Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The best use for a scroll-saw: cutting styrofoam

One of my favorite craft materials this decade is styrofoam. Not the beadboard used for packing material, but the blue or pink styrofoam that you can get from a home store in big sheets.

I started using it because it is used a lot in model railroading to make scenery -- people cut contours with it in layers and then carve it into shape; it's lightweight and strong. But since I acquired some and had it lying around, I often use it for quick projects.

But it was difficult to cut. You can use a hot-wire cutter for it, but that creates fumes. And anyway I don't have one of those. So one day I tried cutting it with my scroll saw. It works great. Granted, it creates a lot of fine dust (wear a mask and have a shopvac handy) but you can cut accurate contours with it.

I've made several crafts with this that turned out well. I'm kind of stuck on the idea of cutting shapes with the foam and then sticking things into it. I cut a big outline of the 48 continental states for a centerpiece for our recent Cub Scout banquet, and had all the scouts in our den make US flags, which they then stuck into the flat shape.

I did someting similar for centerpieces at an STC event a couple of years ago. I cut the shape of the state of Texas, and I made several copies of it, and then I pinned different shapes to them, including some bats to represent Austin in one case.

Foam, of course, provides a lot less resistance than wood, so it's really easy to control what you are doing, and it goes fast. You can quickly mock up shapes for something decorative with this method.

1 comment:

  1. Hello,
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