DIY: Cool Art with Aluminum Foil, Glue & Shoe Polish!


View From The Cabin, By Captain and Mom

This project is soooo cool!  Captain and I had a blast doing this, and it has a wide range of possibilities that meet the needs of smaller kids, big kids, and adults.  Our first attempt at creating aluminum foil, glue, and shoe polish art had some mistakes that we learned from.  Our second try was inspired by the view out of our front window at home.  We love how it turned out, and enjoyed working on it together.  We’d like to frame it as a “mom-n-daughter” piece 🙂 This project can be adapted to all kinds of images, and I hope you try it!

You’ll need:

A piece of cardboard (we used the back of a pad of watercolor-paper)

White glue and a glue stick

Heavy duty aluminum foil

Black shoe-polish (the kind that comes in a sponge-applicator bottle is best)


Create your basic image (don’t worry about the little details as they get added later) by drawing on the cardboard.  Go over all of the lines with the bottle of white glue, squeezing out some of the lines in a thin stream and go back over some of the main lines heavily with the glue.  Let it dry.  Or, as we did, you can skip the drawing part and just use the glue to make the free-form shapes.


As you can see here, the glue has dried clear.  If you run your fingers over it you will feel the relief-texture that will create the basic shapes in your picture.  Very simple!


Next, use the glue stick to go over the parts of the piece that don’t have the dried glue.  This will help hold the foil tightly onto the cardboard.  Be sure to rub the glue stick around all of the edges too.  You will then decide if you want the shiny side of the foil to show, or the matte side.  We chose the matte side, but it will depend on your image and the effect you would like to have.  Place the image, glue side down, onto the foil and press it down.  Be sure to have a big enough piece of foil so that you can wrap the flaps around and tape them on the back.



Put a piece of toilet paper, or a thin, soft cloth, over your fingertip and carefully (don’t rip the foil!) go over both the raised, and flat, parts of the image.  Take your time.  Use a cotton swab to go over every line to make the image really stand out.  This is an excellent time to talk about “relief”.


Ooh, good fun here.  Swab the whole thing with the shoe polish, wait a couple of minutes, and then wipe it all off with a paper towel.  Use a dull pencil to make details, textures and patterns on the foil.  If you used heavy-duty foil and your pencil is dull, the foil wont rip.  All these little swirls, dents and marks help add dimension and life to the finished piece. Cover it with the shoe polish once more, let set.


Wipe off the polish, taking care to let the very dark parts of the polish, right up against the edges of the raised parts stay.


Voila!  Your very own “antique-ish” piece of art!

Below you will see our first try.  We were inspired by two beautiful, pearlized ammonites.  Our mistake was that we used yarn to make our relief, and it was too thick for the foil.  We looked online and saw how others had made this project and learned that simple glue was enough to get a good relief.  We loved making this one and it turned out pretty sweet anyways!

IMG_6199  IMG_6193

The possibilities with this project are juicy and delightful!  We saw some nice owls and other free-form patterns when we looked online.  I hope you try this one.  It is inexpensive, easy and rewarding.

Cheers! Karen

Categories: Art Rocks For Kids!, Homeschooling Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

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18 thoughts on “DIY: Cool Art with Aluminum Foil, Glue & Shoe Polish!

  1. That is so cool! I can’t wait to try it. The instructions are really clear and helpful. Thanks!

    • I know you will enjoy this! It’s fun for big kids like me too. I plan on doing another one right away 🙂

  2. I am so anxious to try this… it is wonderful!!! I have used foil to create a stained glass look but I LOVE the ‘antique’ yet modern look this has! Thanks so much— Dy

  3. Great idea! I like how you experimented with yarn first and found glue to be better. Shows children how trial and error works. Very nice post 🙂

    • Thanks! My kid can be a stickler about things not being just right the very first time. The trial and error of life helps her see that there really aren’t mistakes, just learning opportunities. Funny how all those old sayings are true, time and time again. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  4. This is fantastic! What a cool piece you made. I’d never know the materials you used by looking at it.

    • Thanks! Do try this, it is too satisfying and fun to pass up. The best part is that, like you said, it doesn’t look like aluminum foil and is very sturdy. Thanks for writing!

  5. Great Project and easy to follow instructions. I will have to try it with my class some time. Thanks for posting.

  6. WOW!!! If you rotate the top (finished) pic counter clockwise, I see dancers in it! So pretty!

  7. This looks so fun and amazing; I’ll definitely be trying it with my 10 year old!

    • Cool! I saw a few examples online that some kids in the 10 year old age-range did and they were beautiful! I wish I could remember the site, but we looked at so many different ideas for foil, after we “foiled” the ammonite one 🙂 Hope you have fun trying this project!

  8. This is one I haven’t tried before. Will be saving the thread for future reference. 🙂

  9. Now that’s a new idea. Have to save this thread for future reference. 🙂

  10. Pingback: Holiday Crafts for Kids to Do

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