In this Junior Artists at Home, we look at Elizabeth Catlett’s linocut Sharecropper and learn about printmaking. Then we make our own print from a potato! With a grown-up’s help and using other materials commonly found in the home, you can make as many shapes as you want to create your beautiful stamped picture. Follow along with the video and download the art-making instructions or read them below. Have fun!



You will need:

  • a potato and a grown-up who can cut the potato in half for you
  • a butter knife and a spoon
  • acrylic or tempera paint, and a paintbrush
  • blank paper
  • paper towels or a dish towel
  • a marker

Step 1

various items laid out on table; objects include knife, marker, paintbrush, potato, spoon, and tube of paint
Gather all your materials.

Step 2

knife slicing potato in half
Ask a grown-up to cut your potato in half for you. Choose one of the potato halves for your print, and dab the cut side with a paper towel to keep it dry.

Step 3

heart drawn on cut side of potato
Use a marker to draw the outline of the shape or pattern you plan to carve. This will help guide you once you begin to carve your potato! A single shape like a heart or a star works the best.

Step 4

potato bits in bowl, shaved from adjacent potato
Using your butter knife, carve a little outline around your shape. Take your time, and be careful with the knife. This is your guide for when you are scooping around your shape.​​​
Then, use your spoon to scoop out chunks outside the edge of the shape. Be careful—the potato can be hard and juicy. Use your towel to dab away the juice. Ask a grown-up to help with this part if you’d like!

Step 5

potato half with parts carved off around drawn heart
Keep going until your shape or pattern is raised and the rest of the potato around it has been carved away. Dab your potato shape with a paper towel until it is dry.

Step 6

pink paint applied to surface of carved out heart on potato half
Now put a dot of paint on the raised shape or pattern and then use your paintbrush to spread the paint evenly.

Step 7

potato pressed firmly onto paper surface
Keeping the potato flat, press it firmly onto your blank piece of paper, hold it there for a moment, then carefully lift it up to reveal your stamped picture! Fill in any missing spots by painting directly onto the paper.

Step 8

numerous heart prints on paper, with potato heart stamp adjacent
Reapply the paint to your potato and stamp in another place on the paper. Continue to stamp as much as you like. Remember to add the paint to your potato each time. Try a different color!

Step 9

close-up of heart prints on paper
You can make another shape with your other potato half and make a beautiful stamped picture!


Support provided by Norman and Heewon Cerk.

Art Activity Instructions

Download and print out the instructions to follow along at home.