Kids don't need fancy tools or techniques to put their stamp on a T-shirt -- they don't even need to know how to paint. Adding a playful print to a plain top is simple with ordinary baking potatoes. Thanks to their firm texture, raw potatoes can be easily shaped into sturdy stamps, and their smooth interiors are perfect for coating with fabric paint. Kids can use cookie cutters or other kitchen molds, such as aspic cutters, to turn a spud into a stamp quickly. Or parents can cut out shapes and small details with a knife. Our tips will help kids get started, and the styles here are sure to inspire them to dream up their own -- after all, who knows what can come from a vision and a vegetable?
Cookie cutters can provide ready-made shapes -- flowers, animals, or letters -- for your design. Different-size spuds can be sliced crosswise to create small or large petals or polka dots. You can use a potato sliver for stems or grass; hand-paint very thin details. Before drawing embellishments on top of a stamped image, as with facial features, let the paint dry.
Each part of an item can be made with a separate stamp; for this flower, we cut a blossom with a cookie cutter, leaves with an aspic cutter (normally used for shaping jellied garnishes), and a stem with a knife. A large, simple stamp, like a star, is easiest for younger kids to work with. For letters or numbers, place the cutter on the potato so the character is backward and cut out; turn the stamp over, and dip it into the paint. A fingerling potato is great for making small polka dots -- just cut off the tip.