Metal Embossing Masks – Repousse Lesson

 Metal Embossing Masks – Repousse Lesson

Project Objective: Use the specific elements & principles of art listed below to create a mask with non-objective or abstract design in foil relief (repousse).
• 5 Elements: Line, Shape, Color, Form & Texture
• 5 Principles: Emphasis (Focal Point), Variety, Rhythm (Pattern), Unity & Movement

Supplies: 36 gauge Tooling Foil  cut into 9″x12″ sheets-St. Louis Crafts 12″”X5′ 36 GA ALM Foil Sheet Roll, 12″ x 60″ Size, 36 Gauge, Aluminum, Popsicle sticks and Clay Modeling Tools, Rubbing Plates with various textures-Fiskars Texture Plates 1, Tape, Ball point pens, Foam sheets (12×18), Various colored Sharpie Markers & Permanent Markers, Extras: Feather Assortment, gems/jewels, Pipe Cleaners, wire, Yarn, Raffia, ribbon, Scissors, Hot Glue Gun or Tacky Glue

The tools we use in class are from Amazon: Metal Embossing Tools Stylus

Here are the Fiskar Rubbing plates we use-they are hard plastic which hold up well while rubbing the metal against it.


  • Repousse: A method of creating a relief design by hammering or pressing the reverse side of a metal surface.  Literal meaning in French, “pushed up”.
  • Techniques:
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.


  1. Draw sketches for a mask in sketchbook.
  2. Draw final design on 9 x 12 sheet of paper using pencil
  3. Tape paper to 38 gauge Tooling Foil
  4. Place a foam sheet under the foil & trace your design onto foil using ball point or dull pencil.
  5. Remove drawing from foil.
  6. Use various foil embossing techniques & rubbing plates to create designs in the mask. Use repousse and chasing techniques to “push and pull” foil, molding it into the designs you desire. Work from both sides of the foil. Be gentle so foil doesn’t tear – push a little at a time.
  7. Use Sharpies and permanent markers to color mask
  8. Cut out mask – Be careful – edges can cut.
  9. Add adornment to the mask by incorporating feathers and other (Feathers, yarn or jute hair/beards, gems, sequin, etc)

10. Glue colored/painted dowels rod to mask.

11. Drill a hole in a piece of wood for the base. Paint the base to be harmonious with the mask.

Video Tutorial: Repousse – Foil Embossing Techniques

Another Repousse Project: Aluminum Foil-Metal Embossing (Repousse) Ornament
If you choose to use this lesson or to repost it, please link it back to my blog. Create Art with ME

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