The folks at Atlanta Veg Fest asked for volunteers to run some crafts for kids. This fruit and vegetable stamping project is a test run for my table at the show.
When the Veg Fest peeps put out the call for crafty volunteers, I went through some possible crafts for kids in my head. What felt just perfect about this project was that it shows all of little vegetarian and vegan kiddos another way to enjoy their fruits and veggies and teach them about food waste. This is a great project to use produce that’s a little bit past its prime but not yet totally rotten. Thing broccoli that’s got some bad spots, an apple that’s covered in holes and bruises, or broccoli that’s been in the produce drawer for just a bit too long.
This project is a spin on my potato-printed fabric. In fact, when I first pitched this, I suggested just potato stamping. I texted my mom (she’s a preschool teacher) to see if she could give me an age range for a potato printing project, but what she gave me was so much more. A few minutes after texting her, my phone rang, and 30 minutes later I had a long list of fruits and veggies that are fun to print with. I’m a lucky gal to have a mom that’s basically a pro when it comes to crafts for kids!
Here are some of the fruits and veggies we talked about for this craft for kids:
- potatoes – carved and uncarved
- apples – sliced two ways (I’ll talk more about that in a sec.)
- sweet peppers
- corn – we decided not to use corn, since it’s a pretty common allergen, but mom says you can use corn to roll out the paint, which sounds super duper fun!
Crafts for Kids: Fruit and Vegetable Stamping Tips
This craft is pretty simple, so instead of a tutorial, I’m going to just share some tips I learned and materials that came in handy.
We’ll get to prepping the food, but first there are a few other supplies that you’ll need:
- an old plate to pour out the paint
- lots and lots of reclaimed cardboard for blotting
- paper – your choice! I pulled some construction paper from my stash for this craft, but I am thinking about maybe a roll of recycled kraft paper for the day-of
- rags – you won’t be sorry!
- acrylic paint
Prepping the Fruits and Vegetables
Before applying the paint to your fruits and veggies, you’ll want to blot them. The drier they are, the better they will pick up the paint. You can use your cardboard or your rag to dry them well after you chop them.
Potatoes – Slice your potatoes in half. I left some as-is for an oval stamp and carved another into a square. For the day-of, I’ll do some more shapes, too. You can see more about how to carve your potato stamps here.
Citrus – I used a tangerine that was on its last legs, but you can use oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit – they’ll all yield different sizes and patterns. Before applying the paint to these, blot like crazy to get as much of the fruit juice off as you can. You could even slice these the night before and leave them out to dry overnight.
Apples – You can slice your apples in half two different ways (see the photo above). One way reveals that the seeds make a star shape in the middle of the apple, and the other way creates an irregular heart. I’d do one of each, for sure!
Broccoli – Broccoli is another one that you can do a couple of ways. I sliced some lengthwise to make a broccoli-shaped stamp, but I also left a floret whole. You can use the top of the whole floret like a delicate paint brush!
Sweet peppers – I didn’t test the green peppers, but these will also need a lot of blotting before you start to paint. Slice them both ways to reveal the different shapes. You can leave the seeds in or take them out. Either way is a lot of fun.
Okra – This is another one I didn’t get to test, but you’ll want to blot thoroughly. Slice horizontally for a cool mandala-type shape or vertically to make an okra-shaped stamp.
Corn – Shuck your corn and break the cobs into halves or thirds. The kids can use the end to make flower-shaped stamps or get really messy and use the corn as a roller to make a pattern along their paper.
What other fruits and veggies would be fun for stamping?
Stamping with Your Fruits and Vegetables
I learned a few things during my test run:
- Blot, blot, blot. You can see in the test above that too much paint doesn’t give you a good stamp. The best-looking stamps came out after I’d done two stamps already, so do those on your scrap cardboard instead of on your final piece.
- Stamp with care. I got the best results when I placed the stamp down on the paper then pressed it down. If you don’t place the stamp on the paper first, the excess paint will make your fruit or veg slide. Put your stamp down gently, wait a beat, then press carefully. To remove, use one hand to hold the paper in place, then dig your nails into the flesh of the stamp, so you can pull it up without smudging.
- Press evenly. When you’re pressing, make sure you get each piece of the stamp in contact with the paper. These aren’t going to be totally flat like rubber stamps, so take your time and press it down well.
Do you have any favorite crafts for kids? Now that I have a little one, I am keeping a mental lists of crafts we will do together when he’s big enough!