I never really knew just how many creative opportunities I was missing until I started working with craft foam in my projects. It’s such a wonderfully versatile material—the lightweight and bright white surface is a nice alternative to wood, chipboard or paper maché.
The two most common brands of rigid, dimensional craft foam are Smoothfoam™ and Styrofoam™. Both brands are made from polystyrene, but the manufacturing process is different for making each of their sheets, balls and other shapes.
What crafters need to know is how the difference in manufacturing impacts the surface – Smoothfoam (expanded foam – shown at the top above) is smooth and dense, while Styrofoam (extruded foam – bottom) is textured and crunchy.
Both kinds of craft foam can be used interchangeably in many types of projects, however they each also have unique properties that lend themselves better to certain techniques.
Smooth foam is lovely to paint, distress and heat-carve, and it hugs straight pins and wires tightly. Textured foam is great for dry floral arranging or when you need to easily poke in thicker items like chenille stems, and the texture is nice when you want a crystallized effect.
Both types of craft foam are inexpensive and very lightweight, making them ideal for centerpieces, garlands and wall art.
For more tips, techniques and tutorials, check out my new book, Stylish Craft Foam Projects!
Excerpt reprinted with permission from Fox Chapel Publishing