How to Sculpt With Styrofoam

Styrofoam comes in many pre-cut shapes and sizes.
Styrofoam comes in many pre-cut shapes and sizes. (Image: Image courtesy of The Dow Chemical Company; www.styrofoamcrafts.com and boodog_photo on Photobucket..)

Few craft materials are as versatile and easy to use as Styrofoam. Light enough to work with yet strong and durable, it makes an excellent base for other sculpting materials. Once you have planned out your project and assembled the materials specific to your craft, you can fashion Styrofoam into any form you choose.

Things You'll Need

  • Styrofoam shapes or sheets
  • Serrated X-Acto or electric knife
  • Rolling pin
  • Toothpicks
  • Low-temp glue gun and sticks or white craft glue
  • Final project materials

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Cut Styrofoam into desired shapes with an X-acto or serrated knife. Cut sheets of Styrofoam with an electric knife.

Smooth any rough edges by using another piece of Styrofoam as sandpaper.

Flatten Styrofoam by rolling it out as you would a pie crust, or sculpt by using gentle, steady pressure with your hands.

Make little curls by shaving off thin slivers with your X-Acto knife.

Assemble your desired base by gluing the Styrofoam pieces together with the low-temperature glue gun and sticks, or white craft glue. Use toothpicks to hold the shape until it dries.

Apply your sculpting materials to the Styrofoam base. Almost anything can be applied to Styrofoam including plaster, paint, fabric, wallboard compound, gesso, modeling paste and sculpting clay. A little craft glue will help your sculpting materials stick to it.

Tips & Warnings

  • To strengthen your Styrofoam sculpture base, insert wire cut from coat hangers.
  • Rub pieces of Styrofoam together after applying the craft glue to spread the glue evenly and help them adhere.
  • Do not use a high-temperature glue gun, as this can melt the Styrofoam.
  • Some spray paints will dissolve the Styrofoam, so read labels to find foam-safe paint.

References

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