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« Goodbye for Now from Special Fork | Main | A Gift from your Kitchen: Boozy Fruit »

Upcycle Brown Packing Paper with DIY Potato Stamps

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

At this time of year, Special Fork goes on a holiday hiatus and we leave you with a food-related craft idea.

This year, we’re making gift wrap paper from throwaway items and potatoes.

I don’t know about you, but I buy a lot from Amazon these days, and while I love the convenience of armchair shopping, I hate the waste that comes with the cartons and brown paper that accompany each shipment.

I have tried to be creative to use some of the cartons as toys—I made a house for my granddaughter with a large one, and a train engine that she could “drive.” Next, I plan to make a puppet theater. I haven’t been able to upcycle more than that.

However, I have found a use for the brown paper that comes crushed in the boxes as packing material. I turned them into gift wrap paper!

Decrying all the brown paper that goes into our recycling bin, I fished some out, ironed the paper, then made potato stamps to stamp them with. The wrinkles will not iron out completely, but I think they add a nice, rustic, textured quality.

DIY Gift Wrap Paper
1 large potato
Metal cookie cutters
Paring knife
Poster paints
Paint brush
Brown wrapping paper, ironed with a warm iron to be as wrinkle-free as possible

Halve potato lengthwise. Press cookie cutter into the flat, cut side of the potato, about ½-inch deep. Using a paring knife, carefully cut around the cookie cutter horizontally (parallel to the cut side of the potato), so the cut shape stands out in relief.

Dip brush into paint, brush surface of the cookie cutter shape, and stamp paper.


  • Instead of cutting out shapes, you can use the natural shapes of interesting produce as stamps. Some good candidates are an artichoke or onion, halved lengthwise, or the crosswise-cut stem of a zucchini, which makes a small flower pattern.
  • For the paper shown here, in addition to potato stamps, I used a dot stamper in between.
  • This is a good project for a child to keep occupied during winter break.

Happy holidays from Special Fork! Please be sure to search our archived recipes for all your holiday needs—from party recipes, to Christmas baking, to more festive craft ideas.

Special Fork is a recipe website for your smartphone and PC that solves the daily dinnertime dilemma: what to cook now! Check out our recipe database for quick ideas that take no more than 30 minutes of prep time. Follow us on Facebook , Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.

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