A child printmaking with a potato

Printmaking with children: Exploring patterns

Printmaking is a wonderful artistic technique that offers endless opportunities for your preschooler to explore her creativity, develop fine motor skills, and discover the beauty of textures and patterns. In this article, we will guide you through the exciting process of introducing printmaking to your child, using materials readily available at home. So, roll up your sleeves, gather some potatoes, and let’s embark on a colourful printing adventure together!

Getting started with printmaking

Before diving into the art of printmaking, let’s gather the necessary materials. Fortunately, you can easily find most of them at home. You’ll need:

  • Potatoes
  • Carving tools (such as blunt knives or cookie cutters)
  • Paper or cardstock
  • Water-based printing ink or poster paint
  • Paintbrushes or sponges for applying paint

Exploring printing ink and poster paint

When it comes to choosing between printing ink and poster paint, it’s important to understand the differences and consider their suitability for preschoolers. Printing ink typically offers a more intense colour and a smoother consistency, making it ideal for achieving crisp and clear prints. On the other hand, poster paint provides a more accessible option, as it is readily available, easy to use, and washable. While both mediums can produce vibrant prints, keep in mind that printing ink may require longer drying times.

Potato printing

Now, let’s dive into the exciting world of potato printing! This classic printmaking technique is perfect for preschoolers due to its simplicity and endless creative possibilities. Follow these steps to create your potato prints:


  • Select a medium-sized potato and slice it in half lengthwise to create a flat surface for carving.
  • Use a blunt knife or cookie cutter to carefully carve simple shapes or designs on the cut side of the potato.
  • Remove any excess potato flesh around the design to ensure a clean print.

Applying paint or ink

  • Dip a paintbrush or sponge into your chosen paint or ink and apply a thin, even layer to the carved surface of the potato.
  • Encourage your child to experiment with different colours, patterns, and combinations, exploring their own unique artistic expressions.

Making prints

  • Place a sheet of paper or cardstock on a flat surface.
  • Invite your preschooler to press the painted potato firmly onto the paper, applying even pressure to ensure a clear imprint.
  • Lift the potato carefully to reveal the printed design.

Exploring Creativity

  • Encourage your child to experiment with different shapes, sizes, and orientations of the potato prints.
  • Discuss the prints together, celebrating their vibrant colours and unique patterns.
  • Prompt your child to reflect on their choices and ask open-ended questions, such as “What do you like about this print?” or “How could you create different effects with the prints?”

Beyond potatoes: Other printing materials

While potato printing is a fantastic starting point, there’s a whole world of materials to explore in printmaking. Encourage your preschooler to experiment with other items, such as leaves, sponges, foam shapes, or found objects with interesting textures. These materials can be dipped in paint or ink and pressed onto paper to create intriguing patterns and textures. Encourage your child’s imagination to soar as they discover new and exciting ways to make beautiful prints.

Tips for successful printmaking

To ensure a successful printmaking experience, consider these practical tips:

  • Encourage your child to apply even pressure when making prints to achieve clear imprints.
  • Experiment with different types of paper or cardstock to observe how they interact with the paint or ink.
  • Allow prints to dry completely before handling or layering them to avoid smudging.
  • Embrace the imperfections and celebrate the unique qualities of each print.
  • Remember, the process is just as important as the final result. Encourage your child to enjoy the exploration and creative journey.

Displaying and Celebrating Artwork

It’s important to value and celebrate your preschooler’s printmaking creations. Consider displaying their prints by creating a gallery wall in their room or dedicating a space for rotating displays of their artwork. Encourage your child to give their prints as personalized cards or bookmarks to friends and family, showcasing their artistic skills and creating meaningful gifts. You can even organize a mini exhibition at home, inviting loved ones to admire and celebrate your preschooler’s masterpieces.

Final word

Introducing printmaking to your preschooler opens up a world of artistic exploration and creativity. Through simple techniques like potato printing and experimenting with various materials, colours, and patterns, your child can develop fine motor skills, critical thinking, and self-expression. Embrace the messiness, encourage their imagination, and watch their confidence blossom as they create vibrant prints that celebrate their unique artistic voices. So, grab those potatoes, unleash the colours, and let your preschooler’s creativity shine through the captivating art of printmaking!

Remember, the joy is not just in the final prints but in the process of discovery, learning, and bonding with your child as you embark on this artistic journey together. Happy printing, and enjoy the colourful adventure that awaits you!