Make Potato Print Party Invitations

Having a party? Grab a potato and start stamping. Your friends will ooh and aah over your hand-printed invites.

Throwing a bash starts with getting people to show up and you can't do that without an invitation. Letting your guests-to-be know all about your party is almost as important as feeding their hungry appetites for food and laughter. Set the pace for your celebration by sending out unique, handmade invitations. A one-of-a-kind welcome will give your friends a taste of the festivities to come.

Before you get started, you'll also need to organize your ideas. List the details of your party: the occasion, date, time and place, as well as how, when and who to respond to. Having an RSVP will help you to gauge who will be showing and how many people to plan for. Pertinent information like what to bring, whether children are welcome or any other details should also be included. Either pre-print this information on your computer's printer or save it to fill in after the hand-printing is complete.

Have a good idea of what type of celebration you will be throwing. This will help you to convey a mood through your invitation and help your guests decide what to wear. Your theme will determine your paper, paints and colors for the project. It will also bring inspiration for your potato print.

With all of that in order, you're ready to start printing. What you'll need: paper, potatoes, a sharp knife and acrylic or watercolor paints. Choose a rigid paper. Card stock, parchment and brown wrapping paper work well, but use your imagination""you can get pretty creative. Paper grocery bags, index cards, construction paper or even fabric are just a few ideas. Cut your paper into invitation-sized pieces. 5.5" x 4.25" is a good size because office suppliers usually stock envelopes that size.

Any potato will do, but it should be large enough that you can safely carve, while small enough that you can hold it comfortably. Simple shapes that require little detail work best for this project. Daisies, leaves, balloons, hearts, trees, gourds or stars are good shapes to use or practice with. Cut the potato in half and transfer an outline of your shape to the potato.

Use your knife to carefully carve the outline. Cut away all the potato that you don't want to touch the paper. For example, if you'd like a cutout look, carve out the inside of the shape. If you want a block effect, carve around the shape. It's important that you don't make any cuts that you don't want. You won't be able to put back cut potato and starting from scratch is always frustrating. For larger projects, consider carving more than one stamp. This saves you the time and trouble of making a new one during the printing process.

Dip the carved potato stamp in the paint, but be sure not to use too much paint. It's a great idea to keep cheesecloth or paper towels nearby to blot the stamp. You can also give your print texture by using this technique. Try burlap, terrycloth, plastic wrap, a sea sponge or any number of other textures to create depth. Now line up your cards and start printing!

It won't be long before your invitation project is complete and they are on their way to your guests' mailboxes. Remember to send them out at least a month in advance to give everyone time to set their schedules and RSVP. You'll know when they've been delivered because everyone will be calling to ask where you had them made. Imagine the surprise when you announce that you hand-printed them yourself!

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