How to Set Up an Apple Printing Station

how to set up an apple printing station from tinkerlab

Have you tried your hand at apple printing?

I suppose it’s a traditional Fall craft, but since apples find a way into our pantry year-round, I thought this was a fun project to share in these weeks leading up to Summer. You know, when you might need something fun to keep the kids entertained during the long summer days.

Apple Prints are an old stand-bye that my children always enjoy. The other day, 4-year old N asked me for some paint and apples so that she could make envelopes for all of her teachers. She had another plan for filling the envelopes that involved a sprinkling of sequins and some hand-made drawings. My two-year old is always game for printing, and in a matter of minutes apple printing was in full force!

Ingredients

  • Apples, cut in half vertically
  • Paper plates — to use as paint palettes
  • Washable tempera paint or Biocolors
  • Covered Table
  • Large pieces of paper
  • Clear space to contain the drying prints
  • Damp rags for wiping messes and dabbing painty fingers

apple prints closeup apple

The Set-up

  • If you have a precious work surface, cover it with a cloth or paper. We use brown kraft paper and oil cloth (pictured here).
  • Have your child choose a couple colors of paint. I like to limit it to two colors to keep the whole matter simpler. Squeeze the paint onto some paper plates. When you’re done, these can be dropped in the recycling bin.
  • Place a big sheet of paper in front of each child.
  • Place a damp rag next to each child. My kids always get painty fingers when we do this, and constantly get up to wash hands. The rag saves them the trip until they’re completely done.
  • Hand each child one apple, cut into two pieces.
  • Invite your child to stamp away!
  • Place completed prints in a drying area.

apple prints table

This project is great for little and big hands alike. My two-year old was challenged to press the apples down hard enough to make her prints show up while my four-year old worked on creating color patterns of apple prints.

apple prints making print

While I had to do a little bit of maintenance, such as collecting completed prints, while the kids printed, I enjoyed stepping back to allow them to experience the medium and develop independent ideas.

Some people are opposed to using food as a source of art-making because it can send the message that food can be wasted. With so many people going hungry, I understand the argument for this. My children’s nursery school won’t use food for art-making, which is the case with many nursery schools around the world.

However, compared to making prints from rubber stamps which can be derived from felled trees and rubber, apples and other vegetables seem like a decent alternative. In addition, so many of our traditional art-making materials are derived from food and other naturally found products. If you have an opinion on the matter I’d love to hear your thoughts.

How to make apple prints with kids

Ideas to take this further

  • When the prints dry, use a Sharpie permanent maker and add designs to your apple prints
  • Print with other vegetables such as okra, celery hearts, and carrots
  • Make prints from found objects such as egg cartons or bubble wrap
  • Source more ideas from this Pintererst Board that’s dedicated to Apple Crafts
  • If your child really enjoys printing, try your hand at Cookie Sheet Monoptints

apple prints

A Question for you…

What do you think about using food for art-making?

Comments

  1. says

    I think that it’s tempting to use food but, if you are trying to teach your kids about wasting food (which is considered a no no in Jewish tradition, its called baal tashchit) then I would go with non food printing items

    • rachelle says

      Faigie,
      I’m so glad that you brought up cultural issues with wasting food. I wouldn’t advocate for food waste either, but if food is used for making art, I wonder how philosophers would handle the question of whether or not it’s considered waste? Thanks for sharing.
      Rachelle

    • rachelle says

      Oh, I forgot to mention that one of our apples was rotten which is what prompted this activity. Unfortunately, it was so bad that my kids didn’t want to paint with it. Excellent point, though!

    • rachelle says

      Jen, I just love how you turned this exact activity into something lovely to gift to someone. What a great way to preserve these prints for a long time.

  2. Janelle says

    Great! I agree use food that’s going bad I actually was surfing the web while kids nap to get something ready n I am so glad you posted this ! I have a bad apple I was going to throw out ! Also the damp rag !!?? GENIUS !!! THank you !

    • rachelle says

      Hey Janelle!
      I’m so glad to hear that this inspired you to make something out of your not-so-great fruit. I wish I had discovered the damp rag years ago, but it’s a life-saver.
      Cheers,
      Rachelle

  3. says

    My girls love printing with fruits and vegetables and it’s such an easy project for them to work on. You can see some of their creations here:
    http://www.littlehiccups.net/2012/06/painting-with-vegetables.html
    It’s amazing the pictures that you can create with something as simple as celery or bok choy!
    I’ve also taken this project into my daughter’s kindergarten class and it was a huge hit with all of the kids. We learnt a little about the fruits and vegetables first and then we got to creating mess.. uh, I mean art!

  4. Marsha says

    I just read your idea and was planning on using the smaller apples that I am thinning from our apple tree. This would not be a waste of food.