Strictly speaking, there's no such thing as a styrofoam plate. Styrofoam is the brand name of a kind of polystyrene foam used for insulation and crafts. Plates are made from generic plastic foam. Plastic foam plates are readily available, thin, light and easy to cut and shape. They can be used for all sorts of craft projects, from stamps and shrinkies to giant flowers and rubber-band powered planes.
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UFO (Unidentified Foam Object)
You can turn two plastic foam plates into a flying saucer. Stick the plates face to face with craft glue or plastic cement to make the body of the UFO. You can glue an upturned plastic or paper bowl on top to make a cabin. Colour the UFO silver or gold with acrylic paints. Draw or paint windows and other details with markers or acrylics. You can even add an alien passenger.
Giant Foam Flowers
Cut triangles all around the edge of a foam plate, making sure they are approximately equal in size and you have an even number of triangles. Tape the end of a piece of coloured yarn to the back of the plate. Pass the yarn between two of the triangles and stretch it across the middle of the plate, passing it between two triangles on the opposite side. Pass the yarn behind one of the adjacent triangles and out through the gap between it and the next triangle. Pass the yarn across the plate again, through the gap between the two triangles opposite. Keep going until you have made a star-shape of yarn with its centre in the middle of the plate. You can also wind yarn around the middle of the star shape to make the centre of the flower, if desired. The effect is like a giant flower. Make several flowers and glue them to a large piece of paper, making stems from green yarn.
Plastic Foam Stamps
You can make stamps from flat sections of plastic foam plates. Sketch your design onto the foam, or place a piece of paper with the message or picture you want on top of the foam. Take a dead ballpoint pen or a pencil with a dull, rounded point and trace over your design, pressing firmly to leave a deep imprint in the foam. Coat your foam stamp with a little craft glue and let it dry. Use the stamp with an ink pad or paint that you've put on a thin layer of sponge.
Foam Plate Shrinkies
If you warm a foam plate in the oven, you'll find it reduces in size just like the shrink plastic sold for crafts and jewellery-making. Trace your design onto the foam plate, then colour it with acrylic paints. Allow the design to dry, then cut it out. Put the foam plate on a lightly-floured baking tray and place in a warm oven until it has shrunk to the desired size.
Foam Plate Airplanes
You can make rubber-band powered planes from plastic foam plates and bendy drinking straws. Cut a wedge-shaped plane body out of the flat part of the plate. Tape or glue a bendy straw underneath the plane, with the concertina part bent into a hook at the front. Hook a rubber band around the bent part of the straw, then hold one end, pull the plane back and then let go and watch the plane fly. Experiment with different wing shapes, folds in the tail and other refinements.
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