Had Popeye the sailor seen me in action today, he’d have been so proud. We had spinach in today’s menu. Yay! And my mom would have been equally proud had she seen my muse of the day — the vegetable stalk ends of today’s lunch!
When I was five, or maybe six, my mom had shown me how to find inspiration in one’s kitchen and create artwork (well, not the kind that fetches you millions of $$ but ones you can quickly whip up and proudly display on your fridge door). So today, while chopping spinach, I found my muse.
A quick look at the natural flower-like stencils of the chopped off stalks and I knew what I wanted to do today — vegetable printing! Fast forward 60 minutes and lookie what have we got here —seven pretty vegetable print bookmarks 🙂
Making a vegetable print bookmark is quick, easy and cheap (oh, how I love that word!). If you have never held a paint brush before, please don’t let that puny stick with tiny bristles intimidate you. The natural pattern of the cut end of a stalk bulb resembles a rose, so our stalk here is the vegetable equivalent of Van Gogh that does all the hard work. The only skill you require is that of pressing a rubber stamp on a paper. Basically what I’m saying here is when you are vegetable printing, you call the shots, not the brush. So, let’s get on with it, shall we?
First, gather your art supplies.
We will need:
- Spinach stalk ends (make sure the surface to be inked is even)
- Paint (water based works best)
- Paper (I used a thick A4 size paper)
- Newspapers (to absorb excess water off vegetable stalks, wipe your brushes and cover your work area)
- Ribbons or a length of crocheted chains
Step 1: The natural pattern of the stalk bulb resembles a rose. So if you are printing a flower, use the entire bulb as your stencil. To print a leaf, break a stalk off the bulb and either use it whole or slit it in half depending on the shape you prefer.
Step 2: Check the stalk to see if the surface is even. If it is not, take it back to the chopping board and slice the uneven part away.
Step 3: Cut 6 or 7 strips out of an A4 paper. Make sure the paper is thick enough to work as a bookmark.
Step 4: Mix colors of your choice with a bit of water in the palette. I used red and yellow for flowers and green for leaves.
Step 5: Ever used a rubber stamp? The actual printing process is exactly the same as applying a rubber stamp on paper. Think of the vegetable stencils as your rubber stamp. Now paint a flower stencil with a color of your choice and stamp it on the paper. Yes, it’s as easy as that! Now go on adding more flowers and leaves, making sure you use a different stencil for each color. Once you are satisfied with your artwork, set them aside and allow them to dry.
Step 6: After the paint has dried, punch a hole on the top of the bookmark and tie a ribbon through it. If you are on a full D-I-Y mood, crochet a 4 or 5 inch chain and use it instead of a ribbon.
That’s it. Easy, don’t you agree?
Tip #1: Rinse the stalks with water if there is dirt and spread them out on a newspaper sheet to dry. Paint the stalks only after you are sure there is no excess water left. If needed, dab the surface on newspaper to soak excess water.
Tip #2: Remember, less is more when printing. Use the paint sparingly for better detail.