How to Make Your Own Foam Rubber

Written by alex smith
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How to Make Your Own Foam Rubber
Foam rubber can be moulded into any shape (pink foam image by laurent dambies from Fotolia.com)

Foam latex is a four-part rubber compound that is mixed, whipped and baked to produce the final product. It has been used for decades by make-up artists, special effects artists and puppeteers to create some of the most memorable characters in television and movies. Sheets of foam latex rubber are also used in many pieces of furniture for padding. You can purchase foam latex kits in various sizes through special effects suppliers.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Stand mixer with bowl
  • Scale
  • Latex base
  • Foaming agent
  • Curing agent
  • Small cup
  • Gelling agent
  • Timer
  • Mold or baking pan
  • Spray release agent
  • Oven

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Spray a thin coat of release agent into the mould or baking pan that you are using to bake the latex.

  2. 2

    Place the mixing bowl onto a scale and reset the measurement to 0.

  3. 3

    Add 150 grams of foam latex base to the bowl.

  4. 4

    Add 30 grams of foaming agent to the bowl. Foaming agent helps the latex to accept air, turning it into a froth.

  5. 5

    Add 15 grams of curing agent to the bowl. Curing agent vulcanises the rubber when it is baked, turning it from a liquid to a solid.

  6. 6

    Remove the mixing bowl and put a small cup on the scale. Reset the scale to 0.

  7. 7

    Add 12 grams of gelling agent to the cup. Gelling agent will turn the liquid foam into a semi-solid gel.

  8. 8

    Set the cup of gelling agent aside for now.

  9. 9

    Put the mixing bowl into the mixer and run it at speed 1 for one minute to mix the ingredients.

  10. 10

    Turn the mixer up to speed 7 for six minutes to whip air into the foam. This will also whip out a lot of the ammonia that keeps the latex liquid.

  11. 11

    Turn the mixer down to speed 4 for three minutes to begin refining the foam, breaking any large air bubbles.

  12. 12

    Turn the mixer down to speed 1 for three minutes. This is the ultra-refining stage, eliminating the last of the large air bubbles.

  13. 13

    Slowly drizzle the gelling agent into the foam over the course of 30 seconds.

  14. 14

    Manually spin the bowl backward for 30 seconds to fully mix in the gelling agent.

  15. 15

    Allow the mixer to run normally for a final 30 seconds.

  16. 16

    Turn off the mixer and remove the bowl.

  17. 17

    Pour the foam latex into a mould or baking pan (for sheets). You have only a matter of minutes to accomplish this before the gelling agent kicks in.

  18. 18

    Wait for the foam latex to gel. When you can poke it with your finger and leave a dent without any foam sticking, it is ready.

  19. 19

    Put the foam in an oven and bake it at 82.2 degrees Cor three hours. You may have to increase or decrease the time depending on the thickness of the foam.

  20. 20

    Allow the foam to cool before removing it from the mould; it should still be slightly warm.

Tips and warnings

  • A Sunbeam Mixmaster is the preferred mixer for making foam latex. Other mixers can be used, but they typically do not work as thoroughly as the Mixmaster.
  • Never bake foam latex in a kitchen oven. It releases sulphur fumes that will affect the taste of your food.
  • Foam latex is sensitive to temperature, humidity and ammonia content. It may take several attempts before you get a usable batch.

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