Despite this project’s simplicity, preparation and set up are involved, so you may want to create the potato stamps the night before you introduce this craft to your child. Once the stamping begins, this project is an excellent chance to work on your facilitation skills, to be a technical resource — in other words, to be an inker of potatoes!
I find doing this project in the kitchen is a great Saturday morning activity for a few kids with a lot of pent-up stamping energy. And, perhaps, if you can keep the materials out for the day, you’ll be able to squeeze in your own adult potato print project when there is a quiet moment!
Star cookie cutters are readily available in craft and cooking stores, as well as online. (See resources.)
If you’re working with one child, you might be able to do your own potato print project at the same time. With two to four children, you will need to assume the role of stamp cleaner and inker.
You can prepare the potato stamps the night before. Simply refrigerate the finished potatoes, either wrapped tightly in plastic or with the stamp area facedown in a shallow plate of water.
6 – 8 potatoes
Small star cookie cutters
Fabric paint (in assorted yellow and gold colors)
Newspaper or brown kraft paper
Silicon spatula or ink roller
Dark T-shirts and/or bandanas
Clean the potatoes, and cut them lengthwise to produce the biggest possible area with which to stamp.
Create the star stamp by pressing the star cookie cutter into the potato and using a knife to cut away the potato outside of the cookie cutter. Carefully remove the cookie cutter to reveal the star stamp.
Set up your work area. Spread newspaper or kraft paper over your work table. Create a cardboard cutout to fit inside the T-shirt by tracing the T-shirt on cardboard and cutting it out. Place the cardboard cutout inside the shirt so the ink doesn’t bleed through to the back of the shirt.
Prep your materials. Fill a shallow bowl with water to rinse the potatoes. Squeeze the fabric paints onto a tray, and spread them out with the spatula or ink roller.
Stamp your shirt. Dip the potato stamp into the fabric paint, and then stamp your shirt. Use a different potato star for each color, or wash off the potatoes in between stamps to keep the colors true. If you like, show your child images of the Milky Way or constellations as inspiration—and then let them stamp away!
Set the fabric paint by following the manufacturer’s instructions (this usually means ironing).
Looking for more collaborative crafts you and your child can do? Learn how to make a giant snowflake or a child-drawn stuffed monster.
All photographs by Meredith Heuer. From Side by Side, by Tsia Carson, © 2012 by Tsia Carson. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, Boston, MA. www.roostbooks.com.