How to Keep Styrofoam From Flaking

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Styrofoam must be handled in a certain way to prevent flaking.
Styrofoam must be handled in a certain way to prevent flaking. (Image: Sharon Dominick/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Its durability and versatility makes Styrofoam a popular material for all types of craft projects. Styrofoam does have its downfalls, however, most notably its tendency to flake when cut or rubbed against in a rough manner. Fortunately, this problem can be avoided with a couple simple preventive techniques. When properly cut and cared for, Styrofoam can stay in its intended shape and size for several years. Best of all, no special tools or materials are needed for the job.

Things You'll Need

  • Lighter
  • Tape

Heat the cutting device -- such as a knife -- over an open flame until the device is hot to the touch, usually no more than a minute. Any open flame will work, but a lighter may be the most practical choice in most situations.

Cut the Styrofoam to the desired size or pattern. The blade should melt the Styrofoam, rather than cut it, which will produce clean, smooth cuts. Reheat the blade as often as necessary to ensure the cuts stay smooth.

Wrap tape around the Styrofoam to create a protective barrier. Clear packaging tape works well if you want to preserve the original color of the Styrofoam, but masking tape can be used if you aren't concerned with the appearance. Regardless of the tape you use, make sure it lays flat against the Styrofoam.

Examine the Styrofoam to ensure it's completely covered. Cover any bare Styrofoam with tape.

Tips & Warnings

  • Styrofoam should only be cut in a well-ventilated area due to the fumes.

References

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