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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Shrunken apple heads

I decided to try out a new project today. If it works out, the kids and I will make more of them. I found the instructions in a book on Halloween, where it suggested using them as a display of shrunken heads. I first encountered them as the heads of dolls. An artist used them to make dolls of grandmotherly people, and I loved the effect.

To make your own shrunken apple heads, here's what you need.

A large apple - I used a Macintosh because that's what we had, but I think I'd recommend something more firm fleshed, like a Granny Smith.

Baking Soda - 3 Tablespoons

A container deep enough to cover the apple with water.

Peel the apple smoothly, then carve a face onto one side.

Here's the face I ended up with. I had no plan beyond recognizable eyes, nose and mouth. Once I know how it looks after drying, I might try experimenting with expressions or something. This was a pretty small apple, though, so I didn't have much room to play with anyways.

Put the apple in water with the 3 Tablespoons of baking soda. The apple is supposed to be completely covered. Problem is, apples float...

So I put some water in a cup and set it on top of the apple to hold it down. Hopefully, this isn't going to cause any damage to the apple.

Leave the apple to soak for 24 hours. After it's done soaking, tie some string to the stem and hang it up to dry. According to the instructions I've got, if you put the apple on a surface to dry, the area in contact with the surface will start to rot.

The apple will dry in about 2 - 2 1/2 weeks, and will be about 1/4 the original size. Once dry, it's supposed to be coated with... hold on, let me find the book again and look it up...

... a sealer such as polyurethane. I wonder if the kids' Modge Podge will work?

That's it. :-D Easy, peasy.


The Travelers Journal said...

I would LOVE to try this with the kids. Something different! I haven't moved much past the triangle phase for carving pumpkins :) I love how your face looks. I would have to go out of my comfort zone and try something besides triangles for this project. I like the idea of hanging them around the house to dry just to see peoples faces that visit :)

Kunoichi said...

Thanks. :-) It was interesting to carve, as the apple was so soft. I ended up holding the paring knife like a pen and doing more gentle scraping than cutting.

*L* I can just imagine people's reactions to something like that! Shrunken heads, all over the house. :-D

I'll keep posting on how it goes. Then we can both learn what works and what doesn't. :-D