Mexican Tin Embossing
snack: How about a Tortilla Pizza?
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sprinkle ¼ C. shredded, low-fat mozzarella cheese
(or spicier Mexican cheese) on one 7" whole-wheat tortilla. Slice one plum
tomato into thin slices and arrange on top. Bake in a nonstick pan on the
bottom rack of the oven for 10 minutes or until the tortilla is crisp. You can
shake on a little basil and drizzle up to 1 tsp. of olive oil. Then eat and
A globe or world map
One piece of thick cardboard
One disposable foil cookie sheet with
a plain, smooth, flat surface
Permanent bright-colored markers such
as Sharpie brand
One section of old newspaper
Tin embossing is a popular craft from Mexico. Look up
Mexico on a world map or globe and see how far it is from your neck of the
When Mexico was first colonized by Spain back in the
1500s, the purpose was to make the native people into Christians. So big
churches were built. The only lighting they had in those days was candles in
big chandeliers, or light fixtures. All those candles created a lot of black
smoke. The smoke was ruining the colorful paintings that the Spanish used to
teach the native people about Christianity.
So, the art form of repujado
(reh poo HA doe) was introduced. Religious icons, or symbols that the people
liked to look at in church, were etched into tin or copper, and hung in the
churches, because they would stand up to the smoke and last longer.
People liked the look so much that they started using repujado to make other kinds of
pictures, ornamental items, decorations for their saddles and bridles, and
Today, real artists do tin embossing with special metals,
a wide range of expensive tools, and special inks and paints. But we're going
to use household items that are relatively cheap and achieve much the same
is a soft metal that can be formed or molded a lot more easily than harder
metals. That's why it is used in this craft, because it is "malleable" - it can
be changed into a different shape.
"emboss" something means to raise it up. Have you ever seen a formal wedding
invitation? If you run your finger over it, the type is higher than the paper.
That's because the ink has been "embossed" through a chemical process. Also
think of the Braille symbols that blind people can feel and "read" with their
tin embossing, we actually press IN to the tin surface in order to raise up
areas around where we've pressed in. We create a design on two levels, then:
some areas of the design are lower, and some are higher.
make your surface, have a piece of cardboard ready that is square or
rectangular. Then cut a piece of the tin cookie sheet out that is slightly
larger than the cardboard. Fold the four sides around the cardboard; you may
need to snip the corners diagonally to get it to lay flat. Then tape down the
four edges on the back side of the cardboard with masking tape.
you turn it back around, you should have a flat square or rectangle of smooth
decide what your "focal point" or center of attention will be. With Mexican tin
embossing, one item in the middle of the design stands out in the midst of lots
of patterns and lines and shapes. So in your planning, decide what will be your
"focal point," and how you would like to fill the rest of the space around it. Every single spot on that tin will have
either a design embossed in, or a bright color.
"focal point" is usually in the middle, bigger than everything else, and it is
the thing upon which you want the eye to "focus." For inspiration, you can look
at a picture, a rubber stamp, a comic book, nature - whatever you like and can
down hard with the ballpoint pen into the foil, and draw your focal point now.
You can have patterns, stripes and dots inside it if you wish. For example, you
might draw a cow and draw blotches on its side.
for the rest of the picture: with Mexican embossing, often there will be
several layers of outlines around the focal point, in the same shape as it is,
sometimes all the way out to the border of the picture.
there will be stripes, checkerboard, diagonal lines, polka dots, lots of
intersecting circles, or any number of other designs to fill out the picture to
the edges and bring the focal point even more to the center of attention.
you are happy with the lines you have etched into your tin, make sure to roll
up your sleeves so that you don't get any ink on your clothes,you're your tin foil
on a piece of old newspaper, and decorate your picture with permanent markers.
Try to have at least three bright colors; Mexican embossed tin is always very
bright and colorful!
finished product makes a great gift, framed or unframed, and looks pretty on a
kitchen windowsill or on an office desk.