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