How to Make a Cauliflower Brain Model

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The rippled and bumpy surface of cauliflower looks similar to that of the brain.
The rippled and bumpy surface of cauliflower looks similar to that of the brain. (Image: cauliflower image by Zbigniew Nowak from Fotolia.com)

Making a model of the brain is an activity that can teach children about the workings of the brain, or yield a realistic looking prop to use as décor for a Halloween party. Using cauliflower and food coloring you can have some fun and get creative when making a brain model, as well as save money by using relatively cheap items you can find at the grocery store.

Things You'll Need

  • Head of cauliflower (slightly oval shaped)
  • Newspaper
  • Glass or metal bowl
  • Red food coloring
  • Large cotton balls
  • Chopping knife
  • Popsicle stick
  • Hot glue gun with glue sticks

Rinse your head of cauliflower and remove any green leaves that are on it. Chop off the bottom stump base of your cauliflower so that it can sit on a flat surface. The area where the base is will be the underside of your brain.

Lay out newspaper and set cauliflower atop. Newspaper will protect your workspace from dye and damage. Pour food coloring into a glass or metal bowl, as plastic can suffer stains from food coloring.

Dip a large cotton ball into the food coloring and begin wiping it over a section of your cauliflower. When wiped across the surface of cauliflower the dye will spread and take on a dark pink and slightly uneven appearance similar to that of the brain. Continue working over small sections of your head of cauliflower until it is completely covered. Allow dye to set and dry for an hour.

Cut your head of cauliflower in half down the center lengthwise. These two separate pieces will represent the right and left sides of the brain, and should have a small gap between them accordingly.

Apply hot glue to one side of a popsicle stick and glue it flat to the cut side of one of your brain halves. Allow glue to dry, then apply glue to the other side of the stick and stick it to the cut surface of your other brain half. Hold it together for a minute so that the glue can dry. The popsicle stick in between the two halves will give the small amount of space needed to show the separation of the two halves of the brain.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can spray your brain with clear shellac to give it a slimy brain gloss or you can pour oil over it on a plate and set it up to display.
  • Label the brain's different sections with some acrylic latex paint and a small artist's brush to paint lettering.
  • Have an adult chop the head of cauliflower in half. Also have an adult handle any hot gluing to be done.

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