About Julie McGuffee

Originally from England, I have been professionally involved in the arts & crafts industry for over 20 years as a TV host & presenter, award winning designer, product developer, consultant and author of over 50 "how to" craft books. I love crafts!

Disco Sequin Earrings

smoothfoam Disco sequin Earrings

Smoothfoam balls are lightweight and dense – the perfect base to make custom beads for pendants, necklaces, bracelets, and especially earrings.

You’ll need the following supplies:

Two 3/4″ Smoothfoam balls
Two 2″ silver eye-pins
2 earring wires
4 bell cap findings
2 decorative bead dangles
2 yds slung sequins
Jewelry pliers, tapestry needle
Tacky glue, small brush
Toothpick, straight pin

make smoothfoam ball Earrings

Make a hole through the center of each ball with a tapestry needle.

Push the ball onto a toothpick (to use for a handle), then coat the ball with tacky glue.

Starting at the top hole, hold the end of the sequin string in place with a straight pin while you wrap the sequins around the ball. The thread holding the sequins together should face the surface of the ball. Trim the end, then set aside to dry.

Wrap smoothfoam ball with sequins

Place a bell cap finding over each hole then push the eye pin through the center of each ball. Trim the straight end of each eye pin to about 1/2″ from the top, then use pliers to create a loop. Attach the earring wire to the top and a bead dangle at the bottom.

smoothfoam ball sequin earrings

Use this same technique with 1″ balls, your choice of beads and 1/8″ wide ribbon or cord to make a larger bead for a matching pendant.

smoothfoam Disco sequin Pendant

Smoothfoam Light-Up Snowflake

Smoothfoam snowflake

Light up your holidays with this sparkly snowflake!


Large Smoothfoam snowflake
6″ Smoothfoam disc
Tacky glue
Clear crystal glitter
Acrylic embellishments
Craft knife and/or sharp paring knife
Creative Versa-Tool  (for heat carving)
Tempered glass work mat
Sponge brush, quilt pins
Battery-operated LED mini-lights (string of 20)

1.  Coat the top of the snowflake with glue using a sponge brush, then sprinkle with glitter. Set aside to dry.
Tip:  Thin the glue with a little water to make it easier to spread.

2.  Mark 20 equally-spaced dots (about 1″ apart) around the top of the disc, 1/2″ in from the edge, then use the blade holder tip of the heat tool to drill holes where marked for the lights to push through. Quickly push the tip straight up and down and work on a tempered glass surface. The tip will not go all the way thru the disc, so turn the disc over and open up the holes from the opposite side. This is a HOT tool – use with extreme caution.

3.  Cut a 4″ circle out of the center of the disc to turn it into a 1″ ring. Cut with a slow up and down motion for a smooth edge – use a craft knife, hot wire foam cutter, or the knife blade in the Versa Tool.
Tip:  A fabric softener sheet is great for cleaning up small crumbs of Smoothfoam on your work surface after cutting.

cutting smoothfoam

4.  Push each LED bulb into a hole in the ring from the back. If the hole is a little large and the bulb doesn’t fit snugly, shim with a small, rolled strip of card stock inside the hole. To keep the wire straight, leave 4 or 5 holes between each bulb.

attaching LED lights to Smoothfoam wreath

5.  Attach the ring to the center of the snowflake by pushing quilt pins diagonally thru the inside of the ring into the snowflake, making sure the wire and battery holder/switch are at the back. Smoothfoam is very dense, so the pins should hold everything together without glue. Decorate the front of the ring as desired with acrylic bling.

6.  The battery pack can be left loose at the back, or you can glue half a 6″ paper plate at the back to create a pocket to hold it in place. It’s important to be able to reach the switch to turn the lights on and off if there isn’t a timer setting.

7.  Cover the opening in the center of the ring with a 4″ circle of card stock, or accordion fold a 24″ x 2″ strip of card stock to create a rosette. Folds should be about 3/4″ apart.

Steps 6-7


Decorating with Seashells

Smoothfoam Shell Gift Basket


For me, vacations are all about the beach – and I haven’t left a beach yet without a pocketful of shells! I’ve crafted with found shells for literally more than 60 years, but for special ideas for decorating with seashells like these, I head to the craft store for hard-to-find shells. Smoothfoam shapes are a wonderful foundation for so many different kinds of seashell decorations. Find some wonderful seashell craft ideas below. PLEASE NOTE: Shells conduct heat from the glue gun very quickly. Use caution when handling to avoid burns.

To make this shell basket above, you’ll need:

Low-temp glue gun
Smoothfoam 8” half-ball
6-7 scallop shells

Glue the shells around the outside of the half-ball. Overlap shells as shown for better coverage. Fill with whatever decorative items you like, such as netting and more shells.

Smoothfoam Shell Mirror



To make this shell mirror, you’ll need:

Tacky glue and low-temp glue gun
Smoothfoam 12” disc
8” round mirror
Assorted shells

Adhere the mirror to the center of the disc with tacky glue. Arrange and glue shells around the outer edge of the mirror with the glue gun.



Smoothfoam Starfish Tree Supplies

To make this starfish tree, you’ll need:

Low-temp glue gun
Smoothfoam Cupcake
½” wide burlap ribbon
5 Helmet starfish (graduated sizes to stack)

Wrap the burlap ribbon around the outside of the cupcake for the base, then glue the largest starfish on top. Glue the remaining starfish on top, ending with the smallest.



Smoothfoam Starfish Tree



How to cut Smoothfoam

Cutting Smoothfoam is easy when you have the right tools. These are the tools that I use:

How to cut Smoothfoam


– Craft knife
– Utility knife with a break-off blade
– Metal ruler with a cork (non-slip) back
– Glass mat (tempered glass)

I have always used a glass mat when cutting anything with a craft knife because I like the way the point of the knife slides easily along the glass.

A craft knife works well for ½” sheets – make sure it’s sharp. Children can use a safer plastic craft knife – rub wax along the edges to make the cutting easier.

Cut the 1″ thick sheets with a utility knife against a metal ruler. The blade on a utility knife is longer and it can go through the Smoothfoam with one pass, leaving a clean edge, whether I’m cutting straight lines or basic shapes.

If you end up with small burrs (foam particles) on the edge after cutting, gently rub the edge against another piece of Smoothfoam to remove them – it works as a sanding block against itself. This may also be a sign that you need a new blade for your knife.

For Smoothfoam blocks, balls, and other dimensional shapes, a craft hot knife works the best.

Halloween Treat Bowl

smoothfoam halloween treat bowl

You’ve been boo’d!!  Everyone will enjoy this fun treat bowl for Halloween.  Fill with wrapped candy, or mini candy bars or popcorn.

Here’s what you’ll need:

8″ Smoothfoam half-ball 
Smoothfoam baby head
Smoothfoam Letters
DecoArt Americana Neon Paint – Orange, Green and Yellow
DecoArt Americana Patio Paint – Black
Small foam cup
Coat hanger wire
2 wiggle eyes
Green shreds
3 black paper bats
6 yellow acrylic gems
Cool temp glue gun
Large sponge pouncer
Make-up sponge
Candy Corn
Scissors, pliers, skewer

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Smoothfoam is non-toxic. However the bowl should not be used for direct contact with food unless the inside of the bowl is painted and sealed with non-toxic paint and sealer. Only use for wrapped candy. This bowl was filled with popcorn for decorative purposes only.

#Smoothfoam Boo Basket Supplies

1.  Cut the top edge from the foam cup then glue the ring to the base of the bowl to keep it from rolling.

2.  Paint the bowl black, the B and one letter O orange, the second letter O yellow, and the doll head green. Let dry.

TIP:  Smoothfoam surface is very smooth and slick, so I use a large sponge pouncer to paint large pieces, or a make-up sponge to paint smaller pieces for a nice, even finish.

3.  Glue the wiggle eyes and one piece of candy corn (nose) to the doll face, shreds (hair) and 2 pieces of candy corn (horns) to head.

4.  Glue the letters beside each other as shown, add the gems to the bats for eyes, then glue the bats to the letters.

5.  Use a skewer to push 2 holes on either side of the bowl, 1″ from the top.

6.  Curve about 12″ of coat hanger wire to make a handle. Use pliers to bend each end outward at a 45˚ angle, then insert one end into each hole from the inside. Bend the ends upward to secure. Glue the letters to the wire handle.

7.  Fill the bowl with wrapped Halloween candy, then nestle the head in the candy so it pops up between the pieces and remember:

“When you’re out on the thirty-first with a bag of candy that’s ready to burst…
Look over your shoulder and all about, ’cause take it from me, you’d better

Valentine topiary


This sweet Valentine topiary is an easy-to-make accent for your home or it would make a great Valentine’s Day gift for a friend too!

smoothfoam valentine topiary

You will need:

5″ Smoothfoam cube
Smoothfoam heart (any size)
Red self-adhesive glitter craft foam sheets
8″ dowel
2″ white craft foam hearts
Red ¼” wide ribbon
Red shredded paper or mylar
White silk flowers
Pink dimensional heart stickers
Silver sequins
Sequin pins
Cool-temp glue gun
Skewer or knitting needle

1.  Cut out five 4” squares of red glitter craft foam. Glue one square to each side and top of the Smoothfoam cube, then glue layered white and pink craft foam hearts to the center of each side.

2.  Cover the surface of the heart with small, white flowers  – attach with a pin through a silver sequin at the center of each flower. If you don’t have a readymade Smoothfoam heart, you can cut a heart shape out of a Smoothfoam sheet.

3.  Use a skewer or knitting needle to carefully make pilot holes in the center top of the cube and in the bottom of the heart. Push one end of the dowel down into the top of the cube then push the bottom of the heart down on to the opposite end of the dowel.

4.  Wrap the exposed part of the dowel with about a yard of red ribbon and glue each end to secure.  OPTION:  Use a red paint marker to color the dowel before inserting into the Smoothfoam.

5.  Tie a small bunch of red shreds together at the center with some ribbon, then tie the bunch around the dowel at the base of the heart. Bring the ends of the ribbon together at the front and tie a bow. Trim the tails as needed.


Napkin decoupage photo holder

Isn’t this just the cutest block on the block? This napkin-decoupaged photo holder was one of our Make & Take projects that we shared in our booth at the 2014 Craft & Hobby Association Mega Show.

Smoothfoam napkin decoupage Photo Cube

You will need:

3″ Smoothfoam cube
Four 1″ Smoothfoam balls
Decorative paper napkins
Floral wire – 18 guage
Silver mini-brads
¼” wide grosgrain ribbon
DecouPage Sealer
Black Patio Paint
Large, soft brush
Small, soft brush
Aleene’s Fast Grab Tacky Glue
Scissors, craft knife

1.  Push a toothpick into each 1” ball to use as a handle, then paint each ball with black patio paint. Set aside to dry.

2.  Separate the layers of a napkin and remove the printed layer to work with. Cut two 3” square pieces for the top and bottom of the cube. Cut the rest of the printed layer into long, 3″wide strips. Wrap one strip around two sides of the cube, gently adhering with with decoupage sealer, then continue with more strips to cover the other sides, and adhere the 3” squares to the top and bottom. Insert a toothpick into the base of the block if handling the cube with fingers becomes too sticky. Let dry.

3.  Glue a black ball to each corner of the base of the block, let dry.

4.  Wrap a strip of ribbon around the top edge of the block, about ½” down from the top edge and secure to the foam with sequin pins. Use a craft knife to make 3 tiny pilot holes in the ribbon on each side of the cube, then insert a mini brad thru each hole in the ribbon with a dab of glue.

5.  To make the wire heart, wrap one piece of wire twice around a paint bottle, leave 2″ at each end and twist the ends together. Slide the coil off and gently pull out the top part of each loop to create the heart shape.  The coils will overlap at the center to create a slot to hold a photo. Make a pilot hole in the center of the top of the cube, add a few drops of glue and push the wire into the cube.


Faux canvas wall plaque with free downloadable


This lovely wall plaque with the look of canvas was one of our Make & Take projects that we shared in our booth at the 2014 Craft & Hobby Association Mega Show.  I designed this image with a photo I took at the beach and some inspiring words. You can download my image or create your own!

Smoothfoam Faux Canvas Wall Art

You will need:

Smoothfoam scrapbook mount sheet, cut to 7-1/2” x 10”
Craft Attitude Inkjet Printable Film
Elmer’s Extra-Strength Glue Stick
Dimensional glue dots
Helmet starfish
½” wide burlap ribbon
Sequin pins
“Cherish” beach image* – click here to download
Computer and inkjet printer

1.  Print out your image in reverse to fill an 8-1/2″ X 11″ Sheet of Craft Attitude film, following the package directions. Our free downloadable image above is already in reverse.

2.  Cover the entire surface of the Smoothfoam sheet with a smooth layer of glue stick. Little “bumps” of glue need to be smoothed out or they will show.

3.  Lay the sheet of film on the counter, printed side facing up. Flip the Smoothfoam sheet over, glue side down, center it in position and press it gently on top of the film.

4.  Flip the plaque back over and gently rub and press the film (keep liner in place) against the Smoothfoam, smoothing out any creases.

5.  With your fingernail or a straight pin, carefully peel back one corner of the top liner of the film, then slowly peel the liner all the way off.

6.  Gently smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles in the film. It will not smear because the ink side of the film is against the glue side of the foam.

7.  Spread glue around the outside edges of the Smoothfoam, then fold and press the excess film over on to the edges. Snip off the overlapping corners of film.

8.  Adhere the starfish on top of the plaque with a few glue dots. Use small sequin pins to attach burlap ribbon around the edge as a frame.

*  ©Julie McGuffee – you have permission to download this “Cherish” beach image for your own personal use only, not for resale.