Family Art Activity: Foil Engraving with Rienzi May 3, 2020

Families, get ready for a special art activity with Ryan Hernandez, the learning & interpretation coordinator at Rienzi. Artists of all ages can make a foil engraving just like the work of skillful silversmiths! Check out the how-to video and instructions below.

The collection at Rienzi, the MFAH house museum for European decorative arts, showcases an array of artists’ techniques, including excellent examples of engraved silver.

One highlight is Paul de Lamerie’s Ewer, which features an intricately engraved armorial design with eagles, a crown, fish scales, leaves, and shells. Get inspired by the art at Rienzi, then share your work of art using #MFAHatHome on Instagram and Twitter.

• Scissors
• Dull pencil
• Marker
• Glue or glue stick
• Cardboard
• Paper
• Aluminum foil
• Tape

Instructions (follow along with the video)

1) Trace the cardboard piece onto paper to create your drawing, then cut into its lines.

2) Apply glue to one side of your cardboard and lay the foil with the shiny side facing up. Fold excess foil over the back of the cardboard and tape down as needed. Gently smooth out the surface as much as possible.

3) Take your drawing with the sketch facing up and tape down the top edge to the cardboard so it won’t move once you start tracing.

4) Trace your image onto the foil using a dull pencil. Don’t press too hard, or you might tear the foil.

5) Remove the sketch and retrace the drawing directly on the foil to smooth out lines and create more dimension.

6) Share your engraving! Use #MFAHatHome on social media. 

Learn more about Rienzi and the Rienzi Collection