Styrofoam is the brand name of a material produced by a specific manufacturer. The general term for this material is expanded polystyrene foam, or EPS foam. You can find EPS foam products made specifically for crafting: shapes such as spheres, cones and sheets. You can also find EPS sheets and tiles sold for home insulation, which make an inexpensive alternative. Even less expensive are foam sheets recovered from discarded food packaging.
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Cutting, Painting and Gluing
You can cut thin sheets of foam with a sharp hobby knife. Use a sharp metal cookie cutter to cut out shapes. For thicker sheets, use a serrated knife. Smooth any rough edges by "sanding" them with another piece of foam. You can paint the foam using dimensional paint, craft acrylics or poster paint mixed with a drop of dish soap. Glue with white craft glue, polystyrene cement or hot glue.
Foam Wall Art
Glue plain paper to large squares of 1-inch thick EPS foam. When the glue has dried, hot-glue a pretty ribbon round the edge of the square to hide the foam. Decorate with coloured and patterned card stock and paper. Decorate with large foam letters to spell out a name or message and add large colourful flowers or other motifs. When everything is finished, hang the artwork on the wall. If you can't get thick foam sheets, glue two or three foam ceiling tiles together.
Flower Photo Frames
Cut out a flower shape from a sheet of EPS foam. Cut a circular hole in the middle of the flower, then cut a circle from card stock to cover the back of the flower. Trim a photo to fit the frame and glue it to the card. Glue the flower frame on top of the photo, then paint the flower. Stick the flower to a green-painted dowel. Make leaves from green paper or card stock and stick these to the dowel, and put the completed frame in a bud vase. You can also make an entire bouquet of this photo frames.
Thoroughly clean a thin foam food tray. Trace an aeroplane outline onto the tray using a blunt pencil. Score creases so you can fold up the sides of the tail for stabilisers. Cut out the aeroplane, then glue or tape a bendy straw to the underside of the plane so that the bent part forms a hook at the front and about 3/4 inch of straw extends behind. To fly the plane, hook a rubber band through the hook at the front and pull back on the end of the straw, then let go.
For this, you'll need foam with a smooth, dense surface. Food trays are ideal. Draw a picture on a piece of cleaned foam tray with a dull pencil. Glue a small block of wood or a piece of folded cardboard to the back. Seal the stamp with a thin layer of craft glue. Use with an ink pad or a small kitchen sponge soaked in paint.
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