The Christmas season is over.. and we hurtle into the deep, often gloomy, January and February months. But fear not.. we can still get crafty with lots of lovely winter art projects for preschoolers and kids! Today, we are having with with artic animals – more specifically – the polar bear! And making Potato Print Polar Bears. They are quick and easy.. great for “repetition” and therefore great as the much needed “Thank You Cards” to make and send this time of year!
Have some preschool fun at home.. or you can make these in the classroom too. Though we made them as greeting cards, you could make a whole polar bear family Winter Art project using this potato stamping technique. Just use a variety of different sized potatoes. Such a fun thing to work on as winter stretches on.
We kept our Polar Bears super simple, but if you scroll down this page, you can see another cool potato printing projects from the Royal Academy in London – certainly upskilling the humble potator for kids of all ages!
So if you need some winter art projects, like making cards and love artici animals.. read on!
Polar Bear Valentines Cards
Oh and psssst. Whilst I have your attentioned, these polar bears make ADORABLE Valentine’s Day Cards too – especially for those of you avoiding all the pinks and reds, but still wanting to join in. Same process… simply add a sweet little “I love you beary much” message to the front of the card and hey presto, you have yourself a cute and super simple Valentines Card to make.
As with the Thank You cards, this is a great Valentines card for the classroom – i.e. you can quickly and easily make these bear cards in bulk and gift the cards to all your class mates!
Craft Supplies needed to make Potato Print Polar Bear Cards
- A potato
- sharp knife (adults only)
- White paint
- Red paint (optional)
- Black markers/ pink markers
- Blue card/ paper
- Your fingers!
- A little kitchen towel/ art cloth to dry the potato
As with all our crafts – let’s keep things simply and inexpensive. No need for purchases on Amazon or a rush to hobby lobbly to get making. WORK with what you HAVE already. For example, I am all out of blank blue greeting cards, so decided to to simply cut some blue A4 card in half. Though card is a little better for card making, you can easily make these out of paper or construction paper too (they just won’t stand up as well.. OR you could cut out the paper and stick them on card of a different colour that you do have more of!
I also like to wash our potatoes afterwards.. and reuse them for another project (I have another artic animal craft coming in SOON.. can you guess what it is? And no, it isn’t the (ant)artic penguin card…)
How to make Potato Print Polar Bears – Step by Step Instructions
Making potato prints is simple and easy and so so fun! But there the first two steps in this tutorial are are key to success:
1 Cut with a sharp knife
Cut your potato in with a sharp knife – to give you a smooth and as even surface for printing as possible. If you use a blunt knife, you are more likely to get uneven areas to your surface, which will result in a non even print / gaps of paint! So get an adult to cut the potatoes as neatly as you can.
You can cut your potato length wise (what we did) or across. Across will give you a rounder shape – this would be cute for a baby polar bear, if you are printing a polar bear family picture!
2 Pat your potato dry before loading with paint
Pat your potato really dry before applying paint. We used an art cloth for this, but some kitchen paper towel should work too! Drying it, means you get a better amount of paint on your potatoe and also avoids it sliding around your piece of paper!
Next it is time to get printing!
3 Make white potato stamps for the polar bear’s body
TOP TIP: If working with preschoolers, toddlers or kindergartners, you may find it easier to poke a fork into your potato and create a handle! This will make it easier to lift the potato off the paper without smudging your work!
Dip the potato in your paint. If you wish, you can add white paint with a paint brush, but isn’t necessary. But do try and get an even spread of paint. Some people find it easier to have the paint on a shallow dish so you can move the potato around a little.
Then carefully place the potato on your blue card (we used blue construction paper and folded it in half to make an A6 sized card.. but any size is fine!).
Press to make your potato print.
Carefully lift off.
If you need to, you can repeat the print over the same first print again and fill any gaps by pressing the potato firmly down.
Make lots of white potato prints on lots of blue card! And start your “mass production process”.
4 Finger print additional polar bear features
Add polar bear ears with your finger prints.
Then make finger print snow at the base of the bear, as well as fingerprint snowflakes for the background.
Let dry fully.
You can now add fingerprint hearts. Sometimes this can be a little messy.. so if you are worried about “mistakes”.. you can always draw the hearts on with red markers or cut some heart shaped paper pieces ans stick those on.
5 Adding final polar bear features
You can now add polar bear eyes, nose and mouth with black markers. You could even use some googly eyes for your polar bear! But we love using pens and markers and find that they are more environmentally friendly (and cheaper if working in the classroom too!).
As mentioned, if you wish you can add an additional finger print heart to your polar bear too (that would be really cute for a winter themed Valentine’s Day card!). The little finger print hearts make it such a cute keepsake too! I know grandma and grandpa will cherish this handmade Thank You card!
Your potato print polar bear card is finished! Enjoy!
Other potato printing card ideas for Winter:
There are a number of antartic/ arctic animals you can explore! From owls (the right shape for potatoes for sure!) to penguins and walrusses (coming soon!!). And yes, before you say anything.. penguins live on the antartic.. but they still make a great Winter Animal Art theme!!
Have older kids and want to challenge yourself?
Try these amazing Potato Print Polar bears by the Royal Acadamy!