Sunday, 13 November 2011

Christmas Craft Part 1: Potato Printed Wrapping Paper

Every year at Christmas time I feel the urge to get crafty and I dream up a long and unachievable list of handmade and DIY projects. Having kids makes the urge even greater as I attempt to relive happy kids craft memories with my daughter, who is not always as cooperative as I might like.

Last Christmas was memorable for its handmade failures. There was the gingerbread house that collapsed within 12 hours due to the humidity, the gingerbread men that suffered a similar fate and started shedding limbs, and salt dough decorations that took forever to dry out and then went soggy and fell from the tree (leaving their ribbons behind). The most memorable disaster occurred when we were gathered at the dinner table and started pulling the handmade crackers. We were expecting to find a candy cane and hand written joke in each so it was quite a surprise when a small army of sugar ants came flying out!

This year I had grand delusions of making all gifts handmade, but luckily remembered just in time that a mother of three kids under four might not have a load of time on her hands. So instead I'm going to try and keep it simple, tasteful, and ant-free!

Potato Printed Wrapping Paper
Equipment: potatoes, cookie cutters, sharp knife, roll of craft paper or brown paper (we used a roll of craft paper from Ikea), kid's acrylic paints, plastic lids.

Press potato haves down onto cookie cutter until the cutter is about 1cm deep, or as far as you can go before it cuts through the other side of the potato. With the cookie cutter still in the potato, use a sharp knife to cut away the centimentre outside the cutter.

We chose just two colors, warm yellow and red, and used plastic lids from baby formula tins (of which we have hundreds) as paint dishes.

Red stars. I was happy with how these turned out, and with the streaky effect I got as a result of doing it on the timber outdoor table.

I think the squirrels are my favourite even though it is not very Christmassy, especially here in the southern hemisphere.

The last time I tried potato printing was 2 years ago...Nina was 20 months old and more interested in covering her body with paint. I thought she would be better suited for the task this time around, but she preferred mixing all the paints together and using a paint brush to create a giant splodge on the paper. She lost interest in about 5 minutes, and I was left wondering why I bother. She is so creative and loves craft but I just can't get her to follow my instructions on tasks like this. Maybe I am expecting too much from a 3 year old, or maybe the designer in me is containing the artist in her? Anyone have any good tips for engaging toddlers in these kind of activities?

Stay tuned for Christmas Craft Part 2: Cotton Braid for Wrapping Gifts.


  1. Oh I love the squirrels too. I'm by-passing hand made wrapping as I've already received my wrapping paper co order!

  2. I have never seen such professional-looking potato stamps! Wow! I'm impressed. But also, where oh where did you get a squirrel cookie cutter? So cute.

  3. The squirrel comes from a set of Ikea cookie cutters which also included a hedgehog and a very large moose, they are a little weird but the squirrel is cute.


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