Design Principles Metal Repousse and Drawing

Design Principles Metal Repousse and Drawing


My HS classes just finished these great metal repousse & drawing projects inspired by “Ms Shepherds Art Room-REPOUSSE WITH GEOMETRIC AND ORGANIC SHAPES“. Please give credit to her for the creation of this lesson! I changed ours up a bit and the altered project lesson plan I developed is below. We talked about elements/principles of art & composition. They started with the metal piece then extended their design onto paper.

Supplies: Metal Embossing Tools StylusSt Louis Crafts Aluminum Metal Foil Sheet Roll – 36 Gauge – 12 inches x 25 feetSpeedball Super Black India Ink, 1 PintRed Devil 0320 Steel Wool, 0000 Super Fine, 8 Pads, texture rubbing platesmat board, poster board, markers or colored pencils, glue


  • Student will learn how to use the proper tools and techniques for metal tooling-Repousse.
  • Students understand how the principles of Emphasis (Focal Point), Variety, Rhythm (Pattern), Unity & Movement apply to make the whole piece of art unified.
  • Students will create a low relief image in metal (silver foil) using the process of repoussé.
  • Student will be able to determine the difference between organic and geometric shapes and use a variety of both.
  • Students will create a design that will be rendered on both a 2D surface and a 3D surface.


  1. Review Elements and principles of art.
  2. Composition is the intentional use of the elements and principles to arrange the artwork in a visually pleasing and intriguing way. (See Composition Methods lesson & Music Instrument Composition project)
  3. Repousse: A method of creating a relief design by hammering or pressing the reverse side of a metal surface.
  4. Literal meaning in French, “pushed up“.
  5. The techniques of repoussé and chasing utilize the plasticity of metal, forming shapes by degrees. There is no loss of metal in the process, as it is stretched locally and the surface remains continuous. *Be careful not to press too hard or you will puncture through the metal.
  6. Techniques: (Teacher Guided Demo)
    1. Chasing is the opposite technique to repoussé, and the two are used in conjunction to create a finished piece. It is also known as embossing.
    2. While repoussé is used to work on the reverse of the metal to form a raised design on the front, chasing is used to refine the design on the front of the work by sinking the metal.

Activity: Repousse’ Tile & Drawing

Use the specific elements & principles of art listed below to create a non-objective in foil relief (repousse) & extend design onto paper.
• 5 Elements: Line, Shape, Color, Form & Texture
• 5 Principles: Emphasis (Focal Point), Variety, Rhythm (Pattern), Unity & Movement
Create the repousse design first, then use a pencil to extend your design onto a sheet of 15×15” white paper & color with either colored pencils or colored sharpies/markers.

*Pre-cut a 6″ aluminum square for each student

Instructions for Repousse:

  1. In your sketchbook, draw two squares. Create 2 different sketches for your design. Square Template for Repousse
  2. Upon approval of design, get a final design paper and draw your design onto it in pencil. Use contour line to draw the drawing of your basic design (lines & shapes only-no shading).
  3. After the demo & practice session, use embossing tools and repousse/chasing techniques to create your design. Have some convex & concave lines & shapes.
  4. Use texture plates to create texture (pattern).
  5. Either use permanent colored markers to color the metal or use the antiquing method with India ink to paint & burnish it with steel wool.
  6. Wait till the drawing portion is finished. then NEATLY glue it onto your mat board.

Design Principles Metal Repousse and Drawing

Instructions for Drawing:

  1. Decide where you want to place the repousse on the paper (not in the middle!) & with a pencil trace the outline of it. Use double stick tape to hold it in place (we will glue it later). This is your focal point.

  2. Extend your major design elements onto the paper. You can either keep them in their original state or begin to abstract them.

  3. Use either colored pencils, colored sharpies or markers to color it. You can either have flat color or add a 3D look with shading (use colored pencil to do this)!

  4. Wait till the drawing portion is finished, then NEATLY glue it onto your paper.

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Design Principles Metal Repousse and Drawing

  1. Monica Di Bisceglie

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