Hands On: Stamp It Up

Story and photos by Leslie Tucker

What better way for your child to show appreciation for the holidays gifts he or she received than with a handmade thank you card? This fun and easy art project lets your child create a custom stamp to decorate those thank you notes, for an extra personal touch.

Once you get the hang of making one stamp, you and your child can get creative:

• Make multiple designs on more pieces of potato and combine potato ‘stamps’ on one piece of paper.

• Use wedge pieces of potato to print additional shapes on your card.

• Create a border potato stamp by cutting a potato in quarters and make a design to go around the edge of your paper.

• Use multiple colors on one stamp or on one card.

• To make hand-printed wrapping paper simply stamp in all directions, filling a large piece of craft paper with your design.

• Instead of a note card, use cardstock to make bookmarks.

Materials

Cutting board

Sharp metal knife (for adult use only)

Potatoes

Pencil

Plastic knife with a serrated edge

Paintbrushes

Washable tempera paint

Scrap paper

Assorted pieces of cardstock

Instructions

1. Have a grown-up use a sharp metal knife and cutting board to cut a potato in half. Use a pencil to draw or indent a design onto the flat area of the potato. Use a knife (plastic for a child) to cut around the lines, pushing down and then at an angle to carefully remove areas of the potato that are not part of the design.

2. After you have created an indent in the potato approximately -inch deep around your design, test how your potato will print on a piece of scrap paper. Using a paintbrush, paint the flat area of the potato and press with even pressure on a scrap piece of paper. If your design does not print clearly, work on cutting a cleaner edge around your design.

3. Choose a piece of cardstock to make your first print. Load a paintbrush with a contrasting color of washable tempera, and paint the flat area of your design. Stamp your potato on your card stock, taking care not to let the potato slide around and smear the paint. To clean paint off of potatoes, simply wash with water and dry with a paper towel. Repeat!

Leslie Tucker is a teaching artist at Vibe. Founded in 2007 by local musician and parent, Laura Streib, Vibe is a visual arts and music educational nonprofit aimed at making the arts accessible to all. Vibe offers programming at schools, studio classes, workshops, and events for ages preschool through adult, and summer camps for preschool through high school age artists and musicians. More info about Vibe can be found at vibepdx.org or vibestudio.org.

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