Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Crafting Props With Expanding Foam

Svetlana Quindt brings us this tutorial on crafting props using expanding foam.  It's an inexpensive technique that can produce impressive results.  The foam is surprisingly strong, especially when it's finished with a hard skin.  One word of warning- you absolutely, positively have to wear gloves if you're going to work with expanding foam.  You have no idea how nightmarish it can be to get the stuff on your skin.


CoastConFan said...

I remember seeing people carving blocks of soft foam rubber with an electric carving knife back in the ‘70s. It seems counter-intuitive but the electric carving knife makes very little pressure on something as super soft as foam rubber, so nothing gets distorted by the pressure of the blades. It makes clean easy cuts and since the foam rubber doesn’t bunch up on the blade, you don’t get rips or tears as with a regular serrated knife.

So an electric carving knife would seem to be pretty good for blocking out your expanding foam works as well. Mind you be sure your foam is fully dry or the goop will gum up the works. As far as I know, electric carving knives they are still available. As a side note, they are great for carving turkeys as well.

Propnomicon is quite correct, the sticky foam just loves to adhere onto skin and clothes. Also of note is watch out for possible toxic fumes as it dries. I’ve just used expanding foam for its intended use, not for sculpting, but it seems like a great idea with some prior planning. I’ve gotten a little on my skin before an it is terrible to remove.

Another point from personal experience, when shooting foam into a contained area remember that it really expands and if you put too much into a small area, it expands like a nightmare of sticky goo and oozes out the hole. I’ll leave your Lovecraftian imaginations to figure out the rest of the scenario. But remember, sticky and horrible and it sticks to everything as you panic trying to get rid of the excess boiling out of that tiny hole in the wall.

Mr. Sable said...

Have a bottle of nail polish remover and a thick plastic bowl handy for cleaning your hands of that stuff. It works very well.