Inspired by our new exhibition East of India – Forgotten trade with Australia and the traditional art of block printing, we have created step by step instructions for you to make a ‘block print’ at home, using simple house-hold materials, like potatoes! A perfect activity for the upcoming school holidays.
Wooden block printing has a long tradition in India where a design is carved into a printing block, the surface of the block is placed in dye and then printed onto the cloth. We found a great video on Youtube that shows more of the detailed process involved.
Important note: This is a great activity for children, but please make sure an adult does all of the cutting work.
- Download and print potato print patterns (PDF 479 KB)
- Large potatoes
- Kitchen knife
- Sharp pencil
- Crafting blade
- Paint brush
For paper print
- Acrylic paint
- Thick art paper
For fabric print
- Acrylic fabric paint
- Cotton fabric
1. Cut out the patterned shapes provided on our downloadable pattern sheet (PDF 479 KB).
2. Cut your potatoes in half. Make sure the outside of the potato is clean!
3. On the flat cut side of the potato, place one of the cut out pattern shapes. Trace the shape onto the potato.
4. Using your crafting blade, cut around the pattern shape, removing the potato around the pattern. This will create your solid stamp pattern.
5. Lay your fabric or paper onto a flat surface. You might like to lay down some newspaper underneath and pop on a painting smock in case your paint gets a bit messy!
6. Using a paint brush, cover your potato stamp with a thin layer of paint. Carefully place your potato stamp onto the fabric or paper and press down firmly. Remove the stamp and repeat the process evenly across the fabric/paper to make a beautiful pattern.
- If you are printing with fabric paint, iron each side of the fabric for 15-30 seconds to colour-fast the paint.
- Don’t just stop at paper or pieces of fabric, why not stamp a fabric tote bag or pillow case?
- Get creative, use multiple colours and stamp patterns to make a unique pattern on your fabric
- You could make a lovely notebook using stamped paper as a cover like we have in the picture below.
We’d love to see your potato block print creations! Send photos to web [at] anmm.gov.au or tag us on Instagram @ANMMuseum.
If your children are into crafting, they might enjoy a Kids on Deck session at the museum, where learning through craft and games is the aim of the day. For the adults, this Sunday we have a Bandhani (Indian tie dye) workshop.