Carve Shrunken Head Apples

Do you need a Granny face for a doll? Perhaps you'd like to do something ghoulish for Halloween? Or are you looking for a new carving medium? If you've got a stash of apples in your pantry, you can use them for all of the above. Folk dolls made from carved apples have been around at least since the settlers of early rural Study in America for a Year made dolls from whatever was plentiful at the time. Carved Slice an Apple Using an Apple Cutter heads can last for years if dried properly and painted or sprayed with sealant. Here's an interesting way to preserve your apples...


  1. Thoroughly wash the apple with water.
  2. Peel the apple.
  3. Core the apple.
  4. Soak the apple in a mixture of lemon juice and salt (1 cup of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of salt) for about 15-30 minutes. This will keep the apple from turning dark.
  5. Carve the face as desired, exaggerating the features.

    Draw the face first with water based markers. Do not worry too much about it because as the apple dries, your "mistakes" will shrink. Plus, apples are delicious, and so "failed" carvings can be eaten on the spot.
  6. Dip your "finished" face in the lemon juice mixture again.
  7. Place the apple in a food dehydrator or in a warm, dry, well ventilated place. You can insert a wire into the apple to hang it, pierce the center with a long skewer and put it in a vase, or place it on a rack. Make sure air reaches the entire surface of the apple so that it dries evenly. See Warnings.
  8. Turn the apple over every 12 hours or so until dry. It'll feel "spongy" when it's done.
    • Note: Core holes will expand when drying.
    • Even the most rudimentary of carvings yield an interesting "face".


  • Choose a firm apple.
  • Add rice or dried out yellow corn "teeth", button eyes, fake hair (try pillow stuffing or wool), etc. You can color in the cheeks and draw lips with a bit of red paint.
  • Each apple dries differently, so no two faces will ever be the same. All of them, however, will look elderly or ghoulish.


  • Apple peelers, corers and paring knives are all sharp edged tools. Handle with care.
  • Drying the apple head will be more difficult when the humidity is high. Sometimes this can cause it to develop mold before it dries. To prevent this from happening, use a dehydrator, or put the apple in front of a fan or on the dashboard of a car with all the windows closed.

Things You'll Need

  • Fresh apples with no bruises
  • Apple corer (paring knife and spoon may also be used)
  • Apple peeler
  • Sharp paring knife
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon salt

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Sources and Citations