Potato stamps - make your own wrapping paper

My kids and I made some holiday wrapping paper.  We did use it to wrap our gifts this Christmas but if you choose a neutral stamp it now becomes...Valentines Day wrapping paper,  or birthday wrapping paper.  (anything goes)

I have always wanted to try potato stamping but was not sure of my abilities to hand carve a shape that would be worthy of paint.  I made a discovery that changed everything.  Cookie cutters.

Here is a example of a gift I wrapped with our paper.  It's headed to Ottawa for my niece.  
It's a 'just because' gift.

Here is the how to:

I dug out some of my great grandmother's cookie cutters.
I used a large kitchen knife to cut potatoes in half,  all in one shot to get a nice smoothly cut surface.  Next,  press your cookie cutter into the cut side of the potato about 3/4 inch,  making sure it's even all the way around.  Start cutting away the potato that surrounds your cookie cutter.  Turn your knife in different directions to get into those tight or curvy areas,  like my bird stamp pictured below.

I was so pleased with these stamps.  Pretty good for my first time.
Make sure you set up your workspace before you open the paint.  I used paper plates so I found the paint was drying quickly.  Next time I'll use a plastic plate so the paint won't soak into the paper and dry before we get to use it.

Using a foam brush,  apply paint directly to the potato surface.  Have paper towels handy to dry the stamp if the paint is not sticking,  and for any quick clean ups.  Experiment with the amount of paint you need.  Too little paint and your stamped image will be very light.  Too much paint and you will lose the shape of your stamp.  Once you get into a rhythm you will be able to get a few stamps from one paint application.

Supplies you will need to make your own holiday wrap are:

  • potatoes big enough to accommodate your cookie cutters (one half of a potato per cutter)
  • metal cookie cutters of your choice
  • a large kitchen knife and a paring knife
  • acrylic craft paint (look for glittery, sparkly colours)
  • a roll of brown craft paper or white paper
  • foam brushes,  (not too big)
  • plastic plates or other non porous surface
  • paper towels
  • a somewhat large work surface to roll out a good amount of paper
  • cheap vinyl,  padded table cloth
Tip:  I could have used a vinyl table cloth under my paper.  The padding of the table cloth ensures the entire  surface of the stamp makes contact with the paper,  but   I like how our paper turned out without it.  The uneven stamped shapes gave our paper a more vintage feel.  It's really just preference.

This is a great,  inexpensive activity to do with kids.
Have them make greeting cards instead.  Craft stores sell plenty of card stock with envelopes in all different colours.   Bonus - you are left with something you can actually use.  Yeah!