Thursday, October 4, 2012

Shrunken heads


I think we called these apple dolls when I was little, but shrunken heads is so much more appropriate, don't you think? We've had these ghoulish heads impaled on stakes in a flowerpot on our counter for the past two weeks. I rather like them this way, but the kids want to give them mummified bodies.

The finished apples are leathery, soft enough that you can use a needle and thread to sew in a hanger. When I was a girl, we fashioned hangers out of paper clips and stuck those in when we carved the apples. If you remove the core, you can stick the dried apple atop a bottle, then decorate the bottle as a body. Or you could just leave them impaled on sticks — you know, as a warning to the other apples.

The before picture

These are so easy and fun to create with kids, and they make perfect Halloween decorations. We used pointy pencils to scratch out the features, then I carved them with a small jackknife. The kids checked them daily, checking out how the texture changed as the moisture evaporated.

Apple heads can take as long as three weeks to dry, so don't wait until the last minute! I hear they can last for years, but I can't personally vouch for that — yet.

When they're done, you can even sew or glue on yarn for hair and decorate them however you wish.


Shrunken heads

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup salt
2 to 3 cups water

Combine lemon juice, salt, and water in a bowl and set aside.

To make each head, first peel the apple (no need to remove the core, unless you want to fit the finished apple on a bottle) and soak it in the bowl of lemony salt water for a minute or so.

Draw features on the apple with a pointy tool — a toothpick, a small skewer, a paring knife. Kids can use a pointy pencil. Then use a paring knife or other small tool to carve out the features. Remember: It will shrink, so keep it simple and don't fuss over details. If you like, insert whole cloves into the eyes or dried rice as teeth.

Soak the carved apple in the lemony salt water and soak for a few minutes. Remove it, pat it dry, and decide how you're going to let it dry. You can set it on a wire rack, stick it on a skewer, fashion a paper clip hanger — just don't set it on a plate or it will get moldy fast. It will take one to three weeks for your apple head to dry.

To kick-start the process, put your freshly cut apple in the oven at a low temperature — no more than 175 degrees — for an hour or two.

Keep an eye on your apple: If mold starts to form, gently scrape it away. You also can spritz it with a weak bleach solution.


No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...