Dec 14, 2010

How To: Quick and Easy Hand-Printed Wrapping Paper

created at: 12/14/2010

I'm still keeping up with my handmade only Christmas gifts this year, which, if you ask me, means I also gotta create my own wrapping paper. I added a typographic punch to brown craft paper, and made a super fast hand drawn snowflake paper, but decided I needed a little color under my tree. Not wanting to spend a ton of time, I whipped up several sheets of mod hand-printed paper in under an hour. 

Here's how to do it:   Tools and Materials

  • Potato or sweet potato
  • Ball point pen or mechanical pencil
  • Carving tools, or an Xacto knife
  • Roll of solid color wrapping or craft paper
  • Block printing ink or acrylic paint
  • Rubber brayer, paint brush, or sponge brush
  • Small pane of glass, plastic, or a ceramic plate

created at: 12/14/2010

1. Begin by slicing your potato in half with a single straight, perpendicular cut. I like using sweet potatoes for this, as they have much less liquid to mix with the ink.

created at: 12/14/2010

2. Use a ball-point pen or the plastic tip of a mechanic pencil to draw a basic design. You can't go into too much details with a potato stamp, so pick something bold and geometric. You're not really putting ink into the potato so much as etching guide lines into it. If you mess up, just slice off the end of the potato and start over.

created at: 12/14/2010

3. Using the carving tools or the craft knife to carve away the negative space of your design, going down at least 1/4 - 3/8".

created at: 12/14/2010

4. Layout a length of the paper on a flat surface and tape down the edges. Squirt out a tablespoon or so of ink onto the glass or plate, and use the brayer or paintbrush to work it into a thin layer. Use the brayer to roll the ink onto the stamp, or apply with the paintbrush. Stamp onto the paper, pressing down firmly, but not allowing the stamp to slide around in the wet ink. 

You can reuse potato stamps to create multiple colors. Just rinse off the surface and pat dry on an old towel. Stored in a zip-top bag, they'll last a day or two in the fridge.

Happy printing!


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