Every teacher deserves a nice, big apple for doing a great job at school! This year have your child create her own papier-mache apple sculpture to give to a special teacher. This art activity encourages your child to think creatively, learn about sculpture and three dimensional forms, and develop color recognition skills.
The papier-mache apple sculpture uses simple paper and paper paste techniques to create a fun sculptural effect. This centuries-old art form that originated in Asia, and spans many cultures, can be easily modified to fit your child’s needs and developmental level. A store bought papier-mache paste product may be used, or your child (with your assistance) may want to research one of the many homemade papier-mache paste recipes available in books or the Internet.
What You Do:
- Blow up the balloon. This will be used to form the apple shape.
- Have your child dip the paper strips one at a time into the papier-mache paste, then cover the balloon by overlapping the pasted strips.
- Once completely covered, set the balloon aside to dry. It may be helpful to create a small stand for the balloon to sit on. This can be done by cutting a two inch thick strip of cardboard or thick paper and bending it into a circle. Staple the ends together and set the balloon on top.
- Have your child cut a few leaf shapes from the paper. These can then be glued or taped to the top of a pipe cleaner. This will be the stem.
- After the papier-mache has dried, have your child paint the apple.
- After the paint has dried, help your child to attach the pipe cleaner stem to the top of the apple. This can be done by poking a small hole in the top or by gluing to the apple. Be aware that the balloon inside of the apple may still be inflated. The pipe cleaner poking through the paper could pop the balloon.
If your child enjoys this art process try other fruit sculptures. Oranges, grapes, and cherries are simple and fun alternatives!
Erica Loop has a MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education. She has many years of teaching experience working in early childhood education, and as an arts educator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.