We’re really getting into the holiday spirit over here, with the music, the movies, the lights, and the presents. I did go out and buy some new wrapping paper this year for friends and family gifts, but channeled the inner 4-year old in me and decided to do a evening project with J to make some custom paper that we could wrap her grandparents’ gifts in. I think the last time I was involved with making stamps out of potatoes, I wasn’t old enough to actually to the cutting and carving myself, so that’s probably telling as to the quality of the handiwork you’re about to see here :). Didn’t turn out quite as well as something you’d see in Real Simple or BHG, but inexperience aside, we did come up with some cute designs to cut and stamp.
First things first, I brought a bag of Wegman’s cheapest potatoes home. Stamps and dinner. With each potato cut in half the short way, we etched the desired shape into the surface, and then carefully cut about 1/4″ off the edges, leaving the shape raised and stampy (no, not a word). Paring knives worked best because they allowed for smoother curves and detail work, but I used a serated knife (as shown) as well as a strawberry stem remover as a scoop.
We ended up with a good assortment of stamps (about 12 in all). We did letters for J-U-L-I-A, a snowman, christmas tree, heart, flower, square, triangle, and a couple of others that you’ll see that were more salvages of ones gone awry than something done intentionally.
I used some of the most basic brown paper I had – it wasn’t glossy or finished in any way, so it really locked in the paint nicely. We used about 6 different colors from the Crayola washable paint set that Pete had on hand (trying to adhere to the reds and greens and whites, but little girls like blue and purple too, so we made it work). With paint divided into separate bowls, we tried stamping the paint onto the potato right in the bowl (the bottom was flat, not rounded at all) but learned quickly that you have much more control and can avoid blotchiness if you hand-paint the color of choice on to the stamp directly.
The dried finish products (we did several table-sized sheets of paper) turned out really good. Perfect paper for grandma and grandpa’s gifts. Little bit of ribbon, and we’re done.