Potato Printing

Today I'm experimenting with potato printing as a direct way to get a repeat straight on to fabric. Here are the bits and bobs I gathered to have a go:

  • potato
  • pen (one that you aren't too fond of!)
  • kitchen knife
  • craft knife
  • fabric paint
  • brush / sponge
  • fabric

I had some too old but beloved jeans that I'd been meaning to turn into a cute bag for ages, so I set about those with some scissors.

Potato cut into flower shape ready for relief printing

The fabric paint I used was dylon and it is a dye rather than a paint. I spread it on the cut surface of the potato with a brush, line it up over the fabric then press. I found rocking the potato a little helped to get the edges of the design printed. This dye soaks into the fibers and I really like the result with this combo.

Printing potato flower with blue ink onto jeans fabric

It looks even better when dry. I also managed to position the jeans pocket on the lining piece to be an internal bag pocket when I sewed it - YAY.

Bag made from upcycled fabric with blue flower print

After some good remarks about the blue flower jeans bag, I kind of got addicted to potato printing. The two-colour strawberry was achieved by cutting it all out from one piece then splitting them apart before inking. 

I got 4 tote bags out of a pair of pillow cases I was upcycling. My favourite is the basil leaves.

This technique is great for simple repeat motifs. I more or less designed straight on to the potato, putting a pen mark down just as a guide for the craft knife. Each instance that you print from the raised surface is slightly different. This and the texture of the print adds interest to the pattern. Do give it a try and let me know in the comments how you get on.