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All Stars

Using the Humble Potato for Visual Drama

Involvement in the arts is an important way for kids of all ages to find their place in congregational life. Church is a place where someone can recognize and respect children’s gifts and then work with them to create something unique that contributes to the whole congregation’s worship. Be that person!

The construction of this hanging is simple and the amount of potato printing required will give everyone plenty of opportunity to perfect the technique.

I Say Potato

Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Cut the background paper or fabric to the size of your final hanging. Think big—ours was 5 x 12 feet. It’s a good idea to choose a color that will blend with the squares you’ll be adding (see step 5).
  2. Cut enough good-sized potatoes for each person to have a half, with a few extras just in case.
  3. Trace the diameter of the potato on a piece of plain white paper. Within this circle, draw the star on paper with a ruler, using water-soluble thin marking pens of darker color. Press the somewhat damp fresh-cut potato halves onto the paper to transfer the marker drawing to the potato.
  4. Using table knives or orange peelers, scoop out the area inside the star, leaving the outside round edges to define the star. This is the hardest part of the project—kids will need lots of adult supervision!
  5. Cut squares of black and blue and purple paper or fabric large enough for one potato print (ours were 6").
  6. Using tempera paint (for paper) or fabric paint (for fabric), print one star on each square. Repeat over and over and over again. Let dry completely.
  7. Arrange the squares in a random or semi-random order onto the background. Shift the center squares away from each other to form the cross shape. Once satisfied with the arrangement, add some bright white or silver paper or fabric to the area inside the cross shape. Then glue or stitch the squares to the background.
  8. For the final touch, have someone carve a simple cross out of a potato. Using gold paint, add one—and only one—cross to a less-than-obvious place on the final banner. (I’ll leave it to you to explain why we’d add a symbol of Lent to this Christmas picture!)

As you work together, be deliberate about getting to know each other. And hand out lots of encouragement—encouragement kids can trust, because it comes from someone who really knows them, not just another patronizing adult.