Remember making vegetable prints? I do. I always found the potato to be the best vegetable to work with because the cut suface is large enough to actually cut a nice design into. (Carrots also work, but they are tougher to cut, and have narrower work surface.) If the potato is left unpeeled, it's not so slippery, so it's easier for little fingers to hold onto while cutting and printing.
How to Make Potato Prints
Potatoes with skins
Poster or tempera paints
Old pie tins or other suitable paint containers
Old plastic margerine tubs (for water)
Rag or paper towels
Drawing paper / construction paper
Small plastic knives, sharp knife
Paint smocks or old shirts
What to do:
1. Cut potatoes in halves or thirds.
2. Draw desired design onto potato with the pencil.
3. Young children can carve simple designs out with the small plastic knives and a little help; but if more detail is preferred, an adult needs to cut around the pencil outline.
4. On newspaper-covered table, pour paint into pie tins, creating a thin layer of each color. Add a bit of water if the paint is thick; it should be like melted ice cream. (This is a good time to mix colors also; mix white and red to make pink, etc.)
5. Press potato design lightly into paint and firmly press onto paper for impression. You'll be able to make several impressions before adding more paint. Practice a couple of times on newspapers to get the feel for how much paint you want on your print. To accomplish a textured effect try letting layers dry and adding prints on top in different colors.
6. To switch colors, teach the children to wash off the potato in the sink or tub of water and blot on the rag or paper towels before using a new color.
7. Experiment with prints on colored construction paper. You can get some really lovely designs and color combinations.
8. What can you make from the finished prints once they are dry? Greeting cards? Wrapping paper? Book covers? Remember, you can cut up your designs and use them to decorate other projects.
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