Before we start this ‘how to’ guide on how to create your own handmade, printed wrapping paper, I wanted to introduce myself as I take over Evermore’s journal this week. I am a British printmaker based in East Sussex and my main style of working is block printing. My designs are translated into wallpaper, fabric and homewares which I sell on mollymahon.com.
I will be guiding you through a simple technique of potato printing, which can be used for decorating wrapping paper, cards and gift tags, all with the help of a simple potato and some paint.
You will need:
- A plain roll of paper, any colour you like – you can use newspaper for this too
- A knife, cutting tool and/or biscuit cutter
- A paint brush
- Paint – any sample pots or poster paints work well
- A large trusty spud
Let’s get started:
Start by cutting your potato in half lengthways to create a nice flat surface. Using a pencil, draw lightly the shape you want to cut – I find simple shapes create the most striking wrapping paper. Cut away the excess potato, leaving the area you want to print raised.
Load up your paintbrush:
Paint a nice thick layer of paint onto you potato and press it down firmly onto your paper (I would always recommend trying out your design on a scrap of paper first). Each time you make a print, make sure to load your potato with more paint otherwise some will come out much stronger than others and you might find that your shape doesn’t look as you intended it to on the page.
Look at the negative space:
When printing onto the page, make sure you are looking at the negative space (the bits of the paper you aren’t adding the print to) as you will find that patterns will emerge there too and you can then make your printed paper a little more uniform if you want to.
Add another colour and shape:
If you want to, this is the time where you can add a second colour to your print by introducing a new shape. Here, I’ve used a small round biscuit cutter to create a circle which I have added to the negative space of the diamond shape. Remember to keep adding paint to your potato after every press to the paper.
A pattern should now have formed:
By now, you should have a beautiful repeating print on the page taking shape. Don’t worry if some of the prints don’t come out as a full print of colour – the potato adds a nice bit of texture to the design and personally, I think these types of prints look so much better when they’re not ‘perfect’. Once you’ve finished, leave to dry on a flat surface.
The finished product:
You now you have beautiful hand printed wrapping paper to wrap your gifts in. This is a lovely way to recycle old paper, be more environmentally friendly with your wrapping and also adds that extra special touch under the tree.
Good luck and thanks for reading – Molly x
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