A trip to a local apple orchard inspired this project. Apples (and other fruits and vegetables) make great stamps for printing a pattern repeat for a mixed media project or even a small roll of gift paper. With the summer produce rolling into the markets, you can try printing cabbage, carrots, celery for a vast array of textures, try leaves around in your garden. Water-Soluable printing ink makes this a kid friendly project. Get started on the holidays, by printing your own Christmas wrapping paper with a roll of white paper. Or substitute water soluble ink for slightly watered down acrylic paint to print onto a cloth bag for groceries.
To get started you will need:
– an apple (pear, orange, onion)
– cutting board
– knife (used only by an adult)
– water-soluble printing ink
– printing brayer
– old plastic tray
– paper for printing
– paper (brown paper, newspaper) to cover work table
1. Prepare your work surface.
Cover your table with newspaper or brown paper to protect it. This process is slightly messy, so always better to err on the side of caution. Put on your apron.
2. Select your fruit.
Select a fruit or vegetable with an interesting shape or texture when cut in half. With a sharp knife and a cutting board, cut your selection in two pieces. Use one half if only using one color or both halves for two colors.
3. Ink your tray.
Remove the cutting board and knife. Squeeze a small amount of ink onto the center of the plastic tray. If you are using two colors, use two trays and brayers. Smooth out the ink with a brayer. Don’t have too much fun squishing it around! The ink dries quickly.
4. Print your pattern.
Determine your repeat. Will you make rows? What about a checkerboard look with two different colors? Push the cut side into the ink and press it onto your paper. Repeat until you have covered the entire surface of your paper. If you run out of ink, reink your tray. If you aren’t getting an even amount of ink on the surface of the fruit, roll ink across the flat surface with the brayer.
5. Clean up.
Place your art aside to dry. Use warm, sudsy water to wash your tray and brayer. Allow to air dry. Recycle the newsprint.
Frame your art. Use it as background for a mixed media piece. Wrap a present with it.