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Potato Prints

Martha Stewart Living, November 1994

Potatoes are wonderful mashed, baked, scalloped, or fried, but they have a less conventional use, too: as decorative stamps for personalized gift cards and tags. The best potato prints have a painterly quality reminiscent of impressionist art. To make one, cut a potato (any variety will do) in half, and draw a shape onto the flesh with a pencil. Then, using a utility knife or a jackknife with a thin blade, carve around the outline of the pencil design, and cut away the background to a depth of 1/4 inch. Mix gouache paints (available in tubes at art-supply stores) with a little water, then apply the paint directly onto the design with a brush; or dip the potato into a dish of paint as though using a stamp pad. Press the potato onto blank cards, reapplying paint when the prints become faint. Each print will look unique and slightly irregular -- a work of art in itself. To make a tag, punch a small hole in the corner of the card with a needle or an awl, and thread a piece of string or ribbon through.

Comments (4)

  • Susie44 31 Aug, 2009

    We did this in Brownie and Girl Scouts. It was so much fun. My mother still had the pillow cases I did for her. She passed this January. A great craft for kids.

  • BELLyons 30 Aug, 2009

    We use potato prints for traditional designs on our hula skirts (although I'd prefer to make craft foam stamps mounted on wood that can be reused and will allow for larger designs!)

  • alts63 5 Aug, 2008

    is there any way of preserving the cut stamps ?

  • SheRa 14 Jan, 2008

    One of my favorite when young, had completely forgotten about it was amazing for each holiday how many different ideas each of us had to carve into our potao. Excited to spen an afternoon with my girls sending out a few personal cards to friends.