Spell it out!

smoothfoam letters

Smoothfoam letters are a great way to spell it out! Whether it’s an initial or a sentiment, these block letters add a lot of dimension to your craft projects. Paint them, glitter them, burnish them, crackle them, cover them with washi tape – spelling is more fun with Smoothfoam! Check out these projects from some of our designers – great for last-minute gift ideas, too.

Lake sign
Hugs and kisses
Monogram magnet
Basket organizer
Family frame

Lake Life Sign

Smoothfoam Lake Life Sign

I’ve been looking at assorted “lake life” signs for the past few years in search of something for our cottage, but hadn’t found just the right one yet. Suddenly it came to me that Smoothfoam letters would be the perfect way for me to create my own. Its smooth surface is ideal for decorative painting, and it takes special finishes (like crackle) well, too – so you can get a rustic or weathered feel on your finished projects.


6” x 12” Smoothfoam sheet
Smoothfoam letters to spell “LAKE”
Acrylic paints – tan, white, dark green, foliage green, Hauser green, medium green, dark/navy blue,  light blue, dark brown, grey-tan
Crackle medium
Paintbrushes, emery board


Paint the top and sides of the Smoothfoam sheet tan and let dry, then ppply a coat of crackle finish. Let dry.

painting smoothfoamPaint a lake scene as shown – with pine trees and a border of sand around the water.

paint a scene on smoothfoam

The top layer of your painted scene will crackle to reveal the tan base coat below, giving the finished piece an aged and weathered effect.

Sand down any rough or raised edges on each Smoothfoam letter with an emery board, then paint tan and let dry. Apply a coat of crackle finish and let dry.

paint smoothfoam letters

Paint white on top of each letter and allow it to crackle as it dries. Glue the letters to the background sheet. Paint the word “Life” beneath the Smoothfoam letters in white.

paint on smoothfoam sheet

I used an adhesive hook and loop fastener to hang my finished sign on the wall, but you could also add a ribbon hanger to the back.

lake life sign

Valentine’s Day Door Decoration

Smoothfoam valentines day decoration

It’s almost time to decorate our front door again – for Valentine’s Day!  This year’s Valentine door hanger craft was inspired by the great dimensional letters made by Smoothfoam and an extra large wood tag shape. Together they make for a fun and unique way to decorate your front door and share the love!


Smoothfoam 4″ letters –  X’s and O’s
Unfinished Wood Co. large wood tag shape
Americana Décor Chalky Finish Paints – Romance, Innocence
Americana acrylic paint – White Wash
Colorbox Crafter’s Ink – Fire
ART-C Groove Tool
ART-C Adhesive Alphabet Stencils
Beacon 3-in-1 Adhesive
Rubber stamp
Paint brushes, pencil, scissors
Valentine patterned fabric


1.  Paint the wood tag with red chalky finish.  Let dry.


2.  Spell out “love rules” and “without rules” with self-adhesive stencils. If you prefer, use stencil your lettering on the wood directly. I am stencil-challenged, so I prefer to trace the letters as a template with a pencil, and then fill in with a paintbrush.

McGeeValentineDoorTagHow2-21 McGeeValentineDoorTagHow3-23

3.  Smoothfoam letters have small raised areas on them from the molding process, and sometimes the back edges of the lettering are a bit rigid. I like to smooth all those areas before I paint. An easy way to do this is with the ART-C Groove Tool and the sanding disc. You can see the difference in these two “O” letters.



4.  Paint letters with pink chalky finish. Let dry.


5.  Ink stamp with red pigment ink, stamp surface of painted letters and let dry.


6.  Cut a strip of fabric and tie it through the hole in the tag. Dovetail-cut the ends of the fabric strip.

7.  Glue the letters to the tag.


Monogram Magnets

smoothfoam letters monogram magnets

I really love how these monogram magnets turned out! Smoothfoam letters make perfect gifts, stocking stuffers or present-toppers that can be used all year long to hold precious memories and reminders on any metal surface!


4″ Smoothfoam letters
Pearlescent craft paints
Glitter paint
Heavy-duty craft glue

painted glittered smoothfoam letters


Paint your letters front and back with the craft paint.

When dry, add some glitter paint.

When the letters have completely dried, glue your magnets to the back.

Package each letter in a cute treat bag!

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.

Washi Tape Letters

smoothfoam Washi Tape Letters

Raise your hand if you are drowning in paperwork. I thought so! Here’s an organizer project using Smoothfoam letters that will help you get the paperwork off your counters and tables and filed away. And it looks pretty cute too! Click here to read more about how I’m using each pocket for my family.


Smoothfoam 4″ letters
Washi tape
Glue or fishing wire
Hanging pocket organizer

Choose the foam letters you will use. I file my paperwork according to who it belongs to, so I used my family members’ initials. You might want your boxes to read “IN”, “OUT”, or “FILE.”

Wrap your letters with washi tape. I bought a set of coordinating tapes, so each of my letters look a bit different, but still match. There are so many washi tapes out there – find the one that makes you happy.

Glue your washi tape-covered letters onto the organizer. Mine is wicker, so instead of glue, I decided to use fishing wire. I just threaded the wire through the wicker and tied the letters on.

smoothfoam letter O

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

“April Showers” heat-carved wallhanging


One of my favorite things about spring is the sight of brightly-colored umbrellas from people hurrying down the street, dodging puddles and trying so hard not to bump into each other. I decided to capture that moment by carving a trio of umbrellas into a Smoothfoam sheet and backing it with a painted square. Now wouldn’t this cheer you up on a rainy day?


12″ x 12″ Smoothfoam Scrapbook Mount

12″ x 12″ white foam core
2 Sulky Stick’n Carve Printable Transfer sheet
Craft paints – red, white, light blue, medium blue, dark blue
Black permanent marker
Hot Wire Foam Factory Hot Knife & Mini-Scroll Table & Engraving Tool

Paint brush
White glue
Picture hanging hook

1.  Click here to download* my artwork. Because the design is too large to fit on a single sheet of Sulky, I tiled it on two pages. Print the artwork on to the Sulky Stick’n Carve Printable Transfer sheets. Peel the backing release paper and apply the Sulky sheet pieces to the Smoothfoam block overlapping to make one continuous design. Trim off the excess transfer sheet.April-Showers-Carved-Wall-Hanging-by-Carmen-Flores-Tanis-Step-Out-1

2.  Use the Hot Knife tool to poke a pilot hole in the Smoothfoam sheet in each area which will be cut out.

3.  Carefully carve out the Smoothfoam sheet with the Mini-Scroll Table. You will need to unthread and insert the wire into each pilot hole to make each interior cut.

April-Showers-Carved-Wall-Hanging-by-Carmen-Flores-Tanis-Step-Out-2 4.  Use the Engraving Tool to carve details into the foam. Peel off the transfer sheets when finished.

5.  Paint the carving gray. Let dry before adding one more coat of paint.

6.  Paint the umbrellas red and the letters white, let dry. Use the black marker to fill in the umbrella handles and letter shapes as shown.

7.  Paint the foam core light blue, brushing vertically from top to bottom. Let dry. Use a dry brush to add long strokes of medium blue paint. Repeat with dark blue paint. Mix a dollop of light blue paint with one tablespoon water to make a thin blue wash. Use the handle tip of a paintbrush to drip the blue wash on the foam core. Let dry.

8.  Glue the carving to the painted foam core and glue a picture hanging hook to the back or display on an easel.

* 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.


Easter sign with Smoothfoam letters


Easter is only a few weeks away – time to gear up for this fabulous, springy occasion. So I created my first of many Easter-themed projects – starting with this Easter sign!


Smoothfoam 4″ letters
Craft glue
Hot glue gun
Scrapbook papers
Decorative cord or trim
Paper flowers and other embellishments


1.  Lay each letter in reverse on the back side of a sheet of paper and trace around it, then cut it out. Adhere the paper to the front of each letter by brushing on a thin coat of craft glue. Let dry.

2.  Wrap the cord/trim around the front edges of each letter, securing with hot glue. Glue the letters together into a single sign as shown. Glue or pin a small ribbon loop to the back for hanging.

3.  Embellish the sign however you like with flowers, pins, die-cuts, etc.


Last-minute gift idea: Monogram plaque featured on “When Creativity Knocks”


Wouldn’t this monogram plaque look great hanging on your bedroom door or on the wall as part of a collection of family portraits? It’s easy to make with a Smoothfoam disc and alpha letters – I show you how in this episode of When Creativity Knocks.