Printmaking with fruits and vegetables

Printmaking with Fruits and Vegetables

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Fruit printmaking

Printing with fruits and vegetables is a simple art project that even toddlers can do (although they are as likely to “paint” with the carrot as print with it).

Printmaking with Fruits and Vegetables

Materials:   

  • Fruits and vegetables (see below)
  • Paper
  • Tempera paint 

First, assemble the fruits and vegetables you’mothd like to use. You can use fruits and vegetables you have in the kitchen or garden, or make a special trip to the grocery store with your child to pick out produce with potential. Look for star fruits, citrus fruits, or anything with an interesting shape or texture. You can cut an apple crosswise for the star pattern in the center. Try something really small, such as a blueberry or grape cut in half, or really big, such as a grapefruit or cabbage cut in half. Carrot tops or a bunch of parsley can be used to make an interesting feather pattern. Try a zucchini cut lengthwise and one cut across for different effects.

To set up, lay out a sheet of paper on a low table for your child. Use masking tape to hold the paper in place. Pour tempera paints in the colors of your choice into shallow bowls or plates.

Finally, show your child how to dip the fruit or vegetable in the paint, then press it firmly to the paper, lifting up smoothly to create a clean print. (Don’t worry about clean prints with the younger toddlers, just introduce them to the general concept of printmaking, and the joys of using something other than a paint brush or hands to transfer paint to paper.)

Repeat as desired with different fruits and different colors of paint.

Note: This is reprinted from my “Small Hands, Big Art” article in the July/August 2007 issue of Mothering magazine.

Virginia is printing with a grapefruit in the photo above. What do you print with?

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    amberlynnlane
    February 21, 2008 at 7:02 am

    Ha, this is so fun… I really need to get out some food and play myself. It’s not just for kids, you know. I recently saw an article on a fibre artist’s blog: http://lyrickinard.blogspot.com/2008/01/play-with-your-food.html
    (Full disclosure, Lyric is my sister, so I am biased regarding her quality – which I think is top-notch.)

  • Reply
    Andrea McMann
    February 21, 2008 at 4:56 am

    That’s funny! I just got my newest issue of Family Fun magazine and it has a really cute project where you make shamrocks in the same way. Here’s the link to the project: http://jas.familyfun.go.com/crafts?page=CraftDisplaycraftid=11948

  • Reply
    Andrea McMann
    February 21, 2008 at 5:00 am

    I tried to comment on this a few minutes ago, but got an error message…I’ll try again. If you get two comments, I’m sorry.
    I just wanted to say that I got my newest issue of Family Fun magazine yesterday and it has a cute project where you make a shamrock print in much the same way. Here’s the link: http://jas.familyfun.go.com/crafts?page=CraftDisplaycraftid=11948

  • Reply
    Andrea McMann
    February 21, 2008 at 5:02 am

    OOPS!

  • Reply
    Julie La Framboise
    February 21, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    I have been saving my issue of Mothering with your article in it. I just realized that the article that I loved so much and inspired me to do more art with my children was you! Thanks again!

  • Reply
    Melissa A.
    February 21, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    This looks like fun! I’m putting it on my list of things to do. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Didit
    April 28, 2013 at 7:34 am

    Is this feasible with acrylic paint too?

  • Reply
    Didit
    April 28, 2013 at 7:35 am

    …or with any other kind of paint?

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    April 28, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Yes – You can do this with just about any kind of paint or even with an ink pad.

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