Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Shrunken Apple Heads

EDT’s Countdown to Halloween!

This week the owner of Darkling Dreams the maker of the amazing Darkling Dolls is kind enough to show her her amazing technique for creating shrunken heads. I love this tutorial! There are just so many fun ideas you can make with this technique.

Shrunken Apple Heads: Who Doesn't Need a Little Shrunken Head Around the House?
I love making these sweet smelling and sometimes disturbing looking Halloween decorations! Every year I host a head shrinking party with the girls and we've come up with some tips and techniques you won't have seen anywhere else! First we will start with the basics:

Shrunken Apple Heads

supplies and ingredients:
apples~* salt
lemon juice
paring knife
vegetable peeler extras~whole cloves, potpourri, rice}*

~*You can use any variety of apple. I like to use a variety because they all dry differently so you'll get some different results. Granny Smith's are probably my favorite though.

Fill a large mixing bowl with cold water and give it a couple douses of lemon juice and a spoonful or two of salt. You're gonna ask me how much, aren't you? As any good witch would do, a pinch of this or that, use your instincts!

I like to use a vegetable peeler to peel the apples. Get as much from around the stem as you can, or core completely. Uncored apples tend to retain a little more moisture and have a more fleshy look, while cored apples will be harder and dry faster.

When you're ready to carve, use a small paring knife to cut into your apple. The vegetable peeler works great for eye holes. Remember that the apple is going to wither and shrink, so you want to exaggerate features! You also don't need to get too detailed. General shapes are great and simple details are best, a shallow line can make great wrinkles as it shrinks.

When your done carving plop your apple into the water mixture to soak for about 5-10 mins. After that you can add extras like whole cloves for eyes, or even Frankenstein bolts! They have a natural x-shape at the top, how convenient! Also rice, brown or white, make great teeth. Insert them before drying your apple, they add 100+ to the creepy factor. Another new and fabulous trick is to add potpourri pieces to your apple. They make great ears, teeth, and tongues!

Now it's time to be patient. They need to dry out and it can take anywhere from 1-2 weeks in a dry place. If they are left somewhere humid, you risk them turning into little moldy heads. Freaky, but not in the good way ;) You can keep them on a baking sheet in the oven. Open the door a few times a day just to let some air circulate in there. You can even turn the oven on to help them along. Turn the oven on periodically to the lowest possible heat (170 degrees for me) for an hour or so and then just turn the oven off and leave the door closed. That will help to shrink them much faster. If you live in a humid area, you may just want to leave them in the oven with the oven turned on to the lowest temp for a couple of days.

I like the fast way! If they are completely cored, they can be put in the oven around 200 degrees and be done in about 6-8 hours!

Extra Tips~***

I put mine on a wire rack above the cookie sheet, and rotate every couple of hours so gravity doesn't flatten them too much on one side, of course that can also be used to your advantage!

If you don't soak them in the water mixture they will dry darker.

Paper towels work like sandpaper on the raw apple and are an incredibly helpful carving tool

So what do you do with creepy little apple heads? Make a centerpiece, totem pole, put them on candle holders, but most definitely embellish them!! Make dolls with them, add google eyes, hair, moustache, yarn, stitching, even piercings! Everyone will want to know what the crap you have on your table is and they'll think you're awesome when you tell them they're little gnomes you found in your basement and then performed an ancient ritual on! ;)

You can see many of the techniques and tips used in the pictures of my precious heads! Have fun being head hunters, and Happy Halloween!!

Darkling Dreams is Handmade Art Dolls, Mixed Media Art, Housewares, Steampunk, PMC Jewelry, Altered Art, Photography, Chainmaille, and Sock Monkeys. Or anything else we might scream into creation, with a Gothic, or Punk vibe.

For more on the web you can find her at …
Blog: http://www.keyholegallery.blogspot.com/

1 comment:

Danise said...

These look great! I bet you could add some apple sauce and cinnamon before drying and make some hair.I have a dehydrater and I might just try this with my grand son.I made a shrunken head elf last year for christmas.Visit my blog it is on there some where.