Professional artists and crafters, like Margaret Dorfman, have gained notoriety creating fruit and vegetable parchment bowls. These delicate looking bowls can be created in many shapes and colors and provide an artistic focal point to your table or mantle. While artists may keep their own process well guarded, you can try following the steps below to experiment and create your own object of art.
Select your fruit or vegetable. Pick foods with bright colors or contrast, such as cucumbers whose bright skin contrasts with the pale insides.
Thinly slice your selected food. A mandolin set on the thinnest setting works well. Uniform, round slices work the best.
If needed, dehydrate the food slices. Some types of food will lose their color if dehydrated, so you may want to skip this step.
Press the slices. Set on a flat surface and place heavy books on top. Let sit for at least a few hours or a day. This will produce paper-thin slices to work with.
Begin to form your bowl. Place another bowl upside down on a table and cover it with wax paper. Begin laying your slices starting at the top of the bowl and working your way down the sides. Slightly overlap each slice.
Apply a liberal layer of shellac to the outside of the bowl and let dry completely.
After the shellac has dried, gently tip it over and remove the wax paper and bowl you used for forming. Apply a layer of shellac to the inside of your parchment bowl and let it dry completely
Apply additional coats of shellac to add sturdiness. Keep in mind, however, that these bowls will be delicate.
Once you get the hang of it, you can try creating your own free form shapes to use for molds. Use Styrofoam, clay or anything else you can mold into an interesting shape. Experiment with various fruits and vegetables and try combining foods for more color and contrast.
Note that these bowls will not be appropriate for holding or serving food.