Peel an apple (Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples work well), cutting away any bruises (some people say to core the apple, others say not to. Experiment for yourself). Carve as life-like a face as possible into the apple (don’t cut too deeply so as to avoid rotting). Don’t forget the little things that make a face so human — the little lines running from nose to mouth, the hollows of the eyes, the depressions caused by cheekbones, etc. Depending on the “skin” tone desired, soak the carved apple for about 45 minutes in a mixture of lemon juice (or cider vinegar) and water (the longer you soak, the lighter the “skin” tone will be).
Hang the apple up in the dryest, darkest room of your home. Come back in 3 to 4 weeks to see what you have! (Hallowe’en would be perfect time for the unveiling!) It should have shrunk by about two thirds its original size, darkened some, and show the wizened features of an old woman or man. When thoroughly dry, decorate using very diluted food colorings for rouge; corn silk, cotton, or yarn for hair; cloves or food colorings for eyes; fabric triangles for scarves, etc. Secure onto a “body” made of a bottle, styrofoam cone, wooden dowel, etc., and make clothes as desired.
One of my earliest childhood memories is of two dried apple head dolls my mum had displayed on a shelf in the living room. They were so special and interesting to look at. Last year I decided to try making one for myself and actually took some photos of the work-in-progress. So I thought I’d share them here.
I peeled an apple and carved in some facial features with a parring knife. I hung it by the stem to dry.
It really started to look interesting as it dried!
After about 2 1/2 weeks it felt thoroughly dry, so it was time to put the doll together.
She’s got a little trinket box for a base so she stands nice and steady, and the rest of her body is just some waded up fabric held together with tape. Her dress is an old wool sock, and her shawl came from an old cushion that was beyond repair which belonged to my grandma. She’s got a pipe cleaner arm to hold her cane. I shoved two pins in her head for eyes and her hair is some cotton stuffing from inside the cushion.
What’s really neat about this project is that the apple continues to dry out and the doll ages! She looks older today than when I took these photos a year ago.