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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002


  • Thursday, Friday10 am-3 pm
  • Saturday 10am – 4 pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 4 pm

Closed Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday

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Making Art Together

Veggie Printing

Every Art Studio intern at The Carle designs a special one day art activity for Museum guests with the guidance and assistance of the Studio Educators. Aiyi, one of our recent interns, hosted a special Studio activity exploring prints made with fruits and vegetables. Together, we sat down to write about how it went from her point of view.

When I was asked to design a Special Sunday project, I first thought about how I do my own art. Sometimes it's hard to explain what my work is about, since what I'm doing is just playing with the color, shape, and the texture of materials. I wanted the Museum guests to have as much fun with materials as I do. You may have done veggie printing at home or school before, but for a Special Sunday we prepare for around 60 people to be able to participate. That means that the project design has a lot to do with how we set up the materials and space.

Special Sunday at The Eric Carle Museum

After talking with Diana and Meghan, I decided to assign a color to each type of veggie (we used tempera paint) and give each color/veggie combo its own table. Color mixing is fun, but if we placed the colors close together, the crossing of veggie stamps would mix all the colors to brown pretty quickly. The veggies we used for this project: broccoli, brussel sprouts, celery, white mushrooms and bell peppers. I cut all of the veggies in half and visitors printed with the flat side, producing a range of marks in the paint. People discovered many techniques for using these common materials. Some used the veggies to print, some to brush, and some mixed colors. Many liked the sound of the veggies dropping on the table.

Special Sunday at The Eric Carle Museum

Some created a landscape, one created an image of flower in a vase, and others were abstract. I think the project attracted kids that don't love making art because it was just about playing with materials.

Special Sunday at The Eric Carle Museum

Providing paper in long strips and squares helped suggest pattern design and adding a tray of blue paint containing all the veggies offered a variation of shapes with just one color. Pulling the chairs away encouraged movement. If I have an opportunity to do this again, I would like to experiment with using natural material as paint, to make the experience closer to nature. I would also like to try bringing fruit into this project.

We bought our veggies from a local farm market, and then cleaned and composted them when we were done. Not everyone likes the idea of using food to create art, so feel free to switch out the veggies with natural objects such as shells, feathers and sea sponges, or manmade found objects such as juice caps or product packaging. Also, check out our other Printmaking posts for other printing and stamping ideas.



We enjoy exploring materials and ideas in the Art Studio, and we’re excited to share our process with you! Please consider the following factors when adapting these posts for your learning environment: 

We facilitate a variety of programs within the Art Studio for a wide range of age groups. Please carefully consider the age appropriateness of each individual activity in your own learning environment.

Our projects are always done with adult supervision and proper safety precautions. Be sure all of your projects are overseen by adults who likewise follow proper safety precautions. The adults overseeing your project must also be responsible for handling or assisting with any potentially harmful equipment or materials. 

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is not responsible for any damages, injuries or liabilities that result from any activities contained within this website, and we expressly disclaim any responsibility or liability therefor. From time to time, we reference materials that we have found to be particularly important in our projects. We do not receive any monetary compensation for recommending materials. 




Friday, September 9, 2012 - 3:27 pm
Hi Sharon, Thanks for you comment. Sensitive to food allergies and cultural beliefs, we use food for art making rarely. Its our hope, that by selecting a particular material to use- whether found materials, paint, markers, or veggies etc., we're drawing awareness and appreciation for it. If we were a studio that said we use only trash/found materials for art making, and then used food, I could see how that might send a mixed message. We didn't combine food and found materials in the project, so I don't think kids were being sent a mixed message. Also, we selected veggies from a local farm stand and returned them to a compost when we were done, so in this case I think the benefits were worth it.
Friday, August 8, 2012 - 11:07 am
Hello, I know from my own work with young children, that this is often a really appreciated activity. It enables children to explore the material and play with the results. Printing really is a great art exploration activity. I do want to offer the idea that using food as an art material is not okay with many parents, teachers, and cultural beliefs. When the art studio also talks about trash being a wonderful resource of materials, are you giving the message, inadvertently, that food is trash? Food is a resource that many cannot afford to use as an art material. Just a thought today...
daria wilber
Tuesday, April 4, 2015 - 1:01 pm
Thank you for the veggie station idea. I am planning to use fruit veggie prints this weekend at a family day at Bemis School of Art in Colorado Springs and I was trying to think of a way to manage the bedlam! PS: I am a hand papermaker, so the veggies/fruits will be cooked down and added to a batch of handmade paper.
Thursday, May 5, 2015 - 2:11 pm
Hi Daria, I'm so glad this is helpful to you. We've had plenty of experience organizing activities for large numbers of people, The greater the number of options, the longer people will take at a station, so if you need to keep your guests moving through, offer fewer color/veggie/object options but more setups of the color/object combos your use. Have fun and please let us know how it goes!

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