How to make props from styrofoam

Written by monica patrick
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How to make props from styrofoam
Make an imitation stone block wall with foam. (stoned image by Kimberly Reinick from Fotolia.com)

Plays and productions often call for hard-to-find, large scale items. Foam reproductions, like faux marble columns, are less expensive and less heavy than their genuine counterparts. Make props from polystyrene foam products like styrofoam for easier portability and greater artistic license. Use leftover foam from packing materials or order large scale foam blocks from professional foam companies. Styrofoam and polystyrene foam allow crafters to make two dimensional and three dimensional props and sculptures.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Dust sheets
  • Foam plank
  • Table
  • Pencil
  • Paring knife
  • Handheld scrub brush
  • Soft paintbrushes
  • Tan coloured latex paint
  • Sponge brush
  • Dark tan latex paint
  • Cloth rags

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Lay dust sheets down in your work area to make clean-up easier. Set your foam plank on a long table. Cover the plank with a dust sheet too.

  2. 2

    Use a pencil to mark off some of the squared edges. Make arcing motions around the edges to give your stone a genuine look.

  3. 3

    Carve off the edges of the foam plank with your paring knife. Follow the edges you drew with the pencil. Make a cut a few inches long and about an inch deep, then break off the piece gently.

  4. 4

    Use a handheld scrub brush and rub the surface of the foam gently. Rub all over the foam, front, back and sides. Do not worry about rubbing edges.

  5. 5

    Create a few dents and cuts in the foam to make the stone less uniform.

  6. 6

    Brush the entire plank of foam with a soft paintbrush, removing the excess beads.

  7. 7

    Open the tan coloured paint and get some on your sponge brush. Sweep the paint on the foam. Push the paint gently into the grooves.

  8. 8

    Let the paint dry for several hours before applying a second coat of paint.

  9. 9

    Paint the darker paint colour on the edges and in the crevices you cut into the foam.

  10. 10

    Use a rag to add a light coating of the darker paint to the entire surface of the foam. Allow the paint to dry completely before using it.

Tips and warnings

  • Start with simple projects before attempting more detailed ones. Props like faux stone will give good practice.
  • Allow yourself ample time to draw, sculpt and finish your projects before your event or production date.

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