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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am wanting to start building my own props this year. 2021 theme is Beetlejuice and I want to turn out entry way into Dante's. I see Lowe's has sheets of Insulfoam and Home Depot has Foamular. Is one better than the other? I'm more ambitious than skilled at construction, but I want something that's going to last and not fall apart the first time the wind blows. I'm in Texas so you never know if it will be 100' , freezing, or a hurricane could decide to hit. Thanks in advance. 馃懟
 

Typical Ghoul Next Door
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The best foam is the pieces you get for free. :D

I've lucked out in seeing folks in my neighborhood putting out nearly a whole sheet of the stuff with just a tiny foot or so section cut off.


Otherwise the pink or blue really has no big difference. It is basically the same thing but one is made by Dow and one by Owens Corning and they are colored differently due to branding. I've read over the years that some folks can tell one or the other is better for them, but I've not been able to tell any advantages - they're both good.

Depending on where you are in TX, you may not be able to find the 2 inch thick stuff since there's not a call for it in the lower half of the state due to temps never really getting cold cold.

The white extruded bead foam is easier and cheaper and can be carved into anything you can imagine but does take a bit more fussing/work to get it to look good and the beads make fine details (like epitaphs for a tombstone) more difficult.
 

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I was going to add, get a hot knife. It鈥檒l change your world.

Finally broke down a bought one last month, and now, I can do clean cuts through even the junkiest white foam. Just wish I had gotten one earlier; I could鈥檝e reused all the packing foam for remodeling the kitchen instead of figuring out how to recycle it.

The nice thing is, if you can get the shape, you can coat it with monster mud or something else to get the final texture dialed in. Also look at basement waterproofing sealers..


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I was going to add, get a hot knife. It鈥檒l change your world.

Finally broke down a bought one last month, and now, I can do clean cuts through even the junkiest white foam. Just wish I had gotten one earlier; I could鈥檝e reused all the packing foam for remodeling the kitchen instead of figuring out how to recycle it.

The nice thing is, if you can get the shape, you can coat it with monster mud or something else to get the final texture dialed in. Also look at basement waterproofing sealers..


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What brand and size hot knife did you get?
 

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Romech El' Cheapo

It was on sale at the time, looks like countless other knock-off's so I'm sure the durability is mediocre at best. But it is a basic design principal (similar to the old school soldering irons) that should work for at least a season or two..
 

Typing Away
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A jig saw works wonders for cutting foam. Free foam is the best foam as stated above and if you have any building construction going on in your area look in the trash pile for it. I have found lot of free foam that way it may be a little beat up but make it better for that aged look.
 

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I am wanting to start building my own props this year. 2021 theme is Beetlejuice and I want to turn out entry way into Dante's. I see Lowe's has sheets of Insulfoam and Home Depot has Foamular. Is one better than the other? I'm more ambitious than skilled at construction, but I want something that's going to last and not fall apart the first time the wind blows. I'm in Texas so you never know if it will be 100' freezing, or a hurricane could decide to hut. Thanks in advance. 馃懟
Gorilla Glue is the best to use on the blue or pink foam. Then a little squirt of water to kick start the activation. I also use drywall or deck screws to hold things together instead of clamps until the glue sets. Make sure you peel off the plastic film before you do any gluing or painting.
 

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That pink or green construction foam is ideal - strong, light, durable, and it carves easily. I've made many props from this material, and recommend it. It's not wood, so dont' expect it to behave exactly like wood when using screws, but the right construction, glues, screws, and you can make lots of strong, lightweight props.
Heres a couple props I made, using foam that was carved. You can make lots of things, if you're ambitious, and have time on your hands.



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Here's some headstones I made from foam for last halloween. It was very easy to work with the disadvantage is the weight and they kept blowing over
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I also use the pink foam ( white tends to crumble easier.), For straight cuts in the pink foam score it and break it like you would sheetrock. For complicated or curved cuts use a jigsaw or a serrated knife (Even an old electric curving knife, like one you use to cut a turkey).
I found loctite's PL premium works best on foam to foam. Put some toothpicks into the foam at the joint, lay down your bead of adhesive, then lately missed with water and attach the two pieces. Either weight it down with a gallon of something ( like water or paint) if possible or use paper tape to hold the pieces together until it's cured.
I have found loctite's spray foam works best for carving and manipulating. I suggest you watch stiltzbeast studios YouTube video " skeleton in a can". That techic was what I used to create the wings on the sitting skeleton.
I'll attach pictures of hair I have created using spray foam. You can also use spray foam to finish the bottom of your stone's .
Just know that the spray foam does have a window for carving. I'm guessing it depends on temp & humidity in your area.

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We have to agree with Frankie's Girl's post. Free is the best foam to use. We get tons of the white stuff for free from a local furniture store. All our props are made with it. We admit, the folks who spend money on the pink or blue stuff have a better product to work with. But we simply don't have their budget. Our ideas are much more grandiose than our coffers. The white Styrofoam that comes inside shipping crates has served us well, though. We may have to be a bit more careful putting things out, but they're Halloween props. Smash them up a bit, and they just look more aged and decrepit. A bit of paint covers up every ding we put in our props.

If you go the Styrofoam route, be willing to invest in some electric foam cutters. We use one big one from Harbor Freight, a couple of smaller versions found online, and a wood-burning kit for detail work. We may not get the detail that we could get by using the pink or blue stuff, but we're realists. We know what people actually see come Halloween night, and those tiny details fade away in the dark.

Everything below was made with simple Styrofoam. The mausoleums are framed in wood, but all the "stone work" is foam. We don't hard coat it, we simply paint it. All of it has held up for years out in the elements. All our tombstones have 1x2 surrounds of wood that we use to stake them to the ground. We never lost a single one to the winds up here in Oregon. But there are many ways you can keep them grounded. The most we've had to do is repaint some of the props that have faded due to exposure. (By the way, we get all our paint and most of our wood for free as well by watching Craigslist carefully.)

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Discussion Starter #17
The best foam is the pieces you get for free. :D

I've lucked out in seeing folks in my neighborhood putting out nearly a whole sheet of the stuff with just a tiny foot or so section cut off.


Otherwise the pink or blue really has no big difference. It is basically the same thing but one is made by Dow and one by Owens Corning and they are colored differently due to branding. I've read over the years that some folks can tell one or the other is better for them, but I've not been able to tell any advantages - they're both good.

Depending on where you are in TX, you may not be able to find the 2 inch thick stuff since there's not a call for it in the lower half of the state due to temps never really getting cold cold.

The white extruded bead foam is easier and cheaper and can be carved into anything you can imagine but does take a bit more fussing/work to get it to look good and the beads make fine details (like epitaphs for a tombstone) more difficult.
Frankie's Girl... After this last week I'm really wishing we had that 2" foam on our house. Hope you're nice and toasty warm. 馃榿
 
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