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How to smoothe edges of craft foam

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How to smoothe edges of craft foam
October 28, 2018 Carefree Crafting No comments

Ok, so I made my first attempt today with cutting some foam peaces. Only problem is that it had a rough edge. So I changed my blade to a new one and tried cutting again. Still a rough edge. Is there some sort of technique to cut foam? Like use a certain amount of pressure or cut at a certain angle or something like that?
Can you post some pictures so we can see exactly just how rough looking your cuts are? What are you using exactly to cut the foam with?
You could always look in to getting yourself a hot knife foam cutting tool, might do the trick!
Ok, so I made my first attempt today with cutting some foam peaces. Only problem is that it had a rough edge. So I changed my blade to a new one and tried cutting again. Still a rough edge. Is there some sort of technique to cut foam? Like use a certain amount of pressure or cut at a certain angle or something like that?
What type of blade are you using? Best blade(in my opinioin) is the #11-z series.

drgon47

Well-Known Member
For me this is what works best, assuming you are using an x-acto knife. Trace out your part. I like to use a non pencil as it effectively scores the foam. Then I do a very slight pass along a long straight section, but not very deep. Only slightly deeper than the pencil mark. The next cut gets about 2/3 of the way through the foam. The last cut pushes through the bottom of the foam and touches my green cutting mat. After 3-4 of these operations I will use a kitchen knife sharpener to get a new edge on the blade. I will repeat like this until I here the slight "tick" of the tip of the x-acto being broken by a particularly sharp turn on a cut when it gets caught in the cutting mat. Hope this helps!
I would suggest using an X-acto Knife and follow what drgon47 suggest

Goodluck
Last edited by a moderator:

drgon47

Well-Known Member
I used a box cutter on my first Halo 4 build. It worked okay, using the same method. The only real time I saw problems was on sharp angles or curves. The blade is simply too long to facilitate that type of cut. You should be able to pick up a x-acto handle, a pack of blades, and a knife sharpener for $15-$20.
I use a wood carving/shaping tool by x-acto. it has a longer and more curved blade than usual along with a fat handle which really helps me to get certain angles into the foam. i also have an x-acto set with different blades but I have found the wood carving tool indispensable for making a whole cut through the foam in one swipe.

I'm still a new comer here and I've seen some problems with my edges coming out a bit frayed looking as well. I usually ignored it on the areas that are going to be glued down anyways but I use my dremel to sand/smooth out the rougher areas on the edges that are going to be seen.
I'm still a new comer here and I've seen some problems with my edges coming out a bit frayed looking as well. I usually ignored it on the areas that are going to be glued down anyways but I use my dremel to sand/smooth out the rougher areas on the edges that are going to be seen.
How well does sanding work? I too was thinking about sanding them down.
I'm just getting started in EVA foam as well and I bought some disposable stanly box cutters, the ones with break off tips, and I must say that they work wonders, I also think they could be sharper than my x-acto knife. My brother also has really expensive carbide and titanium nitrate blades for his box cutter, but still they don't seem to beat these stanley's! I think part of it is do to a rigidly feel on the blades, there not smooth.

From my experience you need to do a saw like motion, or keep your blade at a sharp angle so you are dragging to blade through your cut instead of pushing.

I would also like to know where you can find a razor blade sharpener.

EVAkura

RCO
For all of you that want a bit of info via video tutorial for working with foam (cutting techniques, sanding with a Dremel, cutting for contour, detail lines, etc), I have made several videos that you should check out when you get a chance.

www.youtube.com/EVAkuraArmor

One thing that I found out after I posted the video on smoothing out rough edges with a Dremel is; use the barrel sanding bit to do the first pass, then, remove the sanding bit, and use just the rubber barrel to finish the surface. It will make it almost as good or better than the EVA's stock surface
For all of you that want a bit of info via video tutorial for working with foam (cutting techniques, sanding with a Dremel, cutting for contour, detail lines, etc), I have made several videos that you should check out when you get a chance.

www.youtube.com/EVAkuraArmor

One thing that I found out after I posted the video on smoothing out rough edges with a Dremel is; use the barrel sanding bit to do the first pass, then, remove the sanding bit, and use just the rubber barrel to finish the surface. It will make it almost as good or better than the EVA's stock surface


Awesome tutorials I gotta say
Buy a set of 100 individually packed, disposable scalpel blades. They are cheaper than exactos and sharper. Also there are tonnes of different shapes and sizes of them to fit your need/liking. Here is a sample of some of the kinds that you can find.
For all of you that want a bit of info via video tutorial for working with foam (cutting techniques, sanding with a Dremel, cutting for contour, detail lines, etc), I have made several videos that you should check out when you get a chance.

www.youtube.com/EVAkuraArmor

One thing that I found out after I posted the video on smoothing out rough edges with a Dremel is; use the barrel sanding bit to do the first pass, then, remove the sanding bit, and use just the rubber barrel to finish the surface. It will make it almost as good or better than the EVA's stock surface
Thanks for the videos!

Finding stage props that are affordable with the right design can be a challenge so often it’s easier to make your own. Craftfoam can be used to create spectacular props, from castles to pirate ships and medieval columns to huge brick walls, the possibilities are endless. It is a popular choice for creating stage props for theatres and school shows, thanks to its lightweight and versatile nature. Here are five tips to help get your Craftfoam project started.

Design and plan your props
It’s important to plan your design before you start to work out how much Craftfoam you’ll need. Pinterest is great for inspiration and there are lots of ideas, from huge life size models to smaller, more detailed designs.

Mark out the area that you’re cutting beforehand to avoid making mistakes. You can do this using a ruler or drawing freehand – to make things easier print out or create a template. If your design uses repeated shapes, a template is essential to achieve consistency and ensure that it fits together neatly. As you’ll most likely be painting the Craftfoam too, any guidelines you draw can be covered over later, so don’t worry if it looks messy!

Cut the Craftfoam into shape
Craftfoam is available to buy online in handy sheet sizes in a range of thicknesses and it is easy to cut without the need for any specialist equipment. It is also available as letters and numbers in various sizes, making it perfect for creating large signs or words that are clearly visible to the audience, without having to cut them yourself.

A craft knife is suitable for cutting the full range of thicknesses and it can also be sanded and planed to create the shape required. Make sure that the tool you are using is sharp, as this will help to create clean edges that are much more precise. The rigidity of Craftfoam means that it can easily be cut, shaped and modelled using a variety of tools including hand or powered knives, and saws, drills and routers. Hot knives and wires are also a popular tool to use but these can create fumes and aren’t always easy to buy.

After cutting your props into shape, you might want curved or smoother edges. Craftfoam is made up of layers, so sandpaper is ideal for achieving smooth edges by gently sanding the edges until the Craftfoam falls away. This can also be useful for making a suitable surface for painting or gluing the props by removing any rough edges when it was cut.

Glue it together
Using the correct type of glue is important when you’re creating stage props as they need to be strong enough to withstand transportation. Craftfoam can be glued using Spray Mount, which is a strong and easy to use adhesive that is much more durable than traditional craft glue.

Another option for sticking pieces of Craftfoam together is double sided tape. This works best on two smooth flat surfaces and means that you don’t need to wait for it to dry. It is worth investing in a good quality thick tape to make sure that it holds and you could also use it together with other adhesives for extra support too.

Add the decoration
Special effects can be added to your props using plaster, gesso, modelling paste or other coating materials to create interesting textures. Craftfoam is often used in Cosplay to create affordable lightweight leather effect costumes too.

Craftfoam has a smooth surface which is ideal for painting and is also suitable for use with some pastes and resins. It comes in a choice of either blue or green colours which are both great as a base colour for props. You can glue decorations to this, or alternatively, paint the whole model to achieve your desired colour. Most types of paint including acrylic and spray paints are suitable and there are lots of great tutorials for this on YouTube if you need some inspiration.

Brick walls and textured effects are surprisingly easy to create too. They are usually made by carving out the effect that you want and then painting over a few layers of paint to make the design more detailed and life-like. The trick to building large scale props with Craftfoam is to create them in layers. Planning out your model beforehand is useful as you can work out how much you’ll need and in what thickness so that you can start to build up each layer effectively.

Store and transport it
Craftfoam’s lightweight material makes it easy to move around, but strong and durable enough to withstand transportation to different locations. This means that your props can be easily transferred off the stage during shows without special equipment, and by designing them yourself, you can make sure that they fit to your requirements. Craftfoam is also a much stronger material than cardboard, so you can store other props on top of one another without worrying about them getting damaged.

Craftfoam can be conveniently delivered anywhere in the UK or you can collect your order from our dedicated warehouse in Sheffield, just off the M1 motorway.

Working With Foam: Tips and Tricks - Smoothing Seams: As we catch up with the weekly posts, this instructable looks at the techniques used to smooth those inevitable seams and gaps in our foam props and Keep running your finger lightly over the joint to feel for any imperfections or raised edges. by Nodel in Craft.

By: Kendra K.

Hello everyone, I am here to talk about a now-common material that many cosplayers use: EVA Foam!

EVA foam is a light-weight, durable, and cheap foam material, which can serve as a great alternative to other materials, such as Worbla (a thermoplastic used often for props and armor). Foam can be used for armor pieces, props, and more: the possibilities are as endless as your creativity! If you make sure to work carefully during the building process and cast a careful eye to painting, you can achieve really clean finishes, mimicking the look of metal or other interesting textures. EVA foam comes in a variety of sizes and styles, so make sure you do a bit of research before you dive in!

There are three main different types of EVA Foam:

  • High Density
  • Floor Mats (diamond or cross pattern)
  • Craft foam

For the following build, I am using a high-density foam which comes in a variety of thicknesses. Floor mat style foam and craft foam, generally are available in limited sizes, but can serve their own purposes. Just keep in mind that floor mat foam is thicker and sturdy, while craft foam is thin and great for detailing.

I find the best way to tackle a new project is by drafting up patterns. Paper patterns can help you come up with a shape, and when you cut it and lay it flat, you will find that foam is flexible to creative a huge variety of different shapes to suit your needs.

I just mocked up two patterns where you can see the use of darts and odd shapes. Another advantage of  using patterns is that it allows you to map out where you want to cut in order to save material for future use.

The easiest way to go about cutting the foam is using a sharp X-Acto blade. The foam is relatively easy to cut through by hand, but the blade can dull quickly. Regularly switching to a new blade may be needed to make your life easily and ensure your foam has a clean cut.

Alternatively, if you have access to power tools,  you will find foam is very quick and easy to slice through. I personally use a band-saw when I need multiple pieces to be identical, as I pin several layers together. Just remember to get supervision if you are new to power tools!

See below for the different results of different tools and blades:

For further shaping, you can cut the edges on an angle in order for pieces to lay fatter against each surface. This can also help you achieve a desired shape and appearance.

For the next step: glue. While many cosplayers would consider the hot-glue gun to be the best friend of the craft (and it is), you’ll get the best results with EVA foam by using contact cement. Contact cement helps create a permanent bond that is still flexible and is relatively fast drying. You can pick this glue up at most hardware stores.

When working with contact cement, you will need to make sure you are protecting yourself properly. Make sure you are using a quality respirator and working in a space with good air flow, as the fumes from contact cement are toxic.

To apply the glue, you will want to brush on a thin & even layer that covers the surfaces you wish to attach and wait 5-10 minutes for it to dry (read the instructions on your bottle of contact cement!). When the surface is no longer tacky, that is the ideal time to press the glued edges together. If you don’t wait long enough, the glue will still tacky and that can prevent the edges from sticking.

Keep in mind that contact cement is not forgiving, so there is little room for error once both surfaces have dried sufficiently and are touching. You will need to be extra careful at this step.

To finish off, the last important tip I can give, is to remind you to carve the foam to smooth out your desired shape. This can take some practice to get the hang of it, so feel free to practice on scrap pieces. The simplest way to carve your piece is going back to your trusty X-Acto blade and cut the foam in small pieces, building towards the end result.

The foam can be sanded as well, which will reduce any bumps or rough areas that need to be fixed. You can sand by hand or by using a dremel (I highly recommend a dremel, as it saves a lot of time, protects you from pesky hand cramps and gives a great result).

Once you have your desired look, you will finish off this part of the project by heat sealing the foam. To do so, you will need a heat gun or another high temperature source. This closes the cells in the foam that you may have created through the cutting and sanding process. Heat-sealing foam is important as it adds the final step of smoothing the surface, which is key if you continue to seal and paint the foam.

Many cosplayers prefer this material over other types, as it is lightweight and relatively inexpensive, but each technique has their own advantages. I hope you feel you better understand EVA foam and feel equip with a few techniques to help you get started, armed with this bit of insight on EVA foam.

Good Luck and Happy Cosplaying!

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Tag: eva foam tutorial

how to smoothe edges of craft foam

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My husband has a pretty awesome fan club that includes two kiddos who think he’s amazing! And they’re right; he is our Mr. Incredible! Inspired by the iconic foam fingers, this DIY project is a fun way to express our team spirit on Father’s Day! Follow along the tutorial below to create your own #1 Dad felt finger.

Supplies Needed:

Step One: Create the Felt Finger Design (Base Piece + Contrasting Outline Pieces)

1. After opening Design ID #217896 in Silhouette Studio®, delete the “#” and “1” objects. Then, select the remaining two objects and center them together using the Center icon from the Align Window.

2. With both objects selected, right-click and group. Enlarge the grouped objects to create the base piece. TIP: For my project, I made it about 12 inches tall, which fit nicely on my 12-inch-by-12-inch cutting mat.

3. Next, insert text using the Coach font (Design ID #274417). Resize the text as you see fit.

4. Once you have created the design you like, ungroup all objects and move outline and text objects off to the side. The only object you should see on the virtual cutting mat is the finger shape.

Step Two: Prepare the Base Piece

1. Insert 12-inch-by-12-inch cardstock on your Silhouette cutting mat and send to your Silhouette. This is our tracing stencil.

2. Remove the cardstock from the cutting mat, place the stencil over craft felt, and trace the outline with a pen.

3. Flip over the tracing template onto a blank area of the premium craft felt and trace again with a pen.

4. Cut out both traced outlines with scissors.

Step Two: Prepare the Contrasting Outline Pieces

1. In Silhouette Studio®, move the base piece off to the side and put the other pieces back on the virtual cutting mat.

2. Now we will prep the hard craft felt sheet so that it an be easily cut by your Silhouette machine. Follow instructions per Fusible Fabric Stabilizer.

3. Send to Silhouette with proper cut settings. TIP: I highly recommend using Silhouette’s Fabric Blade or a separate blade for fabric projects. I also suggest doing a test cut prior to cutting the entire design.

4. Once cut, carefully peel off from cutting mat. TIP: I found that Tweezers were helpful in lifting the letters and the removal of any tiny pieces.

Step Three: Assemble the Design

1. Place both base pieces on top of each other and sew together with embroidery floss. TIP: Sew about 0.375 inches from the edge so that it will be concealed by the outline felt finger design

2. Once sewn together, you may need to trim the overlapped edges of the base pieces with scissors for a smooth edge.

3. Lightly dab felt craft glue on the backside of the hard felt cutouts and adhere to the front of the felt finger base piece. They should cover up the stitching. Let dry until hard felt pieces are secured to base piece.

Since I have two kiddos who are still working on the concept of sharing, this mama was smart and made another felt finger that says “My Dad Rocks” because I have a thing for puns. Now, each child can proudly hold their felt finger to cheer on their daddy!

If you’re wondering how I made the other felt finger design, I modified Design ID #217896 by creating offset ovals, welding, and then manually editing points. That’s the beauty of the Silhouette Studio® software; once you become proficient with it, you can create anything from scratch or modify existing files to meet your project needs.

Using Silhouette’s Fusible Fabric Stabilizer helps expand the possibilities of what this machine can cut. It would be nearly impossible to get a clean cut by hand and surely would have been very time consuming. This mama ain’t got time for that!

I am now thinking I need to make some team shirts to go along with these fun felt fingers. Who’s going to make these felt fingers for that special dad in their lives? What would yours say?

You might also like:

Ok, so I made my first attempt today with cutting some foam peaces. to sand/ smooth out the rougher areas on the edges that are going to be.

Five tips for using Craftfoam to make your own stage props

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How to Use an Electric Knife to Cut Foam

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Commercial foam shops rely on cutting tools called foam saws. Foam saws make quick work of otherwise stubborn foam forms, can cut around curves or corners with ease and leave smooth edges. Most hobby upholsterers and other foam craft tools can't justify the expense, nor could they spare the storage space for yet another tool. Instead of raiding your rainy day fund for a tool that costs a few hundred dollars, use an electric carving knife. This foam saw alternative's long, serrated blade makes clean, professional grade cuts at a fraction of the expense.

Steps

  1. 1

    Draw your pattern onto the foam using a permanent marker. If you plan to wrap the foam with batting for a pillow or other upholstery project, subtract an inch from all sides for each layer of batting you'll use.
    • Draw the pattern again on the underside of the foam section you'll cut.
  2. 2

    Place your marked foam block along the edge of a table, with the first marked line you want to cut overlapping the table's edge by about an inch.
    • Lay a 1-inch (2.54-centimeters) thick plywood strip, which is as long as your tabletop and about 2-feet (.6096-meters) wide, over the foam block. Line it up the plywood's long section with the table's edge that's beneath the foam.
    • Attach C-clamps to the plywood and the underside of the table on either side of the foam block.
    • Tighten the clamps to hold the foam in place while you cut it.
  3. 3

    Lubricate both sides of your electric carving knife's blade with a non-stick cooking spray. A lubricated blade cuts more easily and overheats less often than a dry blade, which helps you avoid injuries or cutting mistakes from forcing the knife.
    • Turn on the knife and insert the tip of its blade into one of your pattern lines at a perpendicular angle until the knife has reached the underside of the foam block; do not cut further yet. Switch off the knife.
    • Check beneath the knife to make sure it emerged on the underside pattern lines you marked.
    • Turn the knife back on and start cutting; continue to hold your electric knife at a perpendicular angle for the duration of the cut to keep your cuts' edges straight. Allow the knife to glide gently along the foam's insides instead of applying too much pressure. Apply a gentle up-and-down sawing motion when necessary.
  4. 4

    Continue cutting without pause, for the remainder of the line's length. Stopping mid-cut usually creates a jagged or rippled cut in the area where you ended and re-started the cut. Approach square corners slowly, and place a framing square against the corner to help guide your cuts.

Tips

  • Instead of cooking spray, you can use a silicone spray lubricant, which is what a professional foam shop uses on their foam saws. After spraying your knife with this lubricant, however, it's no longer fit to use on food and should become a permanent tool in your foam hobby kit.

Warnings

  • When used as a foam saw alternative, electric knives can give you clean results inexpensively, but, like foam saws and other power cutting tools, the electric knife's blade can cause serious injuries if used carelessly. Never cut towards your hand, and don't struggle with or force the knife if you hit a tough spot.
  • Stand in front of the overlapped edge instead of to its side so you can cut in front of yourself, from side to side, instead of towards yourself.
  • Avoid using dull bladed electric knives, which you are more likely to need to more force.

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how to smoothe edges of craft foam

Foam board is one of my favorite art supplies. I craft large 'reverse' sculptures with foam board. The edges are all different angles, the gray foam is showing a .

how to smoothe edges of craft foam
Written by Zululmaran
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