Monday, October 26, 2009

Inspiration in Ink: Fruits of Fashion

Usually when I get inspired by something I saw in a magazine, it's a stamping magazine that draws me in. The inspiration for this particular project came from a more broader-based magazine, Martha Stewart Living.

When I saw Jean's wonderful tutorial on leaf prints, it reminded me of an article I had seen awhile back in Martha Stewart Living about decorating a backpack with apple prints. I decided not only to try my own fruit bag but also to use vegetables as well for a different look.

My first tote I did pretty much as the directions on the Martha Stewart website indicated. It was very simple.

For supplies, you need:
assorted fruits and/or vegetables with interesting shapes
fabric paint in a few complimentary colors
plain fabric totes, t-shirts or bags *
foam paint brushes
paper plates (these will be your palettes)
fabric marker for stems

* available at most craft stores

First, you have to cut your fruit or vegetable, then apply fabric paint with a brush to the now-flat part of your food stamp and finally press onto the tote bag as you would with any inked stamp. Extremely simple, right?

Well, as I often find when I try things the first time, it doesn't always work out as expected. A couple of my stamped images had imperfect edges or were a little light in the middle. No problem! I just dipped my handy foam brush into the paint and patched up the areas that I wanted to fix.

To finish it off, I used a fabric marker to add stems to my various fruits. Here's what the finished piece looks like:

For my second project, I wanted to see what I could do with vegetables to make a less obvious pattern. When you stamp an apple, it looks like an apple! I started out with an artichoke and some green fabric paint. I thought the lovely layers would make a great texture splotch on my next bag. I was right! The impression was just yummy!

To start, I poured some fabric paint directly onto my paper plate palette and then made sure that there was fairly even coverage by spreading the paint with my foam brush. I then placed the artichoke directly in the paint and used it as a standard stamp. It even came with its own handle!

For other shapes, I picked a pepper, a carrot and a bit of celery. I started with the pepper, stamping it in a light tan color, slightly overlapping the artichoke impressions here and there. As with a stamping project, I went off the edge a little here and there for some more visual interest.

Next, I added electric orange circles using my carrot. Then, I used the cut end of a bit of celery to make some yellow patterns. Finally, I thought my beautiful pepper rings looked a little bare. I used a mushroom top to put some wonderful imperfect circles in the middle of the rings.

It looks a little crazy, but I really liked the effect. What I love most is that most people would never guess I made it by raiding my refrigerator.

Here's my finished bag:
If you are looking for a super quick and fun way to decorate a tote or t-shirt, stamping with fruits and vegetables is certainly an appetizing way to may some delicious fashion items!


  1. Shar, these are fabulous! I especially LOOOOVE the artichoke one - how very creative of you! That artichoke would work so well to make a sort of old-fashioned cabbage rose-looking print, too, if done in pink. Another must-try for me :) TFS

  2. What a fun project - the possibilities are endless. Super cute bags - thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Wow .. SHar, these are fabulous are so clever x

  4. what a fantstic idea and I love the results!


Thanks for your wonderful words!

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