With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to share a super simple arts and crafts DIY – making potato stamps! Stamping is a fun and accessible craft method for kids of all ages, and the use of potatoes makes this an inexpensive option as well.
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Disclaimer: The cutting required for this activity should be performed by adults only.
Potatoes Are Well-Suited to Stamp Making
Potatoes are a versatile and inexpensive ingredient. And they are delicious in their many forms – potato salad, french fried potatoes, hash brown potatoes…
Sorry, I had a bit of a Bubba Gump moment.
Now that I have that out of my system, potatoes are good for more than just cooking and eating. They are uniquely suited specifically for DIY stamp making for the following reasons:
- They are incredibly affordable. Bonus points for those of you who grow your own potatoes!
- I think it’s safe to say that most of us have some potatoes hanging around most of the time, so this activity doesn’t require any special equipment or pre-planning.
- Potatoes are easy to cut and etch into the desired stamp shapes. And you can use pretty much any variety of potato to make stamps.
Supplies Needed to Make Potato Stamps
Not much is needed to make potato stamps, and all of the items are standard household and art supplies that most of us keep on hand.
- Potatoes – Any variety of potato works for this activity. Sweet potatoes are a little harder to cut, but for larger, less detailed patterns, sweet potatoes work well. I generally use russet or Yukon Gold solely because we keep these varieties on hand most consistently.
- Sharp paring knife and/or X-Acto knife – While it’s never advisable to use dull knives, it is especially dangerous for this project. Definitely make sure your cutting tool is sufficiently sharp.
- Acrylic paint – We always have a variety of acrylic paint on hand, but any water-based paint will work.
- Cookie cutters (optional) – While cookie cutters aren’t necessary, they are useful, especially if you’re not confident with your freehand cutting skills.
- Paintbrush or foam brush (optional) – You can dip the potato stamp directly into the paint, but I found applying paint to the stamp with a paintbrush or foam brush allows for more control and ensures that the paint isn’t too heavy to see the design when stamping. A paintbrush is also useful if using multiple colors on a single application.
Begin by washing your potatoes. Then cut the potato in half. Proceed to cut your design into the potato. If there is excess moisture on the cut side, dab with a towel to dry.
*The cutting should be done by adults only.
If using a cookie cutter to achieve your design, press the cookie cutter into the potato, careful not to go all the way through, but deep enough to make an impression. While the cookie cutter is in the potato, cut around the potato with a paring knife and remove the excess.
Make sure the cut side of your potato is dry, and apply paint to the stamp using your preferred method. Then stamp away!
To make a wheel stamp, cut the potato into roughly 1” slices. Carve a design around the circumference of the potato slice. Cut a hole out of the center of the slice. A piping tip works well for this!
To use, put a skewer or sturdy straw through the center hole of the wheel. Apply paint to the outside of your wheel and roll it across the paper. Voila! Instant stamp roller!
Tips and Tricks
- It’s best to cut potato stamps just prior to use. But in the event that you need to prep the potato stamps ahead of time, submerge your cut potatoes in cold water and keep refrigerated. This will prevent the potatoes from oxidizing and turning brown. Browned potatoes are perfectly fine to use, but I do prefer this method of storage because it also removes some of the starch from the potato so they’re not as gummy when using. Potato stamps stored this way will keep for 2 – 3 days. Pro tip: Instead of tossing the water the potatoes soaked in, water your plants with the potato water! It acts as a natural fertilizer for plants and reduces waste.
- Once you’re done with your potato stamps, rinse the paint off and throw them into your compost.
- Potato stamps difficult for little hands to hold? Try sticking corn cob skewers in them for easy stamping.
Keep The Fun Going And Check Out These Other Activities For Kids!
Be sure to share a picture of your potato stamp projects in the comments. I’d love to see the creations!
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