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!

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