It may seem hard to believe that an ordinary bag of potatoes could easily become a decorative table topper or gift for a child, but the spuds, with their varied shapes, sizes and colours, make a blank canvas for any good imagination. Using simple craft items such as felt, toothpicks, buttons, paint, yarn and straight pins, you can transform these ordinary veggies into whimsical decorations and toys for any season or occasion.
Decide how your potatoes will be decorated. Popular decorated potato projects include potato animals, potato nativity scenes and Christmas trees, Easter egg potatoes, jack-o-lantern potatoes, birthday party potatoes and potato dolls. For this tutorial, we will be using the potato doll theme.
Gather your materials. If you'll be making potato dolls, you will need more than one potato, a generous amount of toothpicks, straight pins and yarn.
Choose one large potato to use for a body, then cut another potato into large, 1- to 2-inch chunks to use for a head, hands and feet.
Push a toothpick into the centre of one of the potato chunks. Drive the other end of the toothpick into the long end of your whole potato. This will be the potato doll's head.
Use smaller potato chunks for the doll's hands and feet, and secure them to the large potato with toothpicks.
Add eyes to your doll. Using two straight pins, push the pins into the "face" of the potato until the pin disappears and only the plastic ball remains on the surface of the potato. You may need to cut the pin with wire cutters if it pushes out the other side of the potato.
Paint a mouth under the eyes, using a thin paint brush and red craft paint. Use black paint to create an L-shaped nose.
Secure yarn to the top of the potato's head with craft glue. For longer hair, glue only the top 2cm of the yarn and let the rest of the yarn hang.
Cut felt to make a diaper or clothing. For a diaper, cut white felt into an hourglass shape, large enough to fit around the bottom of the potato. Apply a thin layer of glue to the felt. Fit the diaper between the potato's legs, and secure the felt to the potato. Overlap the side flaps, and glue them together.
Potatoes can be decorated into more than just dolls. You can make entire farmyard scenes by transforming the veggies into animals. You can also fasten an assortment or glittery buttons and tinsel to the potato to make a Christmas tree.
Potato projects are great for kids, but watch the children carefully while they're working with pins, hot glue or scissors. Decorated potatoes won't last longer than a week or so. Be sure to check often for rotting.