Personalized desktop calendar

desktop calendar with SmoothfoamI love to create innovative projects…with Smoothfoam, I am able to explore my creative imagination. I bring to you this fabulously embellished and personalized desktop calendar!

The months and days hang on the side of the block so you can easily change the date each day. What a wonderful way to brighten anyone’s desk!


2″ x 4″ x 8″ Smoothfoam block
Prima Engraver Collection – papers and embellishments
Craft glue
Silhouette Cameo (connected to computer)
Stamp pads
Hole punch
Small decorative hooks
Variety of charms, flowers, trims and ephemera
— Check out my Bling Splendor Collection kits for sale!

1.  Glue desired papers in sections on to the top, bottom and sides of the Smoothfoam block, let dry.

2.  Use the Silhouette to create the twelve month titles and glue each title to a piece of cardstock (approx 1-1/2″ x 3-1/2″).

3.  Punch two holes at the top of each month card, then distress the edges with stamp pad. Embellish each card as desired.

4.  Use the Silhouette to create 31 small placard tags, punch a hole at the top of each. Cut out the printed numbers from the paper collection and adhere them as days of the month on each tag.

5.  Distress the edges of the day tags with stamp pad.

6.  Adhere 2 small hooks in position on the left side of the block to fit the holes punched in the month cards. Adhere two more small hooks to the right of the month card hooks to fit two day tags, side by side.

7.  Embellish the block on all sides – personalize it for yourself or for a gift!

TIP:  If you don’t have a Silhouette or other die-cutting system, you can print the month titles from your computer, write them by hand with colorful markers or stamp them. Try packaged die-cuts for the day tags.


Fabric and paper art panel


Recently I made this fabric and paper art panel for Cool2Craft and Spellbinders. The 12″ Smoothfoam scrapbook mounting sheet was the perfect foundation to wrap with fabric. I loved that I was able to use straight pins to attach the paper butterflies so their little wings were “free to fly.”  So quick and easy to create…watch my video to see for yourself!

Click here for complete project instructions...enjoy!


The difference between Smoothfoam and Styrofoam

Disposable foam plate

Many brand names have become generic household terms over time. We generally refer to all disposable foam cups and plates as “styrofoam,” but actually that is incorrect in much the same way as it’s not always correct to say you’re grabbing a “kleenex” instead of a tissue, or making a “xerox” copy instead of a photocopy. So, what exactly is the difference between Styrofoam and polystyrene foam?

According to the Styrofoam™ website:  Genuine Styrofoam brand foam is NOT used to make disposable foam products. Styrofoam is a trademark of Dow for the white and green foam found in floral designs and craft projects, and for blue Styrofoam brand insulation.

According to Wikipedia:  Styrofoam is a trademarked brand of closed-cell extruded polystyrene foam currently made for thermal insulation and craft applications. It is owned and manufactured by The Dow Chemical Company.

Smoothfoam™, on the other hand, is a trademarked brand name for molded expandable polystyrene, owned and manufactured by the Plasteel Corporation. It is a smooth, closed-cell foam, most commonly (albeit incorrectly) referred to as smooth “styrofoam.” It is molded from tiny beads into many shapes like blocks, discs, balls, eggs, miniature fruit shapes and more. Because of its smooth surface, it is excellent for painting. It’s also very durable and won’t crumble, making it great for projects requiring pins or glue.

When should you use Smoothfoam vs. Styrofoam?

This depends on the project. If you want to paint the surface without having to prep it or pin something firmly in place, Smoothfoam will likely work the best. If you need to insert lots of thicker stems or sticks into the surface, you might prefer working with Styrofoam. Try both and see for yourself which product works best for you.

Styro & Smoothfoam

Styrofoam (left) and Smoothfoam (right)

Cupcake-shaped birthday gift box

Cupcake gift box with Smoothfoam


Birthdays are so special, especially when you are turning 6 years old!

My niece wanted to have a cupcake-themed birthday party, so I created this special gift box that looks like a cupcake and I filled it with all of her favorite things!

Now that her birthday is over, she has placed it on her dresser, filled with all of her jewelry.


4-1/2″ Smoothfoam ball
1″ Smoothfoam ball
4″ round paper mâché box with lid
Scrapbook paper – small doily, stripe and yellow damask
Americana Acrylic Paints – Peony Pink and Foliage Green
Golden Molding Paste
Martha Stewart Glitter – Tourmaline
Twelve 1/2″ brads (paint to match project colors if needed)
24″ length lavender crinkled seam binding ribbon
24″ length white sparkle yarn
Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue
KOOL TAK Premium Extreme 1/2″ wide double-sided adhesive
1″ green button, pearl bead, rhinestone
8″ length white string
Scissors, foam cutting tool or serrated knife
Palette knife, 1″ flat paint brush
Ruler, pencil
Paper towels, toothpick, wood skewer
Birthday sentiment rub-on, small flower

1.  Cut 1-1/2″ off the bottom of the Smoothfoam ball with serrated knife. Glue the larger half to the box lid. When the glue is dry, spread molding paste on the ball with a palette knife (like cake icing) and let dry overnight.

2.  Insert toothpick into 1″ Smoothfoam ball to hold, coat with glue and wrap with white sparkle fiber until covered. Trim any excess and set aside to dry.

3.  Cut striped paper into a 3″x15″ strip and adhere to the bottom of the box with
Premium Extreme. Tie lavender ribbon around the box, 1″ up from bottom and tie a
bow. Thread the string though the button, tie in a bow and glue to the center of the
ribbon and let dry.

4.  Cut out rows of doilies from scrapbook paper and attach end-to-end with Premium Extreme until you have a 15″ length, set aside.

5.  Paint the cupcake top with Peony Pink, let dry, then spread glue all over it and coat with glitter. Press glitter gently into glue with your fingers, let dry and then shake off excess.

6.  Paint skewer Foliage Green. Cut a 1-1/2″ by 5″ strip of damask paper, fold it in half around the top of the skewer and adhere halves together with Premium Extreme. Apply the rub-on sentiment on one side and trim out a triangle from the edge to create a flag. Glue the pearl bead, flower and rhinestone to top of skewer above the flag.

7.  Adhere the doily strip around the edge of the box lid with Premium Extreme. Press brads randomly into the top of the cupcake and poke the sparkle ball in at the top. Poke the flag at an angle on one side.

Carve a sunshine sign

Carved Sunny Shine Sign made with Smoothfoam by Carmen Flores Tanis


You never know where you’ll find inspiration.

In this project I was inspired by a recent trip to the grocery store where the stacks of labeled orange crates seemed to wink brightly at passing customers.

The fruit crate labels had brightly colored images seemed to impart such personality to the fresh products nestled inside.

And although this project might look complicated, it is easy to make by carving a block of Smoothfoam and adding a little paint.

You can easily customize this project by using different words, names or colors. How cute would a child’s name be with a little flower or smiley face? Shiny cute!




2″x4″x12″ Smoothfoam block
1″ Smoothfoam ball
Acrylic paints: deep yellow, bright orange
Scribbles 3D Paint – Crystal Sparkle
1 sheet yellow sticky-back craft foam
Pencil, blue permanent marker
Scissors, painter’s tape
Tracing paper, carbon paper
Paintbrush, plastic dish
Hot wire foam-cutting tool

Carved Sunny Shine Sign made with Smoothfoam by Carmen Flores

1.  Draw the word “Shine” on a piece of tracing paper with pencil. Attach the drawing to the Smoothfoam with painter’s tape.

2.  Put a piece of carbon paper under the drawing and use the pencil to trace your design onto the Smoothfoam. Remove the drawing and tracing paper.

3.  Use the hot wire foam cutting tool to carve the word out of the Smoothfoam block.

4. Paint the front of the word with deep yellow and let dry. Paint the sides with bright orange, let dry.

5.  Add shine to the front of the word with a coat of Scribbles paint and let dry.

6.  Cut two 2” squares from the craft foam and pressd the sticky sides together. Draw a 1” circle in the middle of the foam square and cut it out. Then trim the square around the circle opening into a sunburst shape.

7. Highlight the sunburst tips with orange paint and Scribbles paint as shown.

8. Color a toothpick with blue marker and poke one end into the Smoothfoam ball. Hold the toothpick like a handle while you paint the ball yellow, let dry.

9.  Fit the ball inside the sunburst and poke it in to dot the “i.”

Carved Sunny Shine Sign made with Smoothfoam by Carmen Flores



Flower power embellishment

Smoothfoam ball flower embellishment


It’s that time of year again – graduations, weddings, showers. Even if you’re giving a gift card or cash, you still want to present it in a nice way.

Smoothfoam to the rescue! It’s amazing what can be done with Smoothfoam sheets and shapes!

I made several of these flowers when I was sitting in front of the TV one night and now I have them ready to go for a lot of different projects, from gift boxes to refrigerator magnets.

These would also make a cute addition to any centerpiece or floral decoration with wooden skewers, or use one as a lapel pin, or attach one to a plastic headband for your hair. I’m sure you can come up with some other cool ideas as well!


Smoothfoam 1-1/2” balls
Foam cutter
Acrylic paints (I used burnt sienna, red, brown)
Twine – assorted colors and sizes
Flower die (I used Sizzix Tattered Florals)
Patterned papers
Heavy-duty double-stick tape

1.  Cut Smoothfoam balls in half and paint each half with 2 coats of desired color(s). Use a sponge to blend colors and add texture; allow to dry.

2.  Apply double-stick tape to the back of the ball, then add loops of twine in multiple colors and lengths (as shown) to the back to form petals, adding more tape to secure as necessary. Center the ball and twine arrangement on top of 1-2 larger die-cut flowers and secure with tape.

3.  To use as a refrigerator magnet, add a self-adhesive magnet to the back.

Smoothfoam flower ball magnet

Kidney bean trivet

Kidney bean trivet with Smoothfoam


Smoothfoam is great for using as a trivet. The insulating properties of Smoothfoam will protect your kitchen counters from being marked by hot platters of delectables you’ve just fixed.


Smoothfoam 8″ disc
Smoothfoam 1.5″ balls
Aleene’s Turbo Tacky Glue
Dry kidney beans
Foam brush
Dark brown acrylic paint
Golden yellow acrylic paint
Scrap cardboard
Parchment paper
Hot glue gun

1.  Paint the Smoothfoam disc on all sides with 2 coats of dark brown – use the parchment as a palette. Allow first coat to dry before applying the second.

2.  After the paint is completely dry, glue the kidney beans on one side (the top) of the disc in concentric circles, working from the outer edge toward the center. For variety, I changed the direction of the beans every 3rd row from vertical to horizontal. Allow to dry thoroughly.

3.  Glue rows of beans around the edge of the disc, use the parchment paper as a non-stick work surface. Allow to dry thoroughly.

4.  To create the legs for your trivet, stick a toothpick into each of four Smoothfoam balls to use as a handle while painting them with 3 coats of yellow, allowing each coat to dry thoroughly before proceeding to the next. Poke the balls on toothpicks into a piece of cardboard to dry.

5.  Use hot glue to adhere the four balls onto the back of the disc about 1/2″ in from the edge, at equal distance from each other.


“Kitchen Closed” sign

Kitchen closed sign made with Smoothfoam

 If you’ve ever had one of those days, here’s your sign!


2″ x 4″ x 8″ Smoothfoam block
Smoothfoam Sheet (any size)
Foam cutting tool
Delta Ceramcoat Acrylic Paints: Black, Burnt Umber, White, Barn Red, Opaque Yellow
Cardboard scrap
6″ length of jute string
Hot glue gun
Foam pouncer
Permanent marker

1.  Cut chicken shape from Smoothfoam sheet.
2.  Paint the Smoothfoam block with a base coat of red, let dry.
3.  Paint the chicken cut-out with white, the crown with red, and the beak with yellow, let dry.
4.  Add black polka dots with pouncer.
5.  Paint the words “Kitchen Closed” with white as shown; let dry.
6.  Shade the lower half of the letters with burnt umber, shade left and lower outsides of each letter with black.
7.  Use hot glue to attach chicken to a Smoothfoam block.
8.  Write “This Chick’s Had It” with a marker on a cardboard scrap.
Punch holes in the top corners of the cardboard and thread the jute through. Knot the ends and hang the sign around the chicken’s neck.

Painted flower stakes

Hand painted flower decor stakes


We give a lot of plants and flowers as gifts in our family and I always like to add a little something extra. Sure, I could make a handmade greeting card, but why not make something that can be used well after the flowers are gone?

So I decided to create these pretty carved and hand-painted flower stakes. They can be added to a bouquet of flowers, poked into potted plants or you can even use them in the garden. Make them in a variety of colors for a whole bouquet.



Smoothfoam sheet – any size
Foam carving tool
DecoArt Americana Craft Paints
Buttons and twine
Hot glue gun
DecoArt Glamour Dust
Wood skewers

Carve flowers from the SmoothFoam


1.  Sketch flower designs on the Smoothfoam then carve them out.
Tip:  Use a pencil or light-color pen to sketch your flower design. Darker color pen strokes are likely to show through the paint.

2.  Use sandpaper to smooth the edges.

3.  Paint each flower with 2-3 coats of desired color(s), allowing paint to dry between coats. Immediately after applying the last coat of paint, gently sprinkle Glamour Dust over each flower.

4.  Thread twine through button holes and tie a knot. Using hot glue, adhere buttons to the center of each flower.

5.  Insert skewer into bottom of each flower.

Add buttons and sticks



Sponge-painted angels

sponge-painted angels with SmoothfoamRusty tin, marble and verdigris are the sponge-painted finishes I’ve given to this trio of Smoothfoam angels to dress up your home or garden. They also make a lovely gift for Mother’s Day.

For the best sponge-painting effects, use a natural sea sponge in a size that fits comfortably in your fingers. Moisten it with a little water and squeeze out the excess. Dip it into the paint, then blot it on a paper towel. Press it gently against the surface, then lift. Repeat until the desired coverage is achieved. Use a light touch so the color below shows through.

Here are the colors to use for each effect:

Rusty tin—paint a base coat of black. While paint is still slightly wet, sponge with orange, then sponge over the black and orange with golden tan or beige. Then sponge lightly over that with metallic gold. Lightly sponge with white around the edges as a final option.

Marble—paint a base coat of light brown, then sponge with warm white. Lightly sponge over that with metallic gold.

Verdigris—paint a base coat of black. While it is still wet, sponge over it with turquoise, then sponge lightly over this with metallic gold.


Supplies for the Rusty Tin Angel:

2-1/2″ Smoothfoam ball
4″ x 4″ x 2″ Smoothfoam block
DecoArt acrylic paints:  black, orange, metallic gold, white
Jute twine
Toothpicks, wooden skewer
Sea sponge
Water container, paper towels, paper plates
Glue gun
For wings:
– burlap, paper-backed fusible web, brown cardstock
– paper pattern, pencil, scissors, iron
For sentiment:
– kraft cardstock, embossing ink, black embossing powder
– heat gun, paper cutter
– “Home Sweet Home” stamp by Close To My Heart
  Optional:  use regular ink pad instead of embossing ink/powder

Angel wings1.  Sponge-paint the ball and block with rusty tin finish. Use a skewer to hold the foam as you paint if desired.

2.  Attach the ball to the top of the block with a toothpick and secure with hot glue.

3.  Wrap and glue jute twine to the bottom of the angel as shown.

4.  Draw a pattern for wings on the brown cardstock. Iron the fusible web to the burlap according to manufacturer’s instructions. Peel off release paper and iron the burlap to the brown cardstock. Trace around the pattern on the paper side of the burlap and cut out the wings. Reverse the pattern and cut out a second set of wings from cardstock.  Adhere it to the first set of wings, finishing the back side.  Position the wings and adhere to the angel’s back.

5.  To make a halo, coil a long string the jute into a few small circles, then wind the tail around the coil and glue the end to secure. Adhere the halo to the top of angel’s head.

6.  Stamp and emboss the sentiment onto kraft cardstock. Cut to fit the front of the block as shown and adhere.