Aristotle once said, "Art not only imitates nature, but also completes its deficiencies." Nowhere is this more true than in the art of crafting fake fruit. Fake fruit is used as a substitute for real food in decorative displays and theatrical performances. Fake fruit allows the user to enjoy the display longer, avoids wasting food and simulates contact with unsafe items. Making fake fruit is not about originality, but rather vision: the ability to distinguish the characteristics that make an item appear genuine. Sharpen your skills by studying real and fake fruit.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Baking tray
- Paint brush
Study real fruit. Keep several pieces of fruit nearby for reference as you work.
Shape clay until it resembles the size and shape of the real fruit. Use a ruler to press the clay and form smooth flat regions such as the sides of a banana. Roll a foam cylinder over clay to make indentations. Rub the surface of the clay with a spoon to smooth the clay.
Add texture to the skin with material such as leather or sandpaper. Roll the clay against the textured surface as desired.
Cut the fruit in half, if it will be sliced. Use the knife to carve the centre of the fruit and add veining or seeds. Make a pit by coating a small ball of clay with a thin layer of textured clay, or texture clay with a real pit.
Place the clay on a baking tray that is reserved for crafts. Bake or cure clay as directed by the manufacturer.
Sand down any finger prints or imperfections.
Paint the fruit in layers with acrylics. Apply a base coat to cover imperfections. Colour the piece in thin layers, and highlight curves with gloss medium. Darken shadows, stems, indentations and crevices with a small amount of a darker hue. Avoid putting white or black directly on the fruit; these colours are rare in nature and over-reliance on them will make your piece look flat and fake.
Allow the paint to cure for 48 to 72 hours.
Apply a sealer. Use a matt sealer for the skin and a gloss for exposed flesh.
Tips and warnings
- Make a fruit mould out of plaster to achieve a more true-to-life shape and texture. Fill a deep pan with plaster. Skewer a fruit through the middle. Place the fruit so that the skewer rests on the rim of the pan and half of the fruit is embedded in the plaster. When the plaster cures, remove the fruit and clean the mould with water.
- Paper mache is a difficult medium to control. If using paper mache as your fruit material, opt for pulp or paper mache clay instead of traditional strips.
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