In our house, imagination is key to crafting. It's stepping beyond the boundaries and experimenting with different media to create a unique work of art.
Aluminum foil is one of those products that everyone has kicking around the drawer, but rarely gets used for anything but food. Aluminum foil is a fascinating product; it is both lightweight and durable, and has what I call "memory." It holds both wrinkles and texture, and can be sculpted into all sorts of interesting shapes.
There are three basic ways that aluminum can be sculpted with; the first is what's called a bas relief. A bas relief is a sculptural carving which barely projects from the background. The image of President Jefferson on the American nickel is a type of bas relief.
Your child can make her own bas relief by carving images into the back of a sheet of aluminum foil. Dull pencils, eraser tips, wooden spoons, and popsicle sticks are some of the objects a child can use to create different shapes and textures. To prepare the surface for creating a bas relief, thumbtack a sheet of aluminum to a soft surface, such as a sheet of cardboard or styrofoam. Have your child gently press in a design using a combination of the tools above. When she is satisfied with the image, remove the tacks and turn over the foil to reveal the bas relief image. It's that simple! A foil bas relief sculpture can be framed or even used as a one-of-a-kind gift wrap alternative.
A second method of sculpting with aluminum foil is to layer it over a framework or form. Thin sheets of aluminum foil are not strong enough to support their weight, wrapping it over a chicken wire frame or other object will give it the necessary strength to keep the project from collapsing. My children would loosely wrap foil over milk jugs, mustard and ketchup jars, and other items from the recycling bin. Once they had established the basic structure, they would use their finger tips to crimp the foil into eyes, ears, hair, and other features. A dull pencil pressed into the foil created additional details, such as pupils or lips. Acrylic paints or spray paint can also be applied to the foil sculpture to give it added interest.
A final method of sculpting with foil is what can be described as "free form." With free form sculpting, a child can use the aluminum as he would Playdoh or other modeling clay. For free form foil sculpting, large sheets of foil will be needed to shape into various figures and shapes. As with the layered approached, details can be added by crimping the foil into interesting features and then applying acrylic paints.
Aluminum foil sculpting is a low cost and unusual way of introducing your child to the art of sculpting. Best of all, it's easily available, relatively neat to use, and doesn't require expensive supplies.