Polka & Bloom on Etsy

June 6, 2006

Potato printing

Step three
Originally uploaded by wardi.

Here's a fun and easy printing method for you to try!

My mum used to do this with us when we were small. I'm fairly sure I have a pillow case and quilt cover that was decorated with this technique. I think i was eight when I made it. And it had a very pretty rainbow on it too - or so I thought at the time - it was square rather than oval...

Anyway, on to the printing method. I've made a set on Flickr that briefly describes it along with the pictures, so I'm not going to add the pictures here. Just follow this link.

What you need for this is:
An assortment of popatoes; if you want to do a larger design, of course you need larger potatoes.
Ink or paint; use fabric paint for fabric, of course.
Paper, card or fabric to print on.
A sharp knife - kids will need help with cutting the design on the potatoes.

Unless you are comfortable with freestylin' cutting the potato, you need to make a sketch for it first. Start with something simple first, to get used to cutting the potato. You might want to cut out a template and sticking it to the potato with a few pins.

Cut your potato in half and make sure that the cut is as even as possible so the print doesn't get too many unintended blank spots - which will happen if there are 'hollows' in the surface. Don't worry about peeling the potato, in fact it's easier to hold it if it's not peeled. But if it's a fairly large potato you might want to cut a ridge on each side to form a sort of grip. Be careful not to cut into your design, though!

So, you're ready to cut the design, when doing this, make sure you cut away from the design, towards the edge, to avoid cutting into the potato where you don't want to.

When you've cut the potato dip it in your ink or paint and print away! If you're using fabric paint you may need to iron it afterwards to seal it - check the instructions for the paint.

Don't expect to get "perfect" prints with this technique, cause you're not likely to. But do experiment with it - get creative! And let me know/show me what you come up with!

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