Learn how to make simple relief prints using vegetables (and fruits). This printing technique is simple enough for very young children, while being versatile enough for older children and adults. The project features the classic potato print, as well as vegetables and fruits that are a bit less traditional in printing.
Relief Printing: A raised surface covered with paint or ink is used to make relief prints. Many types of printing fall in the category of relief printing, with woodcuts and linoleum block printing being the best known. (Intaglio is the other major category of printing.) Rubber stamps and other kinds of stamps are also examples of relief printing. See these related craft projects for more relief printing: Sponge Stamps and Art and Repeat Cards featuring rubberstamps.
If you plan to do vegetable and fruit printing with a group of children, be sure to have a potato and paper for each child. Other tools and materials can be shared.
Cut sheets of construction paper to 9" by 6" pieces—half of a 9" by 12" sheet or a quarter of a 12" by 18" sheet. All colors of construction paper work well.
Pre-cut the vegetables and fruits for very small children.
Cut a potato in half and cut a design into the flat surface. (Other firm vegetables also work well — turnip, jicama, sweet potato.) Kids, get help using the knife!
Start with something simple like a few straight lines. Use the paring knife to cut a V-shaped trench for each line.
Another option is to press a cookie cutter into the potato. Use the knife to cut the potato away from around the cookie cutter.For more detailed designs,:
Cut a vegetable or fruit to reveal an interesting shape or texture.
Make your own sponge stamp pad. Dampen an unused sponge and squeeze out any excess water. Place the sponge on a piece of wax paper or aluminum foil, or place it on a large plastic lid. Brush paint on the sponge, saturating it with paint. Use this sponge stamp pad like a regular stamp pad. Brush on more paint as needed. When done with the pad, wash it out with water and a little liquid soap. Let it dry and use it again the next time you do vegetable printing.
Press the cut potato on the sponge stamp pad. Try to get an even coating of paint.
Press the potato on paper, using even pressure. Hold the paper down as you lift the potato from the paper. You can use the potato two or more times before reloading with paint.
That's it! Now your print is