A few people have asked me about the techniques I used to create my foam boarded-up windows. First I must thank creeeepycathy for her inspiration and also to Juggernaut for his instructions for creating foam boards detailed on his site.
I’m afraid I didn’t take any progress pics while I was creating the boards so this will be more of a general guide than a step-by-step. Feel free to ask any questions if something isn’t clear.
I used 1” thick extruded polystyrene foam insulation (the pink stuff) cut into boards 4½” wide. Each board has a base coat of flat beige paint that I had mixed in Home Depot’s paint department. Actually, I went to the lumber section and picked up a small cutoff of wood I found on the floor and had them scan it with their paint computer and mix up a pint of paint to match (but beige will do ) While there I picked up some Behr Faux Glaze then went next door to Ben Franklin Crafts to pick up several of those cheap bottles of acrylic paint to use as tints. I bought a bunch of paints with “brown” in their name as well as raw umber. You’ll also need a wide paintbrush—the older the better since the bristles of a beat-up brush will do a better job texturing than a new brush’s. Lastly, you’ll need a piece of thin cardboard with “teeth” cut on one edge. Cut the teeth with varying widths and with varying distance between them.
Once the base coat of beige has dried, mix up a small amount of the glaze with a squirt or two of one of the tint colors (the amounts aren’t critical) and brush the entire board with this mixture. While it’s still wet, rake the toothed side of the piece of cardboard down the length of the board giving it a wiggle every so often to give it a realistic grain. Alternatively you can use the dry, wide brush to create a finer grain, again giving it a wiggle here and there. The pic below shows examples of each technique. The nails are, in fact, real nails that I cut short and stuck in the foam with Gorilla Glue. The rust on the nails is also real and is a product from Sculpt Nouveau (Iron B coating with Tiffany Green patina). I used it because I had it lying around but you can certainly just paint the nails with shades of brown and orange or simply paint faux nails on the boards like Juggernaut.
The boards are cut into various lengths and glued together with Gorilla Glue. I didn’t bother removing the paint at the glued areas and the joints have since proven to stay stuck together even within strong winds. Use a thin layer of glue and weight the joints as the glue tends to foam and wants to push the boards apart. To secure the finished section of boards to my windows I used short lengths of dollar store dog leashes glued at each corner. I first hollowed out the foam so the leash pieces would sit flush to the surface and glued them in place with Gorilla Glue. I then glued a small piece of luan (thin plywood) over the glued section of leash to further secure it. The square piece you see in the close-up pic is a piece of the same 1” thick foam glued at each corner and rests against the windowsill. This will become clearer in a later pic. If I had to do it again I would use a thinner material than dog leashes (such as canvas straps) as the leashes have proven to be a bit hard to close in the window sashes. Also the square piece of foam pictured is painted with the beige paint and gives you a better idea of the base color I used.
The finished sections looked too new so I mixed a very watered-down black acrylic paint and used it as a wash to age the boards.
The boards are installed by closing the upper and lower sashes on the dog leash straps at each corner (you’ll need a helper inside while you hold the boards against the windows from the outside). The square pieces of foam described earlier rest up against the sills and give the corners support so the boards don’t flex when the straps are pulled tight. The horizontal boards rest directly on the window frames.
Here’s another section in place. The arrows show where the straps are held in place by the sashes. I know there are no nails “holding” the boards to the sides of the windows but I decided to wait for them to be in place to serve as a guide for adding the nails and I never got around to it
Here I will leave you with a pic showing how I store the boards to prevent damage in the off-season. I use two storage hangers with cheap paint rollers slipped over them.