beach, a Sunday roast at your parents’, sausages and mash on a cold winter night. But why stop there? What about... art?
We all like to get creative from time to time, and potato printing is a simple and fun way to make beautiful designs (or questionable brown blobs). And when we’ve all had our fun – and finished printing smiley faces on loved ones’ foreheads – it really doesn’t matter if the results are more ‘Picasso’ or ‘pigsty’, because it’s such a quick and easy craft to set up. This guide will explain everything you need to know about how to do potato printing at home.
How to make potato prints – the equipment
Potato printing requires very little in the way of equipment, but there are a few things you need so you can have fun without making a mess that’ll take hours to clean:
- Potatoes! The bigger the better.
- Something to print onto – you can use paper or even fabric!
- Acrylic paint
- Knife or shape cutters – cookie cutters are ideal
- Table and floor coverings. Things are going to get messy!
- Plenty kitchen paper… again, prepare for mess.
How to make potato prints – making your potato printer
Have a think about what you want to paint, and once you’ve come up with a few genius potato print ideas, you’re going to need a potato printer:
- Cut a potato in half
- Use your cookie cutter to slice the flat potato edge into a cool shape, or use a knife to make your own.
- Leave the potato to dry or dab with some kitchen paper. The drier the better, so that the paint doesn't get diluted by the moisture and end up just printing dribbly messes. Unless that’s the look you're going for, of course.
- Repeat the process to make different shaped printers.
If you are doing this activity with children, be sure to supervise them when they’re cutting potato printing shapes. It might be best for you to do the cutting; but that’s okay, as the fun is really in the printing.
Potatoes aren’t a particularly messy art tool, but they can be surprisingly moist. Plenty kitchen towels are great at absorbing any errant juice and wiping up paint spills.
How to make potato prints – the printing!
When it comes to potato printing, you can let your imagination run wild! Make anything that comes to mind. However, if you are struggling for inspiration, here a few ideas that you can create at home:
- Potato print paper plate faces. Dig out your leftover paper plates from last summer’s shindig and go wild! Different shaped noses, mouths, ears and eyes are the order of the day. After the paint has dried, add finishing touches with pens, or more paint and a fine brush. Think jagged teeth, big eyelashes, curly hair…
- Potato printing on fabric. The great thing about using fabric for potato printing is that it’s more flexible than paper and is perfect for wall hangings. Just make sure you use fabric paint, and that the fabric is clean and pulled taught so that it doesn’t bunch up and lead to splodges. If you’re fairly ambitious, how about making an animal print wall hanging from an old piece of cloth to give as a gift?
- Potato print birthday cards. With the right colours and shapes, you can make some genuinely stylish greeting cards with a potato! Kids can make some colourful greetings to remind Grandma and Grandad just how much they love them, while you could make a grown-up, perhaps minimalist card to show your appreciation for a friend. Yes, potato prints can be classy.
Once you know how to do potato printing you can have fun with it over and over again, in all sorts of ways. Just please, for the love of potatoes, don’t eat them after!