Friday, 30 August 2013

Crafting with Foam

Hi Everyone

I hope you have all been enjoying the gorgeous sunshine this summer and topping up your Vitamin D levels. In between family events I've been busy designing felt animals for the upcoming Create and Craft Needle Felting show on 21st September. Having been working on a new twist on an old or traditional craft like felting I thought that maybe it was time I dug out some other craft products or techniques that I haven't used for a few years and see what new ideas I could come up for them. I decided that the first one I would look at was foam sheets. 

Years ago when I first started demonstrating for craft manufacturers I remember using this material in card making, but that was about it. So I set about to see what else I could come up with...

First I wondered whether it would work with my Spellbinders Grand Calibur. Having tested it to find it worked brilliantly I came up with the following mini project ideas:

Using the largest die from the Spellbinders Scalloped Square Small Die Set I punched a square with I then hole punched in each corner. Using 2 pieces of ribbon I tied the opposite holes together forming a tiny parcel, ideal for an after dinner chocolate or a small piece of handmade jewellery. If you hole punch all the way down each side, you can lace the edges together making an even more secure parcel.

Using the same die, if you cut 5 squares you can make a small pot. Hole punch down 3 sides on four of the squares and all the sides on the remaining square to create the base of your pot. Lace each side to the base of the pot first, tying a knot on the inside and trimming the ends. Then, starting at the top of each corner lace down and then up, tying the ends in a bow to secure them. You can decorate the pot as you wish, here a die cut foam butterfly has been stuck on with a hot glue gun. If you want to use the pot to store tiny items eg beads, it's a good idea to cut the bottom of an old juice carton (washed and dried) and insert that.

When I first started using foam for card making I used to ink up a rubber stamp, heat the foam and then stamp into the foam, holding the stamp there whilst the foam cooled. When the stamp was removed it would leave a recessed image. So, knowing that foam has a memory when heated, I decided to see what else I could do with it using a rubber stamping heat tool to heat it...

When heated, foam can be moulded and if held in that position until it cools it will remember and hold that shape. This makes it an ideal material for creating items such as a posy of flowers.
First cut out your flower. If you don't have a Spellbinders Die Cutting machine or dies you can cut your own unique flower shapes with a pair of scissors.
Heat the foam flowers with a rubber stamping heat embossing tool to shape them. You can pop them in a small container such as a ceramic egg cup, blast them with the heat tool for a few seconds and then leave them to cool. Alternatively, blast them for a few seconds with the heat tool and then, whilst still warm, shape them with your fingers, holding them until they have cooled.
If you have cut your own flower shape with scissors punch a small hole in the centre of the flower. With a hot glue gun, place a dab of glue in the centre of the flower and insert a length of 2mm coloured wire. Twist it a couple of times to make sure the glue has adhered to it and all around the edges of the hole. Hold it in position until the glue has cooled.
Add a second dab of hot glue on top of the first and cover it with micro beads, carefully pressing them into the glue. When cool brush off any loose beads.
If you'd prefer you can use fine wire and beads to create your flower centres. Thread on a few beads twisting the wire to lock them in position. Use a dab of hot glue to fix the wire in the centre of the flower.

Of course you can use the flowers as embellishments too. Instead of gluing them to wire stems or adding microbeads you can just swop centres between different coloured flowers and glue them to a card. You can create tiny spirals by cutting narrow strips of foam and wrapping them around cocktail sticks. Hold them in position with a piece of masking tape at either end whilst you heat it. Leave to cool on the cocktail stick and then remove.
...or photo frame! Here a chopping board from a well know Swedish Shop was used to create an altered art photo frame for display on a kitchen wall.

As you can see foam is not just a kid's craft product but can be used for 'big kid's' projects too including creating unique embellishments!

Happy Crafting everyone!

Fee x