Saturday, September 10, 2011

Potato Printing Is Addicting!

I seriously want to potato print everything now! It's amazing what you can do with a 59¢ giant russet! The design possibilities are unlimited! Okay I'll stop using exclamation points now.

Here's how I made my potato print fabrics.

1. Get a potato. Also come up with some tentative designs.

2. Cut the potato in half. Sketch your design onto the cut end with a pen (I used a rollerball ink pen to get it to show up on the juicy potato).
Note where I started drawing the ear, then decided that was too low.

3. Humiliate your expensive knives still further by using them to carve around your shape. (Oh, the continued ignominy!) I found it easiest to cut around the shape, then insert my knife into the potato at a quarter inch depth or so, and use it as a second class lever (the potato edge being the fulcrum) to fling potato pieces off. I though briefly about using goggles after I squirted myself in the eye with potato juice (I tell you, these were exceedingly juicy potatoes!), but decided that it's not like it's hydrochloric acid or anything. Although I guess potatoes do contain relatively large amounts of catalase.
I just used my fingernail to gouge out the stripes.
Here's my other stamp.

4.Test your potatoes out by stamping them on paper a couple times.
It took a couple of tries to get my ink spread evenly. Then it turned out not to matter since I liked the variance in texture.
5. Set up your printing station. I used an old plastic cutting board and a Speedball rubber brayer to spread out and apply the Tulip brand Matte Soft Fabric Paint in ebony. Since the fabric I was printing was pretty thin, I put wrapping paper underneath to protect my table.
Also pictured: laptop to play music and East of Eden as...inspiration?

6. Stamp away! Besides using the potatoes, I also used the non-writing end of a pen to add clusters of dots to one of my fabrics.

Here are the potatoes post-printing. I wrapped them in cling film and put them in the fridge to see if I can maybe squeeze another use out of them. No idea how they'll hold up, though.

I hung up the fabrics to dry. They need to wait 72 hours before laundering, but they don't require any heat-setting with an iron or anything. I kind of want to iron them anyway, just to be sure. Then I'll hem the edges and turn them into lovely gauzy hipster scarves. You know, the pretentious kind where you're wearing a t-shirt and sandals but also a scarf. Also giant hipster glasses. 
Every time I look at my fabric it makes me so happy! Cats everywhere! In other news, my sewing machine seems to have rebelled and started wonking up the tension on everything, so it looks like I need to take it in for a check-up. Boo. I guess it's time to start cutting everything in preparation for having it back.

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