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Potato Print Artwork DIY

We are in a little bit of a funny spot since our home in Paris is somewhat temporary. I don’t really want to spend a lot on artwork or even framing since we’ll just be here for a year. Most of our budget is going towards practical things so art has gone to the bottom of the spending list. But we still want something to grace all our large blank white walls. I came up with a few projects I’ll be sharing in the next week or two on how to make art and frame it for cheap.

First up is this potato print artwork. I tried this technique first on a small piece of paper and I liked the result so then I made three large versions. It turned out so happy and colorful, it completely transformed the room. This project did take some time but was very affordable to make.

 

Materials: 5 potatoes, acrylic paints in rainbow colors, black, white, and fluorescents, paper cups, cheap brushes for mixing paints, plastic plates for mixing paints, ruler, pencil, large pieces of paper (however big you want your artwork.)

Step One: Using your ruler and pencil place little marks where you are going to stamp your potato. I did mine about 2″ apart.

Step Two: Mix paint. To get the greatest variety of colors mix your paint yourself in your paper cups. (Not to mention they come out so much prettier when they aren’t right from the tube.) Pull out your color wheel from elementary school and make darks and lights in the palate you want by adding whites or blacks or complementary colors. Be sure to add a little water so the paint is a nice consistency not too thick (and not too watery either.) I had about 18 colors in my palate 11 were bright and the other 7 were neutrals. One tip: If you are going for a colorful end result remember you need the neutrals in the artwork to make the brights really pop.

Step Three: Cut one or two of the potatoes in half and cut out a 3/4″ circle with a knife. You’ll want a few potato stamps so you can print with a few colors at the same time.

Step Four: Printing with one color at a time place the paint on the plate so you can stamp the potato in it. Then start to stamp randomly throughout the print.  I kept a scratch paper nearby to test it when the stamp has too much ink. I had to erase the little pencil marks as I went and I started with 11-13 dots then went back and filled them in if I needed more of that color. It isn’t important that the stamping is perfect. Mine were a little sloppy but as long as I got in the vicinity of my pencil marking it still came out great. Continue stamping with all the colors until it is all filled out. Et voila! Your artwork is done.

Notes: Its important to do all in one sitting because your paints will dry out and your potatoes will get moldy. The painting part took 3-4 hours so get someone to help do the stamping to make it go quicker.

Framing: For framing we spent $6 on small metal studio clips and $30 on thin plexiglass from a Home Depot type store (they cut it to our specifications.) Then we backed it with some thick chip board, and then bound it with the studio clips. We were able to frame all three large pieces for about $35.

 

all photos by Oh Happy Day

  1. kelly : pinetothepacific

    June 30, 2011

    genius, as usual! this looks FANTASTIC.

  2. Laura

    June 30, 2011

    Wow! I’ll have to try that as a joint project with my daughter. Thanks for the tip!

  3. birdie to be

    June 30, 2011

    OMG I love love love this! I would love to try this!

  4. Sarah H

    June 30, 2011

    I love it! I think I actually like the unfinished version at the bottom more than every slot filled in. Very nice!

  5. Izabella Dennis

    June 30, 2011

    This is fabulous!!! Who would have thought it was potatoes! I may have to try this at home …

  6. Kristin

    June 30, 2011

    This is so awesome! I love it.

  7. Kristin

    June 30, 2011

    What kind of paper did you use? It looks so white and I’ve had trouble finding big paper where it didn’t have a little yellow tint. Can’t wait to try this.

  8. denese

    June 30, 2011

    amazing! I love it, and, I love what looks to be your cheery coral Mango dress. Upon seeing your post not long ago, I visited the site and bought that very frock!!

    cheers!!

    best – d.

  9. Caroline

    June 30, 2011

    You are so clever. This is a great idea. We used to make wrapping paper this way as kids- but I love this grown up version!

  10. Emily

    June 30, 2011

  11. Khali

    June 30, 2011

    Brilliant!

  12. Nicole

    June 30, 2011

    This is so fun I can’t even take it. I have a couple empty walls that are just crying out for colorful artwork like this! And thanks for the tip about neutrals and bright colors, I really would not have figured that out myself!

  13. Sharon

    June 30, 2011

    so awesome

  14. kaela

    June 30, 2011

    wow those look so cute and i love that they are inexpensive! not sure where to get studio clips, chip board, or the big white paper since i live in the middle of the city (denver)…not anywhere near a home depot type store….but if i can figure it out i will certainly try this out!! looks great in your house!

  15. Kacie

    June 30, 2011

    What a brilliant idea! Love it. Thanks for the inspiration. I think I may try this for our guest room!

    Thanks.

    Kacie
    http://www.acollectionofpassions.blogspot.com/

  16. caz

    June 30, 2011

    wow! fantastic.. it’s always hard to find cheap ways to decorate walls when renting and travelling… this would be cool even without the framing I think..

    Thanks for the great idea!

  17. Brittany

    June 30, 2011

    How fun! What a great idea!

  18. Emily

    June 30, 2011

    Fun! I’m going to check into the HD plexiglass thing. :)

  19. kl

    June 30, 2011

    Very clever! Who’d have thought? Love it to bits!

  20. Andrea@FancyThat!

    June 30, 2011

    Fun! I love diy artwork–custom, personal, and cheap. All happy words.

  21. jordan

    June 30, 2011

    jordan

    @EMILY I know picture or framing stores usually have plexiglas onhand too.

    @KRISTIN My sister had the paper and she gave me some. I’m not sure on the brand.

  22. Sarah Robertson

    June 30, 2011

    I love love love it. If you sell (or make more) I will buy.

  23. Kate

    June 30, 2011

    LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! Your keen eye for color is what makes this so beautiful.

  24. Mariela

    June 30, 2011

    Love it!, great idea. Very colorful and fun.

  25. Katie

    June 30, 2011

    I love this! This would be awesome for pretty much any room in the house and it can be so easily personalized.

  26. stephanie

    June 30, 2011

    you are so inspirational! one of my favorite blogs by far.

  27. This Good Life

    June 30, 2011

    Astonishingly simple yet effective in its beauty!

    – And a lovely blog to boot! :)

    All the best,
    This Good Life

  28. Erin

    June 30, 2011

    Ohhh my geesh! I just love this! It is the perfect colorful/crafty/summery/practicle/(and perhaps most importantly) HAPPY solution to ANY space! It looks beautiful :)

  29. ainsley

    June 30, 2011

    what a super fun project! i love this! and the outcome…

  30. LuLu

    June 30, 2011

    OMGEEE!!! I just love this idea. Even when reading it I wanted to go out and buy all the materials to give it a try! My sister is also obsessed with DIY artwork so I of course forwarded it along to her as well!

    http://www.ACandidLife.blogspot.com

  31. Penelope@thirdroomstudio

    June 30, 2011

    CUTE idea!

  32. rebekkah

    July 1, 2011

    this is so cute and inspiring! thank you!

    xx

    http://lifeishappymostofthetime.blogspot.com/

  33. Michelle

    July 1, 2011

    These look great – good idea. Always tricky when your living somewhere temporarily to make it look great for as little as possible but looks like your doing a great job..

  34. Anna

    July 1, 2011

    You mention ersaing the pencil marks. You mean you did that before stamping (but how do you know where to stamp then…) or after (doens’t that make the paint bleed?)?

    The result is amazig. i wonder what it would be like to use tints onf one colour… would be great in our living room!

  35. right toys

    July 1, 2011

    Toys make a child happy and active. When a toy is there, perhaps a kid will not ask for anything else. One has to remember that a kid has world of imagination to live in, and toys give access to that land of imagination, constructed with joy. That’s what a toy mean to a kid. One can make a trip to http://www.righttoys.in/products.asp?brand=160 for further details.

  36. Bri (like the cheese)

    July 1, 2011

    Oh, I really like it with some empty spots (bottom left picture) too!

  37. Vicki Archer

    July 1, 2011

    This is os clever and looks brilliant….Have a happy weekend…xv

  38. Rebecca

    July 1, 2011

    What a great idea, and it looks SO fun! :)

  39. My Traveling Troop

    July 1, 2011

    Beautiful! Love how the colors pop off the white walls and paper!

  40. Libby K

    July 1, 2011

    Wowza. That is so pretty. I kind of love it.

  41. April Cole

    July 1, 2011

    FANTASTIC!
    Very creative… love it :]

  42. Meg

    July 1, 2011

    This is so lovely. Love the colors! And your dress in the first shots!
    Hooay for polka dots!

  43. Nicole

    July 1, 2011

    Wow, thankyou so much for this cheap framing idea!

  44. sherri

    July 1, 2011

    This art work makes me smile!

  45. Claudia

    July 2, 2011

    Love it!!! I’ve done something similar with a wine cork or a cork stopper from Belgian beers.

  46. Ingrid Jansen

    July 2, 2011

    Oh happy DOTS!

  47. Zoe

    July 2, 2011

    I love this so much I have been thinking about it all day.

  48. Sonia

    July 2, 2011

    Love it! I did something like that using potatoes to my typography class, it was super funny. Love how it turns out, you can’t imagine it was done using potatoes!
    Kisses!

  49. Madeline

    July 2, 2011

    I saw your first few pictures, and then continued to read on only to be blown away that you did that artwork yourself! Love that you created it…thanks for sharing the inspiration!

  50. nathalie van volsom

    July 3, 2011

    Bonjour,
    Je viens de découvrir votre blog et j’adore, c’est une magnifique source d’inspiration.
    Je reviendrais souvent vous rendre visite !!!
    Pour ce qui est des pommes de terre, j’ai déjà fait des ateliers de ce type avec les enfants, c’est super …il faudrait moi aussi que je mette les photos sur mon blog.
    Je suis plasticienne et intègre aussi beaucoup dans mon travail l’éco-design….
    je vous invite aussi à découvrir mon blog qui est en refonte…

    http://nathalievanvolsom.blogspot.com/

    nathalie

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