There have been a few times during our marriage that my husband and I didn’t have the money to splurge on things like home décor or wall art. During those times, I found inventive ways of making my own. One of my favorite techniques was called Reverse Foil Art.
Done correctly, this technique lets you make beautiful pictures of almost anything you might want to put on your walls. I made sports theme art for my son; Strawberry Shortcake art for my daughter; and Victorian Art for myself.
This technique lets you explore your own creativity and it is a lot of fun to do. My children loved it enough that they helped in making wall art for their individual rooms.
Here is what you will need to get started:
A picture frame with glass;
Black permanent ink and pen (separate or together);
Pictures to copy;
Stained glass or translucent craft paint (that is safe for glass) and
Now follow this step by step instructions to make your own beautiful art.
Step 1. Remove the glass from your picture frame. This will be the canvas for your artwork. Set the frame aside.
Step 2. Choose a picture to copy. Be sure you choose a piece that can be easily reversed. For example, you couldn’t choose a clock because the numbers would not be in the right place when it is reversed.
Don’t choose anything too detailed in nature. For example, a landscape could be very hard to copy and might lose much in the translation.
Make certain the picture chosen is the proper size to fit within the frame. For example, you don’t want to put a 5″ by 7″ picture into an 11″ by 14″ frame or try to squeeze an 8″ by 11″ picture into a 7″ by 10″ frame. Make certain there is a balance between picture and unused space.
Step 3. Clean the glass thoroughly on both sides. If you paint over fingerprints or smudges, they will remain part of your picture forever.
Step 4. Place the glass on top of the picture to be copied. It can be centered or asymmetrical; however you want it to look for the end product.
Step 5. Using permanent black ink, trace the picture onto the picture frame. Be as detailed as possible so the artwork will look complete. Let the ink dry completely before moving to the next step.
Step 6. Choose the colors for your art. You can mimic those in the original picture or choose colors that go with the room where the piece will be displayed.
Step 7. Begin painting your piece using acrylic stained glass or translucent craft paint. Work with one color at a time, allowing it to dry before moving on to another. Be careful to remain within the ink lines.
To make the colors brighter, you can apply more than one coat as desired. To wash them out, you can mix a bit of paint with water to thin it out.
Continue the process until the entirety of the picture is painted. Let it dry completely.
Step 8. Cut a piece of tin foil 2″ to 3″ larger than picture frame backing. The extra amount is to allow for size change once the foil is crinkled.
Step 9. Crinkle the tin foil into a ball, being careful not to tear it as you do so.
Step 10. Smooth out the tin foil out slightly, leaving in as many crinkles as you want as long as the end size is large enough to cover the picture frame backing.
Step 11. Adhere the tin foil to the back of the picture frame. I recommend using spray-on adhesive since it allows you time to remove and replace it properly before it sets completely.
As an alternative, you can opt to just apply the foil directly behind the picture itself. That would leave the empty space of the frame plain. In that instance, you can choose a paper or fabric backing to fill in the empty space.
However, this technique takes meticulous cutting in order to keep the foil within the lines of the art piece alone. It also requires adhering the foil directly to the glass which can be tricky. I actually think the original technique works better for the most part.
Step 12. Place your completed glass artwork back into the frame and then apply the foil back piece. Check to make sure the foil covers edge to edge and that the picture’s details show well. If the colors aren’t bright enough, go back and add another coat before completing the framing.
The foil will make the colors of your artwork shimmer in the light. It will also appear to change from differing angles.
Finally, put your frame back together and hang or set it wherever you desire. That’s all there is to it. You have created your own original work of art.