Mid Week Make – Apple Shrunken Heads!

abc doesCreativity, Talk2 Comments

These weren’t my idea, I came across them on the internet and just had to have a go.


Initially I made them as talk prompts as part of an activity for my next book about display. The whole concept of a severed head is wonderfully gorey, but also the process of the initial making and then the ensuing decay is fascinating. Not to mention the end results. I love them!

They are dead easy to make (excuse the pun)!


You need

  • Apples (any sort will do)
  • Apple peeler
  • Play dough utenstils
  • Blunt wooden skewers or sticks
  • Lemon juice (optional)
  • Water (optional)


My boys loved making them. I obviously don’t condone the drinking of wine whilst working with children (unless they are your own and you are in your own home)!

What to do

  • Peel your apples
  • Use your dough utensils to dig out eyes, nose and mouth hole.
  • The great thing is, that because they shrink down quite considerably, you don’t need to be particularly artistic or accurate. The more random the better.
  • If you want your head to have teeth, then stick them in now. You can experiment with the sorts of things that you use. I used black and white rice and dried star anise.
  • If you don’t want to risk your apples  going  mouldy then dip them in a solution of lemon juice and water. I didn’t ‘dip’ as I thought a bit of mould might add to the interest. As it was, mine didn’t go mouldy, but I got some lovely brown ‘ooze’


  • Once you have finished sculpting and dipping then stick your shrunken head on a skewer or stick and leave to shrink.


Depending on the temperature, airflow and the size of your apples it can take up to two weeks before they are ready.


TIP: Don’t let your shrunken heads touch while they are shrinking , this encourages more of a mushy head than a shrunken one!

Once they are done, let your imagination run wild!

Have fun shrinking…


2 Comments on “Mid Week Make – Apple Shrunken Heads!”

  1. i had a little boy last year who’s grandfather worked for the natural history museum. In his grandfathers shed he had a few shrunken heads. They spent many hours talking about how they were made and he would relate the details to us at pre-school with accuracy. He would have loved these…perhaps i’ll forward the post to his new teacher!

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