In October, my DIY Christmas gift ideas sound something like this:
"hand-whittled figurines in the likeness of the recipient, king size quilts and knit scarves made from the thinnest yarn available (dental floss, perhaps?)"
By December, my thoughts turn to:
"What DIY gift idea can I crank out 20 of in less than two hours that will still make each recipient feel like my blood, sweat and creativity was poured into it? Oh, and I've inevitably indulged in a little Black Friday "self care," so it needs to cost like a dollar per item."
Well, those budget-friendly, lickity-split, love-imbued DIY Christmas gift ideas don't come around all the time. (Take it from a girl who spends most Christmas Eves working on the not-so-speedy DIY gift that still isn't finished.)
But today, all that changes! This potato stamp project is fast, inexpensive and fun to do with kids. These towels make perfect DIY Christmas gift idea for teachers, neighbors or co-workers. (In fact, I brought one to a party as a hostess gift this weekend.)
Make a bunch at one time for a little over a dollar each. (I dare you to find a decent Christmas gift that costs less!)
Mo, my recently appointed 3-year-old, and I did this project together. She LOVED it. But as someone who values a hands-off approach to creating with kids, I want to warn you that getting a tea towel to appear like it does in these photos with a 3-year-old will probably take some parental "encouragement." I opted to just let her create her own version, which you can see at the end of the post.
I think kids that are five and older will probably be more likely to create something a little closer to the photos (but as always, please let my photos inspire you, not limit you!)
DIY POTATO STAMP TEA TOWEL SUPPLIES
plain towel (our are from IKEA and they cost $0.79 each. Win!)
green + red fabric paint
sharp knife (if you're a kid, please make sure your grown-up does the steps that involve a knife)
1. Cut your potatoes in half the long way. Cut a triangle into the top ½ inch of the potato. Carefully cut around the edge of the potato about a ½ inch down, leaving the triangle "stamp" surface behind.
2. Repeat for a few different sized trees. We created four trees and one imperfect star. (After I took this picture, I realized it would be easier to align the trees if the bottom part of the potato was cut off. I recommend trimming the excess potato on the bottom and even the top so that you can see where you're stamping a little better.)
3. While you set up the rest of your supplies, let your potatoes hang out wet side down on a few paper towels. This will dry out any extra moisture on the potato stamp surface.
4. Cover your work area with newspaper or a paper towel in case you paint seeps through. Using a paintbrush, apply paint to a potato stamp tree and press it evenly onto the towel.
5. Repeat as many times as you'd like and then add a star or any other extra jolly you choose.
Now make like 12 more in the next 15 minutes. Then go plop down on the couch with a plate of cookies and a glass of eggnog and celebrate getting your DIY Christmas gifts done faster than you can say "please don't make me go to the mall."
Snazzy blog photos can make it look like some people are doing it all (effortlessly!) while others of us (me!) are barely holding it together. So whenever I can, I like to introduce a little reality check in the form of a very un-Pinterest-worthy detail from my perfectly imperfect real life.
My hope is that it's a helpful reminder to anyone reading that NO ONE is doing it all perfectly.
My intention with this project was to spend some quality time with my daughter and produce the outcome you saw pictured above. She had some different, much more "hands on" ideas. When I saw that we weren't going to anywhere near the tidy forrest of towel trees I had pictured in my head, I just let her create her vision.
But she was just getting started. The true masterpiece was still yet to come. So I grabbed our nearest rag towel and let her coat it in paint.
I'm pretty sure my tense, "But yellow ISN'T a Christmas color!" was barely even audible...