How to Make a Pistol Out of Styrofoam

Written by jonah morrissey
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How to Make a Pistol Out of Styrofoam
Make a prop pistol out of styrofoam based on any number of real pistols. (pistol image by Nikita Mironov from

Props and set decorations are often made from styrofoam because it is easy to work with and inexpensive. If you can draw it on a piece of styrofoam, then you can make it. The ability to look at a styrofoam block and see the possibility of a detailed handgun is one that will come in time. It is a skill that a sculptor of any medium develops with practice. Whether you are a professional prop maker or just need a pistol for a school play, you can make one or a whole arsenal out of styrofoam.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 2-inch by 8-inch by 12-inch styrofoam block
  • Fine-tip marker
  • Straight edge
  • Foam cutter
  • Wood-burning tool, assorted tips
  • Foam finish
  • Craft paints

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  1. 1

    Place the styrofoam block on a work surface. Draw the basic outline of the gun. Use the straight edge to achieve straight lines and a balanced-looking design.

  2. 2

    Add finer details such as the checkering on the grip, sight, safety and lines along the barrel. Add as much or as little detail to the pistol design as you would like.

  3. 3

    Cut out the basic outline using the foam cutter. A foam cutter conducts heat through the metal wire, which allows it to make a clean cut. Guide the wire cutter in a smooth motion to make smooth cuts. Move only as fast as the cutter will cleanly cut through the styrofoam.

  4. 4

    Add in the details using a wood-burning tool with assorted tips. Use a fine-tip marker to make the handle crosshatching and other fine details such as a serial number.

  5. 5

    Apply a foam finish to the entire pistol cutout. This will seal the styrofoam so that you can apply any kind of paint without worrying that it will chemically react. Allow the finish to dry.

  6. 6

    Paint the pistol with craft paint. A blue-black craft paint would be ideal to achieve the look of gun metal. Add highlights and scuff marks with a silver colour as well as any other colours or details with the paints to suit the needs of the project. Allow the paint to dry.

Tips and warnings

  • For a more durable pistol, you can apply a papier-mache or plaster of Paris treatment over the styrofoam.
  • Follow safety precautions for safe operation of the foam cutter and wood-burning tools.

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