Printmaking is a great way to explore different objects and materials, and it gives us a new way to examine the world around us as we search for interesting shapes and patterns. Some of the most beautiful shapes and patterns can be found right under our noses, in objects that are already very familiar to us. In this printmaking project we’re going to use cut vegetables to create a quirky bouquet for Valentine’s Day (or for any time!). There’s plenty of room for experimentation; any vegetable or fruit can potentially become a printing material. For your own unique cards, gather a variety of different vegetables and see how many different shapes you can create with them.
- White cardstock, folded in half; 8.5×11” works well for this project.
- Craft paint: you’ll need red for the flowers and green (or yellow and blue mixed together!) for the leaves.
- Thin-tipped black marker
- A variety of vegetables, cut in half; we’ll be using the cut ends to print our flowers. Try out different vegetables and different ways of cutting them! An onion or a beet can print an entirely different pattern when cut lengthwise or widthwise. Celery is especially great for printing flowers; just bundle a head of celery tightly with elastic bands and chop the end off for a beautiful rose-shaped printing surface.
- Leaves: any leaves will work for this! If you want to stick with the vegetable theme, there are many leafy green vegetables; we used small kale leaves for our bouquets.
Step 1. Brush red paint over the cut ends of the vegetables, then press firmly onto the cardstock. You can repaint and reprint vegetables many times to make lots of valentines at once. Leave the paint to dry thoroughly.
Step 2. Use the black marker to draw in the stems and ribbon on your bouquet.
Step 3. Brush green paint onto the leaves and press down to print. An easy way to do this without smudging the paint is to lay down a leaf with the painted side down, lay a sheet of paper or card over it, and then run your hands firmly over the surface of the paper to press down the leaf.
You’re done! Now you can write a Valentine’s Day message in your card and deliver it to someone you love!
Sara Williamson is an illustrator, designer, and content creator based in Victoria, British Columbia. She illustrates posters, articles, album covers, and in 2016 published her first children’s book, Holey Moley, written by Sam Chilton. She lives on an organic vegetable farm with a one-eyed chicken named Gatsby.
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