What is Haitian Metal Art?
Haitian metal art is recognized worldwide as a creative, unique art form. It’s made from recycled oil drums, which the artists open up, pound flat, and cut into metal “canvases”.
Designs are typically drawn first onto cardboard and then traced with chalk onto the metal. Then they use hammer and chisel to cut their designs out of the metal. Details and texture are pounded into the metal using primitive tools.
Most of this remarkable art form is created in the town of Croix-des-Bouquets, near Haiti’s capital city, Port au Prince. Crosses, birds, mermaids, classical Bible scenes, and the Tree of Life are some of the many popular designs you’ll see.
Kids will enjoy this project inspired by Haitian metal art
While this project was originally inspired by the metal art I saw when I visited Haiti, it actually looks most similar to “Repujado“, the embossed metal designs from Mexico. Either way, it makes a great project for Easter… or anytime!
You can buy these thin sheets of craft foam at any art or craft supply store, or you may even find them conveniently pre-cut to this 4×6 size in packs of 32 at the Dollar Store. Look for the foil tape at any hardware store in rolls that look like shiny foil duct tape (in the plumbing department).
(note: You may want to prep steps 1-4 for younger children.)
- Cut your foil tape into two pieces, one 5″ long and the other 7″ long.
- Center your 7″ piece lengthwise on your foam sheet, wrapping the ends under and sticking them to the back. (It’s not easy to reposition the tape without wrinkling it, so try to get it in the right place on your first try!)
- Now lay the 5″ piece widthwise across the first piece, about an inch from the top. Wrap the ends under and stick them to the back.
- Cut away the foam sections that the tape doesn’t cover. (Save these pieces and cover them with foil tape to make beautiful pendants!)
- Next, “draw” a design onto your cross using a ballpoint pen. If you use a medium point pen, it shouldn’t tear the foil, and the ink doesn’t usually stick to it, so it should just leave a nice impression.
- Punch a hole at the top and thread with yarn for hanging.