Sunday, April 3, 2016

Polystyrene foam: bad for the environment but often used in crafts


There's no getting around it.  I have absolutely NO love for Styrofoam, which, according to Wikipedia is a
closed-cell extruded polystyrene foam currently made for thermal insulation and craft applications. It is owned and manufactured by The Dow Chemical Company.
Styrofoam as used in crafts can be found in the form of balls, cones, floral strips, blocks, and eggs.

However, there is another type of polystyrene foam which is produced by injecting the foam into a mold.  It is foam food containers for take out.  It is often confused with Styrofoam and often, again according to Wikipedia
incorrectly used as a generic term for expanded (not extruded) polystyrene foam, such as disposable coffee cups, coolers, or cushioning material in packaging, which are typically white and are made of expanded polystyrene beads.
It is this take out foam I will be recycling today.

The supplies include various objects that can be used to make indentations in clean foam.  I was actually inspired by my friend Susi who draws in it.  The foam is cut to size.

These are three of the tools I used.  Unlike Susi, I decided to create an abstract.

Three hours later, this is what I had accomplished.  Some of the tools I used made better indentations than others, so I wasn't sure how well this was going to work.

Next, I got out two bottles of craft acrylic paint and a foam paint brush.

I wasn't thinking and started with the purple, but didn't change or even clean my foam brush.  Instead of green and purple, I got purple and puke!

It was obvious that many of the indentations were not deep enough, while a few were so deep the paint puddled.
When I added more paint, I remembered to load the green first, then the purple.

Although not as awesome as I'd hoped, this turned out to be a fun experiment, and will make an excellent background for ATCs, moos, and possibly card mats.

This is Day 3 of 22 and I recycled a piece of polystyrene foam and turned it into an abstract stamp.  As an aside, my city doesn't recycle any plastic, styrofoam, or polystyrene.   Used food containers cannot be recycled, so they must be thrown in the trash.  Packing peanuts can be given to companies that package and ship goods, but everything else ends up at the dump.  So as much as I hate taking those containers home when I can't finish a meal, I always cut the tops, wash them, then wait for inspiration to occur. 

Thanks for your visit today.  I am very grateful that many of you are following me on this 22 day journey.

16 thoughtful remarks:

Valerie-Jael said...

This was a fun experiment. I have problems touching styrofoam, I don't like the feel of it, so never use it, and rarely buy it. Keep on having fun with your Bearthday month. Hugs, Valerie

froebelsternchen Susi said...

This turned out really great - And I so like that it is a handmade unique design stamp what we can get from a simple product that is for free.

Happy Sunday dear Elizabeth!
I was a bit busy lately - have guests here.
Sorry for not visiting ♥♥♥

oxo
Susi

pearshapedcrafting said...

Ooh! I love this one - I don't buy much in foam trays but I know what to do with them now! Great idea! Hugs, Chrisx

Corrine at corrinegilman.com said...

We don't recycle that stuff either here, but at least you made good use of it to creat a stamp. And you can use it over and over. I always marvel at fold who carve into it and make elaborate things. You will make some cool atc's farm the backgrond. Xox

Meggymay said...

A great recycling idea, I try to avoid buying things packaged this way, much easier to do in smaller inderpendant shops than in super markets.
Yvonne xx

My name is Erika. said...

I like the stamp. Sometimes its those subtle textures that really add to a piece. If you had a flat painted page and wanted to add some depth you could do that with this new stamp. Either in the same or different color. And best of all, it is a totally recycled product. Nice experiment. And from your side weather link, you have the same cold temperature as us so stay warm. Hugs-Erika

Nancy said...

Oh my, the subject of styrofoam. Had not thought to repurpose it like this. Like you have, there is a re-cycling store in the next city where you can find all sorts of stuff for crafting. It's fun to poke around in the store, but it's a great reminder of our "throw-it-out" mindset.

Divers and Sundry said...

I think it's quite awesome. I love the way it turned out and am picturing all kinds of colors and cool designs. Fun idea! :)

Pamela Gerard said...

How interesting! Much better to upcycle the stuff than toss it -- and what a good idea. You can rarely even find styrofoam here in SF -- restaurants are banned from using it. Plastic bags too.

Jeanie said...

I make stamps/texture pieces using the take-out food containers all the time. I love it because you can get just what you want.

Rita said...

Great recycling idea! :)

~*~Patty S said...

Even here where we are able to recycle LOTS of plastics and other items styrofoam is not recyclable. I am always so happy when I get something in the mail that has the cornstarch peanuts for packing instead of the clingy styro ones that will never go away but want to fly everywhere.
Sorry I easily go into a rant about that stuff.
Happy you made good use of some E!
Your 'stamp' turned out great and made a very interesting background too.
oxo

Krisha said...

You had me laughing at purple and puke!
You are such a creative thinking person Elizabeth!
This background really turned out GREAT, love that it was created with up-cycled materials.

Carol said...

I like the way the foam actually looks with the paint on it... all textured and cool.. keep playing with it and you'll get the look you were going for :)

Dianne said...

I really love the abstract design of this one E! if you had a brayer to apply the paint it might not puddle as bad in the indentations. Wondering if there's a way for you to press the stamp down a bit harder? I don't want you to hurt your hands! a nice background...

Dianne said...

wonder if you could run a rolling pin over this stamp and get a better impression? (since the stamp is relatively flat)???