How to use wall painting supplies and produce to create your own interesting craft projects and wall borders
Vegetables can be great tools to utilize in creating painted accents in your kitchen. They are inexpensive, easy to obtain, and simple to use.
You will need small amounts of paint in the colors of your choice; I like using the same colors as the vegetables with which I am working.
You will also need to get a few varieties of vegetables from the produce market that have instantly recognizable, interesting shapes. The vegetables you use should be somewhat firm and, if possible, under ripe, for best results. Carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms, cucumbers, eggplants, and broccoli work very well. Tomatoes are too soft for this use, but you can get the same effect with a round, macintosh apple.
Other supplies to have on hand are: styrofoam plates, paint rags or paper towels, newspapers, masking tape, a drop cloth, a fork, brushes, turpentine, and, if necessary, tools for measuring and creating straight lines.
VEGETABLE PAINTING TECHNIQUE:
Whether you are embellishing your walls or items for decoration, determine if you need to give the surface area a fresh coat of a base paint first. Neutrals work well, since the brighter vegetable colors will show up on them nicely. If you prefer to keep your surface natural, or if your wall or surface is already sufficiently painted, you can proceed to the vegetable painting.
Slice your vegetable in half, length-wise. You will now have two vegetable “stamps” that will be used much like rubber or sponge stamps.
Cover the floor under the area you are painting with a drop cloth, and cover your work area with newspapers.
Pour some paint into a styrofoam plate. Take the vegetable and press the flat, cut side into the paint. If the vegetable is small and hard to handle, such as mushrooms, stick a fork in the back of it to use as a handle.
Pull up the paint-loaded vegetable and press it flat against the surface you are decorating. Apply gentle, even pressure. Be careful not to let the vegetable slip or slide on the surface, for it will smear the results. Slowly pull the vegetable straight back off of the surface. The imprint of the vegetable shape will be left. Reload the vegetable with paint for each separate application.
If you like, you can use a small craft brush to add leaves or stems, or some white for highlights. When you are done, simply discard the vegetables and clean up paint supplies as usual.
You can use just one vegetable, or you can use a variety of them to achieve a garden motif.
Using this basic technique, you can indulge in a number of fun painting projects to liven up your kitchen. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
A DECORATIVE WALL:
Instead of using expensive wall paper or tedious stencils, try using vegetable painting to liven up one or more walls in your kitchen. Simply stamp the vegetables at random on your wall(s). Try to space them somewhat evenly, and alternate them if you are using a variety. You might also want to alternate the way you tilt the vegetables for a varied effect, so that they don’t all stand up straight as if at attention.
VEGETABLE WALL BORDER:
Decide at which height you would like your wall border and use a chalk line to create a straight guide. Make another chalk line 6 to 8 inches below the first. You may want to tape off the area with masking tape and paint a base coat over it first that contrasts or compliments with your wall color.
When the base coat is dry, stamp the vegetables along the border surrounding the kitchen. Vary the placement so that some are higher, some are lower, some are in the middle. Use the larger vegetables first, such as egg plants and long carrots, then fill in smaller spaces with smaller veggie accents from broccoli spears and mushrooms.
Add leaves and stems, or highlights, if desired.
With a brush and some paint, you can paint along the edge of the tape if you would like to give the border a finished edge.
DECORATIVE CUTTING BOARDS:
Go to a dollar store and obtain one or more inexpensive cutting boards. If they do not already have a hole for hanging, pre-drill them in the upper center so they can be suspended from a nail.
If you like, you can apply a coat of base paint, or you can leave the natural wood if you prefer the look.
In the center of the cutting board, stamp a large vegetable. If you like, decorate the corners or edges with smaller vegetable stamps.
Allow to dry, then display prominently in your kitchen by hanging on the wall. Try arranging several, each with a different vegetable stamp, in a pleasing pattern.