Tag Archives: Styrofoam Sculpting

Level 1-3: Equip Accessories

30 Jul

Styrofoam Work

Since the wave of trials and tests and decisions made last week, we’ve hit another slow spot. We knew when we started that Subject Delta‘s helmet was going to be painfully intricate and we’d even anticipated taking extra time to prevent having to re-do all our hard work. What we didn’t plan on was extra shipping time for supplies. Both Daniel and myself had the whole weekend set aside and I was essentially frothing at the mouth to start putting some details on our frame, but all of this hinged on our receiving our supplies on Friday. In case you haven’t already pieced it together, we did not receive our supplies on Friday.


And so, we busied ourselves with something that we could do with out our 5 mm thick craft foam, the camera.

Subject Delta's Camera

This camera sits atop Subject Delta’s helmet and we wanted to make sure that it didn’t wind up looking too much like a fish fin or a mo-hawk. We also wanted to make sure that it didn’t add too much height to our already dangerously thin helmet. Since Daniel is neither broad nor beefy, the challenge has been to make this helmet appropriate for Daniel’s stature, rather than trying to force him into a fictitious character’s body, so we wanted to be very careful of the height versus the width of the helmet. We toyed with the idea of adding extra panels to the frame to help fill out the cylindrical helmet to the shoulder harness  to help it look more squat but after much fretting and wringing of hands we decided to embrace our artistic interpretation and, to steal from an acting teacher of mine, discover what Daniel would look like if he were to become Subject Delta.

We wandered through Michaels for a while and finally decided on a styrofoam block for the camera. We looked and looked and looked for something to serve as the camera’s lens but nothing looked right. things were getting tense. We had been at Michaels for about an hour, after we had both worked full days at work and nothing I was suggesting was working for Daniel and we were starting to get snippy. It was on this outing that we decided that any future shopping trips had to be done on the weekends, lest we murder each other. It’s hard to stay polite when you’re tired and nothing is working out. So we left with a single block of styrofoam. For this session’s work, I was busy cutting strips of 2 mm craft foam for the raised trim along Subject Delta’s helmet while Daniel got to carving.  — Sara

Camera - using the sawI love to carve styrofoam!!! I don’t know why, I just do! It’s like destroying and creating and making snow all at the same time. I sat down with our 2″ X 4″ X 12″ styrofoam block and got to crafting. We started by holding the block up to the helmet an tracing the crest of the helmet along one side of the block with a sharpie to get a good idea of how we needed to carve the styrofoam so that it could straddle the helmet just right. I used our trusty X-acto knife to carve out the initial section and sat it on the helmet, carved out a little more, sat it on the helmet again then carved out a little more and sat it on the helmet again. You get the idea; tedious but necessary. It was looking pretty good but needed something else. The hard hat we got has a bit of raised detailing on the top so I carved out a gorge into the curved section so that it would fit more snugly down over the helmet.

Camera - cardboard stencilOnce we got the general curve right I used a little fine-toothed hand saw to lop off the front and back at the desired lengths and then sawed some of the top to get the height. I sawed an angle slopping off the back of the camera to transition into the back of the helmet, but something was still off.  The front of the camera unit did not seem to adhere to the contour of the helmet, so rather that trying to figure out what shape to cut to bridge the gap we lay the styrofoam piece we had on its side and, with some cardboard, we traced the shape including the missing piece. Long story short; we didn’t end up with a usable piece, but we did end up with a great template for our next try. And the moral of the story? Always buy extra pieces. — Daniel

Camera - with lenseThe second time around we just traced the template onto the styrofoam and Daniel got to sawing. When he finished we had a pretty awesome looking camera. And that lens? That’s an empty Ben Nye makeup container. We had an empty red makeup container that Daniel cleaned out. Best of all? It was free! Hooray for college makeup class! But as I looked at the reference pictures, it seemed to me that the edges needed to be rounded.

While we were at Michaels, I picked up a flyer titled, “Tips & Techniques for Crafting with Styrofoam.” On it, I learned that styrofoam works like sandpaper on other pieces of styrofoam. I had no idea! Neither did Daniel. I had to convince him to give it a try. He doubted that we would be able to get a smooth rounded look because the styrofoam was too delicate for sanding but once I read the flyer to him and gave him a demo he got to sanding and will you just look at these results?

camera - post sandingAnd we know how much you all love the Daniel action shot!

Camera - on helmet

We’d like to apologize for the tardiness of this week’s update, but we feel like we have a great excuse. Those supplies that we were waiting on arrived yesterday and we’ve been building after work both yesterday and today. We’re going to have some really really exciting updates to make in the coming weeks, be sure to check it out!

As always, thank you so much for reading! We’ve moved the e-mail subscription button over to the right side of the page in case you’ve been meaning to subscribe and get too busy to scroll past all those past posts. And so, we leave you with an adorable picture of our cat, Electra. Daniel made her a pair of bat wings out of craft foam and she modeled them so nicely! — TCG

Electra Bat Kitty