Couple of styrene questions


Well-Known Member
Well, looks like I may be attempting to build a prop K-9 (from Dr. Who) with a one month deadline.

I thought I might use styrene. But the blueprints suggest that, unless I want to break his sides into multiple pieces, I need styrene that is at least 30 inches wide.

The styrene I'm finding on Ebay and Amazon (and I'm looking at 3mm sheets) is 24 inches square max.

Anybody know where I might buy, say, a couple of 3 by 3 foot pieces, affordably and quickly?

Also, I've read here about a variety of glues for styrene, but what sort of tools do you use to cut through it...making clean, straight lines? I'm guessing an Xacto knife won't easily cut through it?

Thanks !!

-= Dave =-


Well-Known Member
I used and an xacto knife when I made mine, I Scored along it a couple of times and then snapped it.

If you are in the UK, eagle plastics is where I purchased from.

good luck with your build.


division 6

Master Member
Telling use where you live will help in finding a source.

Yeah, just scribe with a mat knife or exacto then snap.
Mat knife is better for larger and thicker pieces.

Weld-in #3 will fuse the plastic so will Tenax-7R.
If you want something thick then Weld-on #16, which can be thinned out with the #3.


New Member
You might try Modern Alpha Plastics or ePlastics (both in the Independence area). They likely carry styrene stock in the sizes you want.

division 6

Master Member
Well I just checked and Tap is only on the west coast.

Try Googling "hips plastic sheet suppliers Independence, Missouri"
Several places come up.


Look up your local phone book to find plastic suppliers. Ihave used Cadillac Plastics, but they may have changed their name by now.
Styrene comes in 8 foot by 4 foot sheets in assorted thicknesses, and most retailers will cut it down for you.
It also is available in different colors depending onthe job.
To cut it I like to us a linoleum tile cuter, as it cuts a narrow slot with each stroke, which can be handy for adding detail to some projects.
To glue styrene I like to use auto paint thinners as it contains Acetone, this will melt the surface of the plastic and weld the two surfaces together to make an incredibly strong joint. To secure the joint during drying I just use some masking tape to hold it in place for the thinners to evaporate
This joint when dry will never give way, the plastic around it well break first.
You may have some problems doing the curved section of K-9 (the back of his head and the topof his body) as 3mm plastic will not bend simply.
There is three ways to do this
1 cold form some plastic by reshaping it by bending it over a pipe but this may crack or have fractures in the plastic. If you just try to glue an unbent pieces, the locked up tension could rip it open when he has a bump.
2 you can heat the plastic up with a heat gun and let flop over the “Buck” shape to give you the desired curve. Try to not apply too much heat as it will distort the plastic and be warned that the plastic will lose the heat very fast.
3 You can cold form the shape by laminating thin sheets of plastic with the thinners over a “Buck” the curve required Note the “Buck”can be anything that has the required angle of curve.
I also have built a K-9 in the past and know some of the problems involved.
Good luck with this project.
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Well-Known Member
Is styrene the same thing as vinyl? Because I just remembered that I have an 8 foot by two foot piece of vinyl....I think it may have been siding material, because it is textured on one my garage.

I bought it at a Habitat for Humanity Restore store for a whopping $2, intending to use it for another project, which is now cancelled.

I suspect that if I double-layered that stuff, it might be rigid enough. (I have a fair amount of PVC pipe here too. Maybe I could glue that vinyl or screw it onto a PVC support frame.)


No Vinyl is a very different material that is harder to use in prop building compared to styrene.
Styrene is the plastic that is used in the “snap out” model kits like planes, tanks etc, it is the favorite for building model space ships.
All the original models made for Star Wars were made of styrene sheet and styrene kit parts used as surface detail.
The studio model of the original Battle Star Galactica was a steel tube frame with a wooden body and then sheet styrene glued over it. They then used hundreds of assorted model kits to texture the surface.
Rather than going down the road of plastics, had you thought of making your K-9 out of wood (or MDF) as the shape would work in this medium
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Master Member
When you check out websites looking for styrene, keep in mind that some retailers probably won't use "styrene" as the product name. HIPS "High Impact Poly Styrene" may be used.



Well-Known Member
Just wanted to follow-up: I did manage to find a plastics company, Allied Plastic Supply, that has a location within 10 minutes of home and work, who can get me HIPS sheets. The gentleman talked on the phone with was VERY helpful and nice!

He said, while they didn't have a sheet in stock, they get a weekly shipment from Dallas...and Dallas had some. He is arranging to have it included on next week's shipment, with no shipping cost to me! And an 8 foot by 4 foot piece, 3mm thick, is costing me just UNDER $50!

Thanks for the advice, everyone!
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