How to make a styrofoam buoy

Written by jane smith
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How to make a styrofoam buoy

Styrofoam buoys are used to support the top edges of fishing nets, mark lobster pots, separate various depth areas of community pools and separate swimming beaches from boat moorings. Styrofoam buoys are usually four to six inches in diameter and six to 12 inches long, strung on lengths of nylon rope. Fishermen used to use blown-glass balls for buoys. Blown glass is expensive and difficult to maintain on a busy commercial vessel, so styrofoam buoys are the ideal substitute. They are light and inexpensive. Nets or ropes tied with styrofoam buoys can be used as emergency flotation devices if all other options have been lost.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 6-inch thick sheets of styrofoam
  • 12-inch blade carving knife
  • Flat iron on lowest setting
  • 5/8-inch diameter lamp maker's drill bit
  • Power drill
  • 1/2-inch thick nylon rope
  • Bright neon orange, pink or yellow spray paint

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  1. 1

    Cut the six-inch-thick styrofoam sheets in 12-inch-wide strips. Cut styrofoam strips into 12-inch chunks. Use a 5/8-inch diameter lamp maker's drill bit to make a hole in each styrofoam chunk along its length.

    How to make a styrofoam buoy
  2. 2

    Use a carving knife to shape the pieces of styrofoam into buoy shapes. Each piece should resemble an oversized pony bead, 12 inches long and six inches wide.

  3. 3

    Use a flat iron on its lowest setting to give the cut sides of the styrofoam a smooth finish. Be sure to use adequate ventilation. It is best to do this outdoors, or to have the workshop doors open wide and have a large exhaust fan running.

  4. 4

    Make a large, square knot at one end of a length of half-inch thick nylon rope. Thread a styrofoam chunk onto the line. Tie a second square knot after the styrofoam chunk. Continue threading styrofoam chunks onto your line until you have less than six inches left. Tie a final knot to secure the last styrofoam chunks on the line.

  5. 5

    Attach the line of styrofoam buoys to your crayfish trap, lobster pot or catfish line. Use several styrofoam buoy lines to mark lanes in a swimming pool for a swim meet. Spray paint styrofoam buoys with bright neon orange, pink or yellow to use as warning markers to keep boaters out of swimming areas.

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