How to Use Food for Art

Although you may be aware of the adage "Don't play with your food," food can play a large part in the creation of art. If you have seen classical still life paintings, Andy Warhol's pop art or modern cake design, you know that food can be an expressive medium. Food art is temporary, which can add to its appeal. Food can be part of the art supplies or the art itself, and it can often be used for children's crafts, such as macaroni art or gingerbread houses. Choose 1 or more of the following ways that you can fashion food into artwork, and document it well before it changes. Learn how to use food for art.


  1. Image titled Use Food for Art Step 1
    Learn to paint still life settings. Still life painting is a classical form of studying inanimate objects. Take an acrylic or oil still life class at your local community college, university or community center and you will find yourself painting fruit, cheese, place settings, cornucopias and many other edible subjects.
    • After you have taken a still life class, you can begin to set up your own still life studies at home. Place a few different types of food on a wooden table and begin painting. Challenge yourself to paint a new food-based still life every day.
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    Learn to intricately paint Easter eggs. Although they may seem like a child's project, both children and adults can creatively color Easter eggs with a number of different art supplies. Try 1 of the following Easter egg art projects:
    • Hard boil eggs. Take them in an oven mitt when they are still hot and apply crayon wax to the surface. The wax melts to the hot surface creating a marble look. Apply different colored crayons to accent your first color. Allow them to dry by creating a small ring out of paper and setting it on top. Once they are dry, you can display them on Easter or during mealtime.
    • Hard boil eggs and allow them to cool. Wrap rubber bands around the eggs horizontally and vertically. Try many different patterns to create different abstract patterns. Stop when you have created a net around your egg. Soak the egg in Easter egg dye or a mix of water and food coloring and white vinegar. Remove the egg and allow it to dry, then take off the rubber bands. Put new bands on and place it in another dye color for a two toned effect.
    • Hard boil eggs. Allow them to cool and dry. Tear off small pieces of dyed crepe paper. Soak each paper individually in water and place it on a section of the egg. Repeat that with other colors and shapes of crepe paper until the egg is covered in moist crepe paper squares. Allow the squares to sit for 5 minutes and then remove them. Allow the egg to dry, and it will look like a stained glass egg.
    • Repeat any of these egg decorating methods with hollowed, sometimes called "blown-out" eggs. If you are a good painter, study Ukrainian egg painting, which uses small brushes to create intricate designs on empty eggs.
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    Photograph your food. This type of photography is a difficult art and a skill you can leverage in the business world. Take a photography class at a photography school, read books and practice the best way to convey the delicious look of food through the lens.
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    Learn fruit and vegetable carving. Search online and specifically on You Tube for vegetable and Thai carving tutorials.
    • Find an ebook or library book on food carving. Some culinary schools also offer classes on learning to do decorative fruit and vegetable carving.
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    Become a barista. Once you learn to make cappuccinos and lattes, you can learn to draw faces, designs and shapes in the top of the foam. Search for "latte art" on the Internet to find good examples of this rare food art.
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    Make decorative sugar cookies. If you've ever made Christmas cookies, then you know that cookie cutters, icing and piping bags can create a number of intricate cookie decorations. Construct your own cookie cutters from plastic, tin or milk carton cardboard, and then experiment with frosting colors.
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    Create potato stamps. With this child-friendly art project, your food is your art supply.
    • Clean and dry potatoes. Cut them in half across the narrow section. With a knife, carve a shape into the freshly cut end of the potato. Repeat this with other potatoes and other shapes. Once you have carved your shapes, children can join in the craft.
    • Ready fabric paint to stamp on shirts or bags. Ready acrylic paint to stamp on paper. Dip the stamps in the paint and push them onto the paper or fabric. Repeat with other stamps to create a design.
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    Practice pumpkin carving. This fairly well known food art can be as intricate, abstract or specific as you want to make it. Search for images on the Internet, find patterns or simply hollow out a number of pumpkins as they are harvested and practice.
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    Emulate famous food artists. With the interest in food art growing, images from dozens of pioneering artists can be found on the Internet. Look up 1 of the following artists and try to create similar artwork according to your artistic prowess.
    • Search for "Foodscapes" by Carl Warner. Using a mixture of food, photography and graphic design, Warner emulates natural landscapes with broccoli, mushrooms, garlic and more. Take a landscape photograph and try to recreate it with food.
    • Find Jim Victor the food sculptor. Victor carves butter, chocolate, cheese and even sandwich makings to look like people and places. If you like this kind of art, you can enter it into contests across the country.
    • Search for images of jelly bean art by Pete Rocha. By gathering gallons of jelly beans, you can plan an image and create it with colors, similar to making mosaics with tiles. Make sure to glue them on to a hard platform.
    • Look up "Food Play" by Joost Elffers and Saxton Freymann. These creative artists create animals using a mixture of different produce. They create pigs from zucchini, penguins from eggplant and sheep from cauliflower.

Things You'll Need

  • Still life painting class
  • Ukrainian egg painting class
  • Eggs
  • Dye
  • Crepe paper
  • Rubber bands
  • Potatoes
  • Paint
  • Pumpkins
  • Knife
  • Camera
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Jelly beans
  • Blocks of chocolate, butter or cheese

Article Info

Categories: Improving Drawing Skills | Painting