Physically, socially and mentally, we depend on and enjoy food. Since it is such an integral part of life, it is no surprise that the fake-food industry thrives on supplying movie sets with props, restaurants with food displays, food photographers with subjects, and educators with hands-on teaching materials. If you don't want to pay a premium for professionally done fake foods, create your own at home. Not only will you save money, but these foods never spoil.
Use felt to make inexpensive plush fake food. You can hand-sew virtually any type of food for a child's play kitchen or assembly toy. There are intricate patterns available, but you only need your imagination and rudimentary sewing skills to complete projects. To make an assembly-type food toy, such as a sandwich, pizza or sushi, add sew-on snaps to your projects. Little fingers can create a meal over and over again.
Polymer Clay Foods
For realistic-looking mini foods suitable for a dollhouse or to craft into cute jewellery, use polymer clay, which comes in many colours that you can mould into intricately detailed food items. Use your creations to stage a dollhouse feast or make charms for earrings, bracelets or rings. Polymer clay cures in a regular oven.
Real Food Packaging and Pictures
Recycle cans and cardboard-food boxes into play-food props. Use a safety can opener to open canned goods, clean the cans and then glue on the lids. Replace the labels to indicate the "contents" of the can. Use empty, single-serve cereal boxes for a play pantry. Leave the boxes as they are, or tape a piece of decorated paper around the box for a different label. To craft foods that are not packaged, cut out pictures of food from magazines and adhere them to cardboard.
Practical Joke Fakes
Children will have fun crafting fake food spills to fool their friends or parents. For a chocolate-milk spill, mix glue with brown puffy paint until it is a colour darker than actual chocolate milk, as it will lighten as it dries. Pool the mixture on waxed paper then place a cup on its side in the mixture. Peel the cup and the spill off the waxed paper when it is completely dry. Create a ketchup mess by pooling red acrylic craft paint on waxed paper. Place a clean, empty ketchup packet in the wet paint and let it dry. It could take up to a week to dry, so plan ahead for these projects.