Some of my kids' best and least-expensive art supplies have come from nature. Acorns, leaves, shells, pine cones and sticks all have provided inspiration for a plethora of family craft and decorating projects.
Now that apple season is here, it's a perfect time to get your creative juices flowing and use real apples to stamp out some original art. You can stamp apple prints onto brown craft paper or recycled brown grocery bags for lovely homemade wrapping paper, gift tags and book covers.
To create wearable art to celebrate fall, stamp apple prints with permanent acrylic fabric paints on a sweatshirt, T-shirt or cotton infant wear. Stamp fabric napkins, place mats, potholder and dish towels, too. There's really no end to objects that can sport an apple stamp or two.
HERE'S THE FUN:
Slice an apple in half vertically. Pat it dry with a towel and remove as much moisture as possible. For a handle that young kids can grab onto, poke a fork into the outside center of the apple.
Pour craft paint in squeeze bottles onto a paper plate. Use fabric paint if stamping clothing. Dip the cut side of the apple into the paint. Press the apple gently on a paper towel to absorb some of the paint, and then press the apple firmly onto the paper or fabric. Stamp as many prints as you like by dipping and printing.
When your apple prints are dry, dip a toothpick or small paintbrush into some green or brown paint and paint a slender stem and a leaf onto your
-- For a group project in which a lot of apples are needed, look for cheaper bruised fruit at apple orchards.
-- If you cut an apple widthwise around the circumference, the seeds form a perfect star shape. Remove the seeds and stamp out the natural design.
-- If using fabric paints on fabric, an adult should heat-set the prints with an iron according to product instructions after the paint has dried.
Donna Erickson's award-winning series "Donna's Day" is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit donnasday.com and link to the new Donna's Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families."