Autumn Make – Apple Shrunken Heads!

Alistair Bryce-CleggChild Initiated Learning, Creativity, Talk5 Comments

I first made these a couple of years ago and they were a HUGE hit with the children. There is lots of opportunity for talk as well as observing how the apples change in size and colour.

As I say later in the instructions, the process takes about 2 weeks from start to finish so it is worth getting going on them early.


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! 

If you make any then please send me a picture and I will share them.

Have fun shrinking…


5 Comments on “Autumn Make – Apple Shrunken Heads!”

  1. Love this idea so I’ve tried it out at home during half term and shared with my F2 colleagues. Although I found them very simple and fun to make, I’m wondering how my F2s – who are still developing their fine motor skills – would manage using a peeler. Might try it in autumn 2!

  2. I am going to do this!! Think it might freak out some of my more sensitive souls. I read Funnybones to them the other day- they were petrified! Sorry, I’ve been in key stage 1 too long!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.