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  1. dr_slurpee's Avatar
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    Oct 2003
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    Ontario, Canada
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    Feb 4, 2011, 4:20 PM - Options to Hard Coat Styrofoam. #1

    I am in need of a cheap option to give a thin hard coat to blue/pink styrofoam to protect it from the odd bump or scuff. Something home brew rather than the usually quite expensive commercial products for it.

    I do realize that a thin coat can only provide limited protection, just don't want it to be instantly damaged by every little thing.

    Anyone got any methods or suggestions?
  2. fettster's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
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    Solihull, West Midlands
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    Feb 4, 2011, 5:20 PM - Re: Options to Hard Coat Styrofoam. #2

    Polyester resin mixed with auto body filler to make a paintable plastic works well on the cheap
  3. exoray's Avatar
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    Feb 4, 2011, 7:37 PM - Re: Options to Hard Coat Styrofoam. #3

    fettster said: View Post
    Polyester resin mixed with auto body filler to make a paintable plastic works well on the cheap
    And it will melt the raw foam... You would need to seal the foam first if you use polyester...

    Brushed or rolled on layers of white glue or Mod Podge (it's just white glue) will be the cheap option...

    If you want a more 'rock' like surface, a 50/50 (give or take) blend of a latex primer and plaster joint compound rolled on will get a real hard coating...
  4. Member Since
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    Feb 4, 2011, 10:24 PM - Re: Options to Hard Coat Styrofoam. #4

    elmers glue
  5. azheat01's Avatar
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    Gilbert, Arizona
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    Feb 4, 2011, 11:04 PM - Re: Options to Hard Coat Styrofoam. #5

    dcc_clone said: View Post
    elmers glue
    Second that, I just built my kids a 7.5 foot tall fake tree that holds a 32" flat screen for their playroom, I used styrofoam for the tree and coated it in layers of Elmers glue and brown felt, glue worked like a charm. Easy to use, non-toxic, and easy to clean up!
  6. exoray's Avatar
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    Feb 4, 2011, 11:15 PM - Re: Options to Hard Coat Styrofoam. #6

    azheat01 said: View Post
    coated it in layers of Elmers glue and brown felt
    On that same note you can use white glue and newspaper, basically doing paper mache with a white glue it will even provide more of a shell... Of course only if layering paper mache is applicable to the design...
  7. Fizbin's Avatar
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    The final frontier
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    Feb 4, 2011, 11:39 PM - Re: Options to Hard Coat Styrofoam. #7

    Haven't tried it yet, but the product seems solid (no pun intended) enough: Hotwire*Foam*Factory*::*6....

    And if you need extra hardness, try a pre-coat of: Hotwire*Foam*Factory*::*6....

    For $10 to $20 it's worth exploring.
  8. exoray's Avatar
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    Feb 5, 2011, 12:20 AM - Re: Options to Hard Coat Styrofoam. #8

    alteregos said: View Post
    Haven't tried it yet, but the product seems solid (no pun intended) enough: Hotwire*Foam*Factory*::*6....

    And if you need extra hardness, try a pre-coat of: Hotwire*Foam*Factory*::*6....

    For $10 to $20 it's worth exploring.
    From what I gather, several who have used the above say it's just a repackaged plaster or tile grout so an acrylic binder should be added if you want strength... The 'real' foam coat they are ripping off is calcium carbonate powder and an acrylic binder, nothing fancy either... In short if you do the 50/50 mixture of plaster joint compound and paint as I suggested you are basically getting the same type of coating in poor mans land...
  9. Tommyfilth's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
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    Detroit MI
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    Feb 5, 2011, 1:00 AM - Re: Options to Hard Coat Styrofoam. #9

    I have used the white glue method with good results with paper towel if you need a texture. The felt is a great idea. I wouldn't think a plaster based coating would stick or be very durable.

    Tommy
  10. fettster's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 2005
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    Solihull, West Midlands
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    Feb 5, 2011, 1:59 AM - Re: Options to Hard Coat Styrofoam. #10

    My bad, I read it a urethane foam, not styrofoam. My bad.

    If you have it, urethane resin can be painted on as well
  11. Robot Monster's Avatar
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    Dec 2001
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    Brookline NH
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    Feb 5, 2011, 8:56 AM - Re: Options to Hard Coat Styrofoam. #11

  12. richoli's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
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    Feb 5, 2011, 9:22 AM - Re: Options to Hard Coat Styrofoam. #12

    A few coats of water based varnish worked for me back in my uni days!
  13. EricHart's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 2010
    From
    Burlington, NC
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    Feb 5, 2011, 11:54 AM - Re: Options to Hard Coat Styrofoam. #13

    You can try playing with the variations of what is known as "scenic dope" in the theatre world. exoray already mentioned the foundation of the recipe: an even mix of latex primer and joint compound. You can also mix in additives such as latex (not silicone) caulk or water putty depending on your needs.

    ControlBooth talks about coating foam a lot, and this thread is a good place to start your search: Van's Super Scenic Dope Recipie?
  14. azheat01's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 2009
    From
    Gilbert, Arizona
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    Feb 5, 2011, 1:10 PM - Re: Options to Hard Coat Styrofoam. #14

    exoray said: View Post
    On that same note you can use white glue and newspaper, basically doing paper mache with a white glue it will even provide more of a shell... Of course only if layering paper mache is applicable to the design...
    Yeah, I went with the brown felt because once the glue dries clear it gave it a nice color that I lightly painted over. Also, the felt soaked in glue made it a little more sturdier than the newspaper because it is thicker.

    The felt was harder to work with though, if you have hard angles, or odd shapes, definitely go with newspaper. It all depends on what you are covering.
  15. Fizbin's Avatar
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    Mar 2004
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    The final frontier
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    Feb 5, 2011, 9:19 PM - Re: Options to Hard Coat Styrofoam. #15

    exoray said: View Post
    From what I gather, several who have used the above say it's just a repackaged plaster or tile grout so an acrylic binder should be added if you want strength... The 'real' foam coat they are ripping off is calcium carbonate powder and an acrylic binder, nothing fancy either... In short if you do the 50/50 mixture of plaster joint compound and paint as I suggested you are basically getting the same type of coating in poor mans land...
    Heh, good to know. Guess I won't be wasting my money on stuff I already have laying around my shop... thanks for the heads-up!

    Oh yeah, sorry for suggesting those links. I just saw it one day browsing around for foam coatings and thought it was a new formula... go figure.
  16. Gorgot3000's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 2010
    From
    Quebec,Canada
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    505
    Feb 5, 2011, 10:54 PM - Re: Options to Hard Coat Styrofoam. #16

    i'm always use this

    Rosco US : Scenic : FlexBond

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