When the weather is starting to get a chill in it, I start to think of fruit. It might have something to do with reading books like Little Women when I was younger, books where the kids always got oranges for Christmas and thought it was the best. gift. ever. (And though I was going, “Are you kidding me??”, I do have to admit that their reverence raised my opinion of the humble citrus.) Or maybe this season reminds me of fruit because Groupon is going to start urging me to send Harry & David pears at a reduced price to everyone. At any rate, fruit is the perfect complement to the holidays, which is why I have chosen to write about three different projects centered around a printable fruit art template in today’s blog post.
1. Standing Fruit Place Cards (or Escort Cards)
There’s a good chance you’re either hosting a dinner this holiday season, or helping someone host a dinner. To avoid seating chaos (or just make a pretty tablescape), you can employ the use of these unique, elegant place cards! To make them, you’ll first need to print out the fruit art template, which you can download for free by clicking here.
Cut out all the fruits from the template.
Next, take a piece of 140 lb. watercolor paper. (I use Strathmore, but you can use whatever brand you want as long as it’s 140 lb. It will say “140 lb.” on the front! You want to use that poundage of paper because it’s hardy and will allow the finished project to stand up on its own without drooping.) Trace around your newly-created templates on the watercolor paper using a pencil as pictured below.
Once you have created outlines of all the fruits on the watercolor paper, cut the outlines out. If you’re making these for a dinner party, make sure you have one piece of fruit for each place setting.
Use an earthy watercolor paint to add color to the fruits that have stems (all fruits except for the lemon). I’m using Purple Ochre from the Greenleaf & Blueberry palette; even though it’s called “purple”, it’s more of a sumptuous brown.
While you’re waiting for the paint on the stems to dry, you can start painting the lemon! First, use a large brush to moisten the entire fruit with plain water.
While the water is still fresh on the fruit, add yellow watercolor to it. The fact that the fruit is already wet means the watercolor will spread out evenly. You’re not going for realistic shading here; all you want is a nice, flat yellow.
Repeat this painting technique with different colors on all the other fruits, taking care not to get the stems wet (otherwise, the paint on the stem will bleed). For the fig, you might choose purple watercolor paint; for the pear, green; and for the apple, red. Once the paint on the fruits has completely dried (~15 minutes), you can calligraph names in the middle! I am using Kaitlin Style calligraphy and sumi ink in the photo below.
After you have calligraphed all the fruits, cut your remaining watercolor paper into 1.25″ x 4″ (3.2 cm x 10 cm) strips. You should have as many strips as you have pieces of fruit.
Fold all your strips in half as pictured.
Tape or glue one side of each strip on the back of each of your fruits, taking care that the fold of the strip is in line with the bottom of the fruit.
Once your strips are affixed to the backs of your fruit, the fruits will stand up beautifully!
There are a lot of things you could use this fruit place card concept for beyond place cards. For example, if you want to make a pretty tablescape, but you don’t want to dictate where people have to sit, you could just write quotes on all the fruits (e.g. “Happy Thanksgiving 2015!”, “Happy Holidays!”).
They can also just be general decorations on a mantle or table. I’m sending the one that says “Sophia” to my cousin to display on her desk in her dorm room. Why not? It’s a unique little project, and you can use it for whatever you want!
2. Fruit Bookmark
This is a quick, fun project that is currently nestled into my Game of Thrones book (however, 33 Snowfish is prettier, which is why it gets the spotlight in these photos). It’s a really neat project to make with kids, or you can do it the “Lindsey way” and make it for yourself as an adult.
First, choose your favorite fruit template out of the four; I chose a lemon. Next, use a pencil to trace around that fruit template onto a piece of colored card stock. Preferably, the card stock should be the color normally associated with your fruit, but of course you can go with whatever color you want! I will be the last one to tell you that you shouldn’t make an orange fig or a black apple.
Cut out the card stock around the outline.
Now, find a quote online that corresponds to the fruit that you have chosen. I found a couple of nice little lines from Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost (I have a thing for incorporating Shakespeare into projects even though, truth be told, I wasn’t the most alert student in Intro to Shakespeare at KU.) Start writing out your quote; I’m using Wishbone Style from the Hand-Lettering for a Latté worksheet in the photo below.
Continue to write out the quote, varying your hand-lettering styles if you want to (or you can just write it all in calligraphy/faux calligraphy).
I used a mixture of these styles from Learn Hand-Lettering for a Latté: Wishbone, Roman, Sans Serif, and Open.
Once you write your quote, you may have some visual gaps that need to be filled. I drew droplets of juice to fill in that negative space.
When your hand-lettering is finished, lay the fruit on a nice piece of paper of your choosing; then, take a pencil and trace around the fruit. This piece of paper will serve as the back of your bookmark, so make sure you don’t mind cutting it up! I am using a page from an antique book.
Cut out the piece of paper, then set it aside.
Next, take a piece of string or a ribbon and cut it such that it’s about 10.5″ (27 cm) long. If you’re using a ribbon, you can cut a little triangle in the end.
Tape the string or ribbon to the back of the card stock fruit as shown below.
Once the string/ribbon is affixed to the card stock, brush glue on the back of the other fruit-shaped piece of paper. It’s a good idea to brush the glue on because that way the paper won’t bubble up when it dries.
Press the glued side of the paper to the back side of the card stock fruit.
Once the glue has dried, you’ve got yourself a very unique and functional bookmark!
I would suggest that you give the bookmark away as a little present, but it’s so cool that you should probably keep it for yourself. You can always make one for a deserving person in the future. 😉
Great Gift Idea Alert: Make anywhere from five to ten of these bookmarks in different fruit shapes, and give them to someone along with a fruit and veggie-centric cookbook (I’ve really been digging Plenty More). You could write “Recipe to Try” on one side, and “Favorite Recipe” on the other side. That way, if they want to try the recipe, they can bookmark the recipe showing the “Recipe to Try” side face up. If they have tried the recipe and love it, they can bookmark the recipe showing the “Favorite Recipe” side. My only suggestion with this utilization would be to make sure you lengthen the ribbon to accommodate the length of the cookbook.
3. Abundant Fruits Wrapping Paper
If ever there were a good project to make with kids, this is it. It’s a little bit messy, but renders surprisingly chic results. I could see a boho-expensive company offering wrapping paper with a design like this one, which is why it’s so cool that you can make it at home! To get started, print out the fruit art template on card stock. It’s best to print on card stock because you’ll be using the fruit as a stencil, and printer paper doesn’t generally make for good stencils since it breaks down if you repeatedly put moisture (e.g. paint) on it.
Cut around the fruit shapes in squares/rectangles, as pictured below.
Next, use a hobby knife or scissors to cut the fruit out of the template.
Choose four colors of acrylic paint to correspond with the fruit; e.g. yellow for the lemon, purple for the fig, green for the pear, red for the apple. You can use cheap acrylic paint from your local arts and crafts or department store.
Lay down one of the fruit stencils on a piece of standard printer paper, and brush on the paint that corresponds with the fruit.
Take the stencil off, and this will be your result!
Continue to stencil on fruits in their respective colors. Though acrylic paint dries quickly, you can expedite the process by going over each fruit with a hairdryer after you paint it.
There’s no set pattern, and you can choose to have your fruits overlap.
When your fruits are all painted and dry, you’ll have negative space between a lot of the fruits. You can fill the space in with whatever you want — polka dots, dip pen calligraphy, lettering, paint spatters, etc. I have chosen to fill in my space with brush pen calligraphy in the Amy Style.
I finished up the wrapping paper with some Sans Serif lettering plus some dots, and you can see that the reward is a bright and visually appealing piece of paper!
There are a myriad of projects you could use this paper for; it would look great in a sketchbook, add “pop” to an envelope as a liner, and perform beautifully in a scrapbook. However, I like it best as wrapping paper, especially with a card stock lemon gift tag featuring brush pen lettering!
Even if none of these tutorials appeal to you, you are still welcome to use the Fruit Art Template to suit your creative needs! It could be applied to a lot of different projects with beautiful results; I have unwavering faith in your artistic vision. 🙂
Thanks so much for reading the TPK blog, and enjoy the rest of your day!