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Will
Hi, Thanks for visiting my website. My name is Will and if you have questions
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Working With Foam for Projects, dioramas and sculpting

There are a whole lot of different types of foams that are used for crafting, art, dungeon making, and more. And you are no doubt familiar with the product called Styrofoam. It is the most recognizable name in the world of foams. But it is typically not the best foam for crafting.

 

 

A note from Will: This is one of my favorite crafting materials and I stumbled onto it years ago by accident. I was remodeling a room in my house and I was at the Home depot looking for various materials when I stumbled upon the Pink sheets of foamular. They are very big - eight feet by two feet. But I had a hunch it was great for carving and making things. So I bought a sheet and right there in the store I cut it into pieces so I could fit it in my car. And that was it. Since then I use it often. Now, gratefully they sell smaller sheets (two feet by two feet).

 

In this tutorial I will show you the different types of foam but I will focus predominantly on that foam I bought in the Home Depot. It is called XPS - Extruded Polystyrene.

If you follow my projects and in particular my youtube channel you know I use a lot of foam to make projects. And just about all of it is XPS foam.

For me there is one foam that is the best above all the rest of them. And it is called XPS, or Extruded Polystyrene foam. That isn't a trademark name. That is the name of the actual material. So if you are looking to make projects like I make then look for Extruded Polystyrene foam (XPS). You can buy it at home improvement stores (because it's biggest use is for home insulation). You can also buy it on amazon right here: DOW XPS Foam sheets.

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Watch The Video Tutorial:



 

XPS Foam (Extruded Polystyrene)

Let me show you some examples of work I have done with XPS foam. It will give you a sense for how it can be used and worked.

The big thing about this foam is that it has two very desirable characteristics. First off it is structurally strong. So you can build three dimensional shapes with it and the object won't distort. You can even build very large shapes like this foam dragon that is seven feet tall.

(About the foam dragon project)

And the XPS foam also has great holding power for details. This Wizard's Table is made exclusively out of XPS foam (Except for the wooden table top). And you can see in the second picture that I am carving a bas-relief out of the foam.

About the Wizard's Table

This castle also shows both properties very well. You can build structural items and you can carve details that will hold.

About the Storm The Castle diorama

And one of the most popular applications of this foam is all the various dungeon related stuff you can make.

How to make a dungeon out of foam

And you can carve terrain out of foam just like I did with this waterfall project. You can see that tutorial here: Make a waterfall in a diorama .The tutorial, however, is focused on how to make the waterfall not on how to make the terrain.

The completed waterfall

Where to Get XPS Foam:

Pink Foam: also known as foamular. Is a high density extruded polystyrene foam. It is a building material used for insulating homes. You can buy it in sheets at the Home Depot. It typically comes in 1,2 and 3 inch thicknesses.

Blue Foam: Is the same as the Pink foam. It is made by a different manufacturer and you can buy it in sheets at Lowes. You can also buy sheets of this foam on Amazon.

Green Foam: A company called Kingspan makes an XPS foam called "Greenguard". It is the same as the pink and blue and it is also used in the building trades as an insulation. You can get it at Lowes also.

 

Other Types of Foams:

Styrofoam: The name is well known. But this is a brand name and it isn't what we think it is! Those coffee cups and beach coolers we call styrofoam aren't actually styrofoam! Styrofoam is actually crunchy when you cut it.

The picture above shows a styrofoam ball. This is very common. It comes in various shapes and the most famous shape is probably the balls used to make solar system mobiles.

This next picture shows a closeup of the styrofoam. Look for this pattern. This is actual styrofoam, not the stuff they make disposable coffee cups from. You can see how this is open celled, coffee would flow right through it!

One unique thing about styrofoam is that it makes a very distinct crunch when you are cutting it. This is a great indicator of what it is.

RESOURCES:

 

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)

This is very commonly used in consumer products. For example, packing peanuts are expanded polystyrene. You are probably familiar with those packing materials that are made up of a whole lot of white beads that have been molded together. That is polystyrene beads that have been expanded and then molded together into a shape. So that is EPS.

RESOURCES

 

DOW Craft Styrofoam Foam Sheets, These are called "Styrofoam" That is because Dow owns that product name. But these are Extruded Polystyrene sheets. They are the exact material that I use in the video tutorial.

 

Solar System Kit with Smoothfoam (Expanded Polystyrene)

 

FloraCraft Styrofoam Balls 3 inch, pack of six