Potato stamps to the rescue.

Potato stamping was by far my favourite activity in preschool, I always loved the ingenuity of the idea – how something pretty can be brought to existence from almost nothing.


I know, I know, Christmas is over. What to do, however, if the photos from the impromptu Christmas card making are way too adorable to leave them hanging for another year? Share them, obviously.
So here’s the story.

I found myself in Poland, in my parents’ house in fact, living here (to be precise), after quite a few years of absence. Poland has changed a lot since
I last lived here, and to be frank, moving here from the UK was not the easiest of transitions. Experiencing something of a culture shock in one’s (supposedly) own country is a hell of an experience, let me tell you that. Having lived abroad for over six years allowed me to see Poland from a different angle, and experience it in a way a newcomer probably would.

On the other hand though, growing up here has profoundly influenced how I feel about Poland. Coming back resulted in my memory working on the double speed, producing memories of events, people, flavours and smells that have been long forgotten and pushed into dark corners of my consciousness. Every day brings back a moment from the past: everything around me seems to be inducing Proustian-like madeleine moments, when memory comes alive and I suddenly remember things, as if they happened yesterday.

The idea of making Christmas cards at home came to me one night, when I remembered one of many DIY crafts I learned when in preschool. Potato stamping was by far my favourite activity, I always loved the ingenuity of the idea – how something pretty can be brought to existence from almost nothing. And so I called Klaudik, asked if she’d be up for a trip down the memory lane, and that’s how these pretty little cards were created. We settled in my parents’ kitchen, with a mug of tea each, snow outside, Christmas around the corner – and got to work. We worked all day, restlessly, oblivious to the passing of time. Before we knew it, it was late afternoon, and the kitchen floor was covered with cards and gift tags.

POTATO STAMPED CHRISTMAS CARDS

You will need
3-4 potatoes
colourful paints (preferably tempera paints)
small paintbrush
cardboard or thick paper
cookie cutters or small, sharp knife (to cut out the shapes)

HOW TO MAKE?
1. Start from cutting out the shapes of the cards. Any shape is fine (obviously), bear in mind though that if you’re sending them, you’ll need an envelope. Envelopes come in set sizes, so you might want to take that under consideration when cutting out the cards. Use up the leftover paper to cut out gift tags.
2. Prepare the stamps. Wash and dry the potatoes, do not peel them. Cut off one side of the potato, and then try to cut out the desired shape. You can also use a cookie cutter to do so. Leave the other side of potato untouched, in will come in handy when stamping (you’ll be able to hold your potato stamp comfortably).
3. Prepare your paints. You can either use a paintbrush to apply the paint onto stamps, or you can dip the stamp in the paint directly. If so, you might want to add a bit of water to the paint, to make it less dense.
4. Stamp the cards. Press the potato stamp with paint onto the card firmly, and lift up quickly, without smudging. Set aside to dry. To make the penguins, stamp a black oval and let dry. When dry, stamp a smaller oval shape onto the dried black one (that’ll be penguin’s belly). When dried, paint penguin’s legs, eye and beak.
5. When cards are dry, you can either write the wishes on the front or leave them without. It’s all up to your imagination!

Have fun,
aho

  1. Thanks for the memory. I had almost forgotten about all those potato stamped cards, but also art projects at school I created (like 60 years ago).
    A return to my native Hamburg is possible, especially if the future holds a second term of our Dear Leader. I notice differences, things better or worse than they are in the US, every time I visit. A remigration would definitely need some adjustments.
    Happy New Year!

    Reply

  2. Absolutely gorgeous and brilliant! I made these as a child for family members around Christmas time. What fun memories. Love the well-written post, beautiful photos and short video. Btw remember Squeeze as well. Fortunate to see them warming up for the Police at Madison Square Garden when most hadn’t discovered these bands. Happy, healthy New Year!

    Reply

  3. I love this! I had every intention of stamping my own wrapping paper like this for Christmas but I never got round to it! Maybe next year xx

    Reply

  4. I remember those! What fun!

    Reply

  5. What fun! Wish I could have been there to help!

    Reply

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