How to Paint Craft Foam

Updated February 21, 2017

Craft foam is a thin, flexible sheet of foam. It is available in large sheets and small sheets, in many colours. Therefore it can be used for a wide range of applications including models, costumes, sets and more. Painting craft foam can be difficult because it is very porous. If the foam is not properly prepped, the paint is absorbed by the foam. With the right painting technique you can create pieces made of craft foam that look like the real thing.

Mix together a solution that is two parts water, one part white glue and one part fabric glue. The resulting solution will resemble very thin glue. Paint one coat over the craft foam using a paint brush. Make sure the coat is even and that you cover all the crannies and nooks. Pop any air bubbles that may form when coating the craft foam. Allow the glue coat to completely dry before applying additional coats. Paint on eight to ten glue coats to properly seal the foam. The number of coats required depends on the consistency of the solution. A thinner solution will require more coats.

Paint your foam using spray paint, acrylic paint or rub and buff paint. Paint the foam as you would any item. You can mix colours, add different shades to create depth or apply three dimensional glue for raised designs. If the foam needs to be flexible then do not use spray paint, as this will crack when the foam bends and flexes.

Repaint the craft foam if you are dissatisfied with the results or if you did not seal it originally and the paint absorbed into the foam. Sometimes you will not notice that the foam did not seal properly until it is painted. If any of the above occurs to your foam then reseal the foam, applying the glue coats over the painted surface and repaint the foam.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric glue
  • White glue
  • Water
  • Paint brush
  • Paint (spray paint, acrylic or rub and buff)
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About the Author

Liz Tomas began writing professionally in 2004. Her work has appeared in the "American Journal of Enology and Viticulture," "BMC Genomics" and "PLoS Biology." She holds a Master of Science in food science from Cornell University and a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from the University of New Hampshire. She is pursuing her Ph.D. in oenology at Lincoln University.