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Craft foam: NOT just for crafts

Craft foam is a classic material usually used in craft kids projects. However, it has a number of uses for the mixed media,  art world too and here are some ways to use it.

Craft foam is sold in a few sizes and in either  peel and stick foam or plain type.​

Homemade foam stamps

homemade foam stamps

One of the most popular ways to use craft foam is to make stamps with it. You are best off using the peel and stick for this activity since otherwise you will have to use glue to stick the foam to its background.

You draw your patterns onto the foam, cut them out and paste onto an object that will allow you to hold onto to it which will help you stamp. Sometimes it may be best to first adhere the pieces to another larger piece of foam and then peel and stick the larger piece to the background you find.

I  have used a number of items as backgrounds.

  1. Old kids wooden  blocks
  2. Old ​kids sponge blocks
  3. Pieces of styrofaom
  4. Thicker pieces of foam
  5. Anything that you can basically hold in your hand to use as a stamp

How to transfer the image to the paper

Color box inks and homemade foam stamps
purple ink with homemade foam stamp
orange and turquoise ink on homemade striped foam stamp

You can use inks that are used for more traditional stamps  like in the color box inks above. I love the color box inks and you can get them in the longer box with the small rectangular inks or the round container with  larger triangular inks. Each color can be removed and dabbed on.  The fact that they are smaller and removable allows you to  use more than one color for each stamp.

stamp markers and homemade foam stamps

You can also use markers that are specific for stamping. This transfer did not come out so well but, I wanted to show it to you anyway since it could be that my markers are old and its a convenient way to get the ink onto the stamps, so you may want to try it anyway.

brayer and paint on foam plate
brayering homemade foam stamps
orange paint on spiral homemade foam stamp

Acrylic paint is another way to ink the stamps. Here I am using a brayer to roll the stamp in the paint on a styrofoam plage and then rolling the brayer onto the stamp. This gives the stamps an even coat. To roll paint you can use a piece of plexiglass, wax paper or any other flat object that won't resist the paint.

Using brush to apply paint to foam stamp

You can also put the paint on with a brush if you don't have a brayer.

Etching in foam

craft foam etched
Craft foam with etching and pulled print

You can etch on larger pieces or with cutout shapes.

Above I have a large piece of craft foam which is not  peel and stick (as its not necessary to stick this onto to anything to get good use out of it) I scratched patterns into it with a pen (you can use a skewer as well), rolled a brayer with paint over it (its too big to use with ink) and stamped it onto a paper.

There is a mixed media artist, Traci Bautista who uses this a lot in her art making.​

flower from craft foam
brayering foam flower
flower homemade foam stamp

Another way to use these foam stamps is to cut them out into shapes you like, scratch marks into them and print.

In the image above with the red flower you can see that the flower on the left printed better. That is because I first printed the one on the right, saw that it did not print so well so I went back to the flower and I etched in deeper.​

What happens when you don't etch deep enough is that the paint gets stuck into the grooves and you can't see the marks when printed.

The marks you etch should print as white and if there is paint inside them then they will not show up.​

Craft mosaics

flower from craft foam mosaics

This activity gives a very pretty looking result but, admittedly it is only for the very patient.

I did this activity thinking that I would do more than one flower but, it was too tedious for me.

I had a flower template which I outlined onto the background of an old journal page that I didn't like then cut up pieces of the peel and stick foam and pieced them into the flower I drew. The stem was a free form stem.

I then painted around with these yummy new dylusions paint that I bought recently.​

Stamping on foam

Stamping on craft foam

Craft foam is another good background for stamping onto with all sorts of stamps. The spongy type of material allows you to get a nice clean impression.

I stamped onto the foam with different ink colors, cut them out and pasted them onto the same journal page as I did the mosaic flower.​

foam flowers from flower stamp
mosaic foam piece flower

Using foam for collage and embellishments

Last but  not least, you can use craft phone for embellishments and collage pieces. As I don't have any pictures of these so you'll just have to use your imagination. You just cut up the peel and stick foam into any shapes and pictures you want them to be and just peel and stick them on.

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