Carved Inspirational Butterfly Wall Art

Smootfoam-Carved-Butterfly-by-Carmen-Flores-Tanis-mainThis DIY butterfly wall art makes a charming reminder to try new and daring things. Its simple shape makes it the perfect beginner project for carving Smoothfoam. And it is easy to personalize by adding your favorite quote or loved one’s name. You’ll want to make lots of these!

12″ Smoothfoam Scrapbook Mount
Sulky Stick’n Carve Printable Transfer sheets
Acrylic paints – black, light blue, medium blue, dark blue, metallic blue
Hot Wire Foam Factory Hot Knife & Mini-Scroll Table & Engraving Tool
Paint pens – white, black
Silver 12-gauge wire
Wire cutters
White glue, paintbrush
Picture-hanging hook

1.  Click here to download* my butterfly design.  Because it’s too large to fit on a single sheet of Sulky Stick’n Carve, I tiled it on two sheets. Print the butterfly and peel off the backing release paper, then apply the Sulky pieces to the Smoothfoam sheet, overlapping to make one continuous design. Trim off the excess transfer sheet.Smootfoam-Carved-Butterfly-by-Carmen-Flores-Tanis-1

2.  Carefully carve out the Smoothfoam sheet with the Mini-Scroll Table.


3.  Use the Engraving Tool to carve the wording and other details into the foam. Peel off the transfer sheets when finished.

4. Paint the butterfly black. Let dry.


5.  Dip the paintbrush into the dark blue, then wipe most of the paint off onto a paper towel and “dry brush” the blue on top of the black. Set aside to dry. Repeat with the medium blue and light blue paints, letting dry in between coats.


6.  Paint the banner area with a few coats of blue metallic paint.


6.  Add details with the paint pens as shown.

7.  To form the antennae, cut two pieces of wire to 5″ long. Twist one wire into a loose spiral and insert it into the top of the butterfly. Secure with a drop of white glue. Repeat for the second wire.

8.  Glue a picture hanging hook to the back or display on an easel.

* Copyright:  You are welcome to use my original artwork only for your own use or for a gift/donation. You may not use my designs for items intended for resale.

Weathered Wood Plank Beach Sign

faux driftwood beach sign

I recently repainted our tiny downstairs bathroom with a beach theme, as I love all things to do with the ocean. When the bathroom was completed, I felt it needed just a little something else, so I set about making this beach sign. It was so quick and easy to make a Smoothfoam sheet look like weathered wood – it took only 2 hours, including dry time.

Two 1″ x 6″ x 12″ Smoothfoam sheets
4″ Smoothfoam letters to spell “Beach”
Acrylic paints – white, dark brown
Foam paint brushes, stiff bristle brush, long-handle paint brushes
Tacky glue
Bamboo skewers, toothpicks
Packing tape, craft wire

paint smoothfoam to look like wood


Join the 2 sheets of Smoothfoam with toothpicks glue. Use tape on the back to hold the pieces together while the glue sets.

Paint the letters white and set aside to dry.

Gently press the skewer into the Smoothfoam to make straight, indented lines (like wood planks) across the sheets. Don’t forget to indent the edges of the sheet, too.

Use a paint brush handle to indent the lines a bit deeper. Be careful not to press too hard – avoid cracking the surface.

Paint the grooved lines dark brown. Then mix some white paint into a little dark brown to make a lighter shade and paint the rest of the sheet. Let dry.

Distress the “wood plank” by lightly dry-brushing a little white paint across it.

Glue your “beach” letters to the sign, then glue or tape a wire loop to the back for hanging.

Carved Smoothfoam Party Sign

carved smoothfoam party celebration signThis carved Smoothfoam party sign is perfect for a graduation, birthday, new promotion or any kind of celebration. It’s a fun and whimsical way to congratulate the guest of honor on a wonderful accomplishment. Not only does it combine several of my favorite trends right now – chalkboards, marquee letters, word art and Dr. Seuss – but it would also be right at home on your Fourth of July picnic table!


2” x 12” x 36″ Smoothfoam sheet – cut to 2″x 12″ x 5″ piece
Sulky Stick’n Carve Printable Transfer sheet
Hot Wire Foam Factory Hot Knife & Mini-Scroll Table & Engraving Tool
Elmer’s Painters Paint pens – fine tip white, blue, red, yellow
Scribbles 3D Dimensional Paint – White
Acrylic paint – black
Paint brush, plastic dish


1.  Click here to download* my original “WooHoo You!” artwork and print it out on the Sulky transfer sheet. Trim the Sulky to fit the Smoothfoam sheet. Peel off the backing paper and press the transfer sheet onto the Smoothfoam. Poke pilot holes with the hot knife into each area of the block that will be cut out.
sulky transfer sheet on smoothfoam2.  Carefully carve out the design on the mini-scroll table. Unthread and re-insert the wire into each pilot hole to make each interior cut.cut smoothfoam with hot wire scroll table3.  Add textural outlines to each letter with the heat engraving tool. Peel off the transfer sheet when finished.
add texture to smoothfoam with heat carving tool4.  Paint the party sign with black acrylic paint and let dry.
paint smoothfoam sign black5.  Outline and doodle on the letters with the paint pens. Finish by adding dots and other textural fills with the dimensional paint.

doodle on smoothfoam with paint pens* You are permitted to use my original artwork ONLY for your own personal project or a gift/donation. It is a copyright violation to use my original artwork on items you intend to  sell. Thank you!

Word for the Year: Connect

how to carve words out of smoothfoam

Each January, I like to choose an “action word” to use as a goal or inspiration for that year. Last year I selected the word “grow” and boy, did I ever! My business and schedule grew tremendously, I’m happy to say. This year I carved the word “connect” from a block of Smoothfoam and added details with twisted wire and Smoothfoam balls. It will serve as a visual reminder to myself to connect more with my family and friends, to network more for my business, and to “connect the dots” in my artwork by bringing together diverse techniques from different media. Choose your own favorite action word and carve it using the following tools and techniques!


2” x 4” x 12″ Smoothfoam block
Two 1” Smoothfoam balls
Three 2” Smoothfoam balls
Sulky Stick’n Carve Printable Transfer sheet
Hot Wire Foam Factory Hot Knife & Mini-Scroll Table
Stamps and ink pads
Tacky glue
Craft paints – sky blue, yellow, red, navy blue, orange
Silver wire – 16 gauge
 and 12 gauge
Wire cutters, round-nose pliers
Paint brush, skewers


1.  Click here to download the “Connect” artwork* and print it onto the Sulky transfer sheet. Because it is too long to fit onto one sheet, it’s tiled into two sections. Cut the sheet in half between the two lines of text. Peel off the backing paper and press the two pieces together to fit on the Smoothfoam block. Trim off the excess transfer sheet. Poke pilot holes with the hot knife into each area of the block that will be cut out.


2.  Carefully carve out the design on the mini-scroll table. Unthread and re-insert the wire into each pilot hole to make each interior cut. Peel off the transfer sheet when finished.

Carved-Word-of-the-Year-Connect-by-Carmen-Flores-Tanis-step-23.  Add details to the carving with the engraving tool.


4.  Paint the front of the carved letters yellow and let dry.


5.  Stamp a pattern on to the letters with a contrasting color ink pad – I used orange.


6.  Paint the sides, back and inside areas of the carving sky blue.


7.  Using the skewers as handles, paint each Smoothfoam ball with yellow, orange, red or navy blue acrylic paint. Let dry.

8.  Cut a 14” length of 12-gauge wire. Use a skewer to poke straight through each ball from the pre-drilled pilot hole at one end. Thread the Smoothfoam balls onto the wire. Secure with glue if necessary.

9.  Cut a 18” length of 16-gauge wire and twist one end around the 12-gauge wire right next to the first Smoothfoam ball. Wrap the wire loosely around the ball. Secure the wire in place by twisting the end around the 12-gauge wire on the other side of the ball. Repeat for the rest of the balls.Carved-Word-of-the-Year-Connect-by-Carmen-Flores-Tanis-Step-9

10.  Poke the wire ends into the top of the carved block. Add a drop of glue at each end to secure.

* You are welcome to use my original artwork for your own use or for a gift/donation only. You may not use my designs for items intended for resale – that is a copyright infringement. Thank you!

Vintage-Inspired Patina Owls

smoothfoam owls

It’s no secret that I love anything owls. I think they are just the most fantastic, adorable, magical creatures! When I saw these little guys, I squealed! They are cute in white, but even better painted. You can use them to spruce up a potted plant or display as a collection.  I hope you enjoy my tutorial. 🙂


3-7/8″ Smoothfoam owls
Acrylic paints -dark brown, metallic, gold
Mod Podge Gloss
Inka Gold metal paint
Foam brush
Bamboo skewers – trimmed to 6″

Push a skewer into the bottom of your owl and paint it brown. Poke the owl into a block of Smoothfoam to hold it upright as it dries.

Rinse and dry the foam brush, then add a little gold paint to the owl. Add additional metallic colors sparingly as desired, so the brown paint still shows through.

Once all the paint is dry, coat the owl with Mod Podge and allow to dry thoroughly for a few hours.

Lightly apply Inka Gold to the owl with your finger, accenting it just enough to give it a vintage look. Here are more patina variations, all starting with the brown and gold paint as a base.

Processed with Moldiv


Carved Block Stamping with Smoothfoam

Block Stamping on Canvas with Smoothfoam

I had this great idea to make stamps using Smoothfoam so that I could do sidewalk stamping with my grandsons. After one messy (but fun) try, I decided it really wasn’t going to work the way I wanted. So… I decided to use the stamps on a canvas instead.

Handmade Smoothfoam Stamps 4837

I created the stamps using a Hotwire Foam Cutter. You could also use a craft knife. Because the original plan was to use them with the kids, I glued handles on the back.

Block Stamping  Collage

Supplies Used:

12″ x 12″ Smoothfoam sheet
2″ Smoothfoam ball
10″ x 10″ canvas
Acrylic paints
Super Hotwire Foam Cutter or craft knife
Happy Words Stencil from Plaid

Prime canvas with a coat of gesso or neutral paint.

After cutting the Smoothfoam sheet into shapes (I made a square, triangle, flower, leaf), sponge some paint on the back of the square and stamp it on to the canvas. You may need to press the back of the canvas with your other hand to get crisper image. Repeat three more times to get a nice square background.

Stamp the flower and leaves. Using a small Smoothfoam ball cut in half, stamp the center of flower. Stencil desired words under the image.

smoothfoam block stamping on canvas

Framed Carved Heart

If this project looks familiar, it’s because it’s a variation of a project I did last year celebrating Valentine’s Day. I decided to update the design by carving very small letters and backing it with a piece of Rowlux for a stained glass effect. This was so fun to make that I might just have to make several for my friends and family!


12″ Smoothfoam Scrapbook Mount – scrap piece
Sulky Stick’n Carve Printable Transfer sheets
Hot Wire Foam Factory – Hot Wire Tool
Folk Art Chalkboard Paint – Black
Paint pens – opaque white, red, blue
Permanent marker
Floating picture frame
Paint brush / Scissors / glue roller

You are welcome to download my artwork (JPG files) for your personal use; it is larger than letter size, so you need to save and print both halves, then tile them together. Click here for the top half, and click here for the bottom half.

1. Print the artwork on to the Sulky Stick’n Carve Printable Transfer Sheets. Cut the heart out and write “Crazy 4 You” in the center of the heart using the paint pen. Peel off the backing release paper and apply the Sulky sheet to the Smoothfoam piece.


2.  Use the hot wire foam cutting tool to carve the heart and the words out of the Smoothfoam sheet.

3. Paint the Smoothfoam heart with the chalkboard paint. Let dry, Decorate with the paint pins.


3. Use the Sulky heart pattern to cut out a heart shape from the Rowlux.


4. Attach the blue Rowlux heart to the back of the Smoothfoam shape with the adhesive roller.Smoothfoam-Framed-Carved-Heart-4

5. To give it the floating effect, I used a bit of glue roller adhesive to attach the carved heart onto a floating frame.

How to Make Craft Stamps with Smoothfoam

One of my favorite things to make are background stamps – and with Smoothfoam, the possibilities are endless! It’s a great surface for carving stamps – I carved a different design on to each side of a cube, or you could also carve a sheet or block in any size.

Use your stamps to decorate fabric, cards, furniture, walls – or even make your own wrapping paper!



One 5″ Smoothfoam cube
Wood-burning heat tool with assorted tips
Metal ruler
Paintbrushes, foam brush
Plastic tooth brush
Acrylic paint
100 grit sandpaper (optional for sanding any rough edges)

carve custom stamps on Smoothfoam

For the word “Art,” I used a pen to write the word backwards. Then I carved out the letters with a tapered tip of a heat tool. I also added some texture between the letters.

smoothfoam heat carved stamps

These holes were made by pressing into the Smoothfoam with the ends of a paintbrush, a marker and generic plastic toothbrush.

carve stamps from smoothfoam

I created these overlapping circles by firmly pressing a metal bracelet into the surface.

carve stamps from smoothfoam

These lines were created with the edge of a metal ruler.

carve stamps from smoothfoam

I drew the heart with a pen, then used the heat tool to carve out the shape and add the lines.

Happy Make-n-Takers in the Smoothfoam Booth at the CHA Mega Show

beach sign project CHA showOne of our make-n-takes in the Smoothfoam booth at the CHA Mega Show was a mini beach sign with the look of a weathered wood gate – inspired by a project in my book, Stylish Craft Foam Projects (click here for the full instructions). It’s always fun to share creative techniques with people – we sure loved talking to everyone who crafted with us!

Be sure to tell us whenever you make a project with Smoothfoam so we can give you a shout out!

A Frosty Snowman and His Christmas Tree

Smoothfoam Snowman christmas Tree

Create your own frosty winter wonderland using the Smoothfoam snowman and tree shapes. So many different seasonal shapes to choose from!

Smoothfoam snowman
Smoothfoam 3-1/2″ tree
Smoothfoam 6″ disc
Textured embossing paste
Acrylic paints:  white, green and brown
Paintbrush, wood skewer
Stickles Glitter Glues:  Frosted Lace, Diamond
Mini brads:  black, red
Orange marker
Brown ink-pad
Ribbon, buttons, assorted Christmas embellishments
Small red doll sock
Craft glue


1.  Cover the snowman, tree and disc with the textured embossing paste using your finger. Allow to thoroughly dry before painting.

2. Gently dust the snowman and disc with brown ink using the paintbrush to highlight the texture of the paste.

3.  Paint the snowman with Frosted Lace glitter glue, the disc with Diamond glitter glue, and paint the tree green; let all pieces dry. Use a skewer for a handle while painting.

4. Add a coat of Diamond glitter glue to the tree and push in mini brads for lights.

5.  Decorate the snowman with mini brads for the eyes, the tip of a bamboo skewer colored orange for the nose, a small red sock (tie the top with twine) for his hat, teeny tiny red buttons and a red gingham bow.

6.  Glue the snowman and tree on to the disc and further embellish your winter scene as desired.