What Can You Use to Color Styrofoam?

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Achieving the perfect color may be difficult when working with Styrofoam.
Achieving the perfect color may be difficult when working with Styrofoam. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Styrofoam is a crafter's staple. However, it's not always as easy to work with as you might expect. Coloring the material can often prove to be quite difficult. Although Styrofoam is sold in colors other than white, you won't always be able to find the specific color you need for a project. Just a few options exist for coloring your own Styrofoam.

The Problem

Styrofoam tends to be tough to color for a number of reasons. The old stand-by, spray paint, often causes the foam to melt. Crayons or markers leave behind pock marks in the foam, ruining the smooth surface. Some craft paints simply slide right off.

Foam-Safe Spray Paint

Certain spray paints will work on Styrofoam, such as Design Master ColorTool Sprays. Check the paint can label for the surfaces on which it can be used. If foam is listed, test the paint on a scrap piece of the exact Styrofoam you'll be using in your project before using it on the finished foam.

Glue and Food Coloring

Use a mixture of glue and food coloring to color the Styrofoam. Mix 1 tbsp. of glue with a couple drops of food coloring gel. Roll the foam in the mixture and set it out to dry. This amount will cover about one Styrofoam ball.

Tissue Paper

Cover the entire surface of the Styrofoam with a decoupage medium. Then carefully press on small pieces of tissue paper in the color you want. Carefully smooth the tissue paper and cover the whole thing with another coat of decoupage medium. Allow the foam to dry completely before using it in your project.

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