Here’s a fun art project that kids love to do. It uses household objects to make pictures of the sun on tinfoil. The activity is diverse enough to allow creativity at all levels. It also offers a wonderful introduction to etching, printmaking and lithograph.
Here’s how to get started:
Pick up some heavy strength tinfoil—it’s a little thicker than regular strength and produces stronger impressions. I recommend 12 inch width because it tears nicely into a usable size. The only other things you need are basic household objects—can, fork, bottle caps, etc, which I’ll mention as we go along.
Start by laying a bath towel onto your kitchen table. This will create a nice, soft surface for the impressions. (You can also use several dish towels instead of bath towel if the surface seems too soft). Next tear off a piece of tinfoil—something close to a square is easy to work with, but the size can vary. Place sheet of tinfoil on the towel and you’re ready to get started.
Here’s how to make this first picture of the sun:
1. Gently press a can of vegetables (or soup, etc.) into middle of your surface.
2. Hold the can in place while you make fork marks around the center.
3. Now lift the can and set it aside. Use different caps to make circles inside the center of the sun. Here a cap from a gallon of milk was used for the large inner circle. Next a vinegar bottle cap was used to make the two smaller inner circles.
1. Fold your sheet in half four times—twice from left to right, then twice from bottom to top.
2. Make strong fork impressions all going in one direction.
3. Carefully unfold the sheet of tinfoil.
4. Use a can to make impression in the center.
Here’s how this picture is made:
1. Press can down in middle of square.
2. Keep can in place while making fork marks in north and south directions.
3. Use a spring (found at any hardware store) to make impressions in the east and west directions.
4. Use fork to make remaining impressions around center (in NE, NW, SE, SW directions).
5. Press cap to make small circle at end of N, S, E and W rays of sun.
Other around the house objects that work well:
- Soda bottle cap–the pointy edges give a science fiction feel to your picture.
- Book–trace edges with drivers license, then press can down in center of rectangle impression. Make rays as usual.
- Spaghetti sticks–firmly press a notebook over the spaghetti sticks which have been placed onto surface.
- Roll of masking tape– press to make corona around center of sun.
Printmaking: All of the procedures used in this art project can be repeated on compressed styrofoam sheets for printmaking (except where folding is involved). If you’re willing to work smaller, you can also try a styrofoam poultry or meat tray (from your grocery store). Simply use a block print roller to roll paint over the engraved styrofoam surface. Then press the engraving onto paper to make a print. When you’re finished, gently wash the original engraving with soap and water for later use.
Doing a kids’ tinfoil art project is fun and easy. The unique surface introduces kids to new materials and reinforces the idea that artistic expression can take many forms. When you’re finished simply roll a bit of tape beneath the four corners and mount on any surface.