Ever wondered how books were printed or when the first printing press was invented? Well long before the printing press, books were written or painted by hand. Doing the lettering by hand took a long time to do and so being able to print books made the spread of knowledge go a little faster (coreknowledge).

Block printing started in China in the 2nd century CE and Japan during the 17th-19th centuries used block prints for art. Most of this printing was done on silk fabric (mymodernmet).

Wood Block Used For Printing

Japanese Woodblock Print

The first printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg in 1463, where the words or letters were made out of metal (coreknowledge).

There is a way to make your own block prints using a potato and some paints. Look below to see how to make your own Potato Stamps to create Potato Print Art.

Making Your Potato Stamp


  • Large Potato

  • Cookie Cutters

  • Paint

  • Paper plate to put paint on

  • Paper to make prints on


Step 1: Cut your potato in half. (**Have an adult help you with this step**)

Step 2: Press the cookie cutter you chose into the potato on the flat side. If your cookie cutter doesn’t go down to where the imprint portion is, turn the potato over and press down hard.

Step 3:  Using a knife carefully cut around the edge of the cookie cutter leaving only the portion where the cookie cutter was sticking out. Then peel away the excess potato (**Have an adult help you with this step**)

Step 4: Remove the cookie cutter and check out your stamp.

Step 6: Put some paint on your plate.

Step 7: Dip your stamp into the paint so that the raised part is lightly covered.

Step 8: Stamp away on your paper!

Books On Prints and Printmaking From Our Catalog

Prints by Isabel Thomas

This book introduces the reader to making prints, examining what prints are, how they are made, what prints can show, differences in size, technique and style, historical and modern examples, and examples from different cultures.

Yellow Owl’s Little Prints : Stamp, Stencil, And Print Projects To Make For Kids by Christine Schmidt

Celebrated indie artist Christine Schmidt offers 25 hip, imaginative, and personalizable decorations, toys, puzzles, and keepsakes for children using simple hand-printing techniques. A new take on DIY projects for kids. Personalized, handmade items are a meaningful way to show your love for a baby or child. Christine Schmidt, author of the bestselling Print Workshop and the creative force behind the acclaimed Yellow Owl Workshop line of artisan stationery and home accessories, shares her inspired ideas for making easy, yet entirely unique items for children from newborns to school-aged. Using stamps, stenciling, and other hand-printing techniques, design-savvy parents will be able to make quick kid-friendly projects that will be cherished for years to come.

All About Fabric Printing : 10 Kid-Friendly Projects by Todd Oldham

Describes fabric printing and provides 10 kid-friendly projects.

The Printing Press by Samuel Willard