This was a lesson I found years ago in a 2003 issue of 'Arts and Activities' magazine. It was entitled: "Designing the Matwork on Your Art ... or the Artwork on Your Mat". It's essentially a foil embossing project utilizing line and pattern.
I didn't have embossing foil, so we used heavy duty barbecue foil folded 4 times into a square instead. It totally worked. Here's how we did it:
I cut strips of foil, about, er, um, 6 inches wide or so...
Fold it four times, try to keep it smooth, until you have a square. I try to keep the dull side of the foil on the outside, but it's not crucial. You can add dots of glue in the corners between the layers to keep it all nice and flat and together- lay a heavy book on top to help it dry flat.
You need to do the embossing on top of a 'soft' surface: stack of newspapers, magazines, etc.
We used fun foam sheets.
Materials for the embossing stage: foam, foil, dull pencil.
So then students emboss a pattern; it can be totally abstract or have realistic images. They need to aim to have different patterns coming out from all sides, b/c these are going to be extended off the page onto black paper later with pencil crayons.
Then paint on a coat of black acrylic paint- get into all the indentations, then gently wipe it off with some paper towels until you get the effect you like. This helps 'age' the foil and brings out the relief more. Let dry.
Then use white glue to glue it onto a piece of heavy black paper. This student used too much glue- naughty, naughty! This will show up when it dries, so demo to kids the right way to apply white glue. Just dots.
Kids used scraps of black paper to test out their colours before committing to their good copy.
Pencil in lines and patterns first- extend the patterns of the foil. Then colour using pencil crayons. They show up really well on the black paper.
Grade 8 results: Ta da!