concrete patch and packing foam

lazyjranch(z6b tx)January 20, 2006

Just wanted to say I find this concrete and hypertufa forum very interesting.Late last year I finished a celtic cross I made from packing foam glued together and wooden dowls and pvs pipe for the armature and carved all into a celtic cross and covered it with concrete patch in the tubs bought at the local hardware and then painted and stained with acrylic and latex paint and it turned out pretty well ...looks like an authentic irish cross thats been out there for ages.Its on the 2nd or 3rd page of my webshots at I hope that works sometimes those webshots are hard to get into.Anyway I wanted everyone to know that you can use old packing foam from like freezer delivery boxes and such with some wire or woodendowls or pvc pipe to beef it up for strength and make some sculptures you just have to experiment.lazyj

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ltd123(6A southern Ind)

Thanks for posting the neat photos. Your cross looks great - very artistic. I keep meaning to experiment with concrete over styrofoam more. I think it has great possibilities. I have a couple of questions for you:
1. how do you cut your foam? I hate the mess when I use a knife or saw. The best suggestion I have heard is a hot knife that sort of melts the foam as you carve or cut it.
2. How thick are you putting the concrete layer?
3. How heavy would you guess your cross is ?


    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 8:17PM
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nmgirl(8 S.NM)

Styrofoam is fantastic to work with! I made my first 'tufa piece on an old styrofoam cooler. It looked like it was stone and would weigh a ton but it was so light and easy to move around the garden.
I like to use styrofoam for "fleshing out" armatures for 'tufa projects. It makes very nice, angular rocks. I use the score and break method for shaping, sort of like cutting glass. Be sure and break it in small bites. Remember that styrofoam is actually little pellets and will not want to break cleanly. I've thought about trying my electric carving knife but haven't got around to it. I usually use the knife to carve foam rubber.
I rescued to wonderful styro coolers from my neighbor's curb side shopping bin. They're from some steak company (the coolers, not my neighbors) and are the neatest shape. I'm going to try Quickwall on them so the shape will come through.
The nice thing about using styro for 'tufa planters is that the plants have some extra insulation around the roots. I've easily overwintered plants in my styro planters and in my area there is the added plus of keeping the soil cooler in summer.
Don't forget to put the drainage holes in before you 'tufa!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2006 at 4:48AM
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ltd123, I do lots of foam carving and if you don like the mess then you can use a hot knife. It will only work on EPS foam not urethane foam.

HereÂs some pics of my foam carving projects:

Cartoon Trees

Theming for Water Parks - 3D Trees

Themed Water Park Attractions - Six Flags 'Ship Wreck Splash'

Water Park Carvings - 'Ship Wreck Splash'

Artist Carving 3D Foam Ship Wreck For a Themepark

Themeing for Water Parks - Six Flags Over Georgia Skull Splash

Water Park Props - 'Skull Island'

Water Park Attractions - Skull Splash Roof

3D Foam Props for Water Parks - 'SKULL ISLAND' Six Flags

Sculptures for Water Parks - Three Dimensional Skull for Six Flags' Themed Waterpark 'SKULL ISLAND'

Water Park Theming - Bell Tower for Six Flags

Water Park Themeing - Bell Tower

Water Park Sculptures - Carving Bell Tower

Three Dimensional Signage - Calloway Park Sign

Three Dimensional Signs - 3D Sun Carving

3D Water Park Attractions  Mermaid

Playground Themeing - Toddler Town Facade

House Facade 2

Giant Clog


Theme Park Attractions

Theme Parks Exhibits - Cartoon Snake Slide Exit

Amusement Park attractions - 3D Pirate

3D Sculpted Pirate Ship

Amusement Park Sculptures - Octopus Sign


IAAPA Themeing - Eel Slide Exit

Theme Park Props - 3D Pirate

Amusement Park Props - Pirate Head Sculpture

Chipmonk Head Sculpture

Softplay Corvette Soft Sculptures

Playground Sculptures - 3d Shark

Faux Marble Sign

Tree Houses

Tree Bases

Robin Cat Relief Carving

Skull Chair Movie Prop

Moon Relief Sculpture

Parrot Window Relief Sculpture

Alien Window Relief Carving

Picnic Basket

Props for Water Parks - Cartoon Birdie

Cartoon Bird Foam Sculpture

Cartoon Butterfly

Professor Window Foam Relief Carving

Treasure Chest Window Relief Sculpture

Snake Window Flat Carving

Alien Robot Flat Sculpture

Clay Dragon Maquette

Lion Window Low Relief

Lion Height Restriction Sign Low Relief Sculpture

Snake Head Slide Exit Sculpture

Pizza Pooch Head

Movie Props - 3D Space Pillars

Space Medallion 1

Space Medallion 2


Softplay Dinosaur


Clubhouses for Kids

Octopus Slide Exit

Dragon Slide Exit

    Bookmark   March 16, 2006 at 8:46PM
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ltd123(6A southern Ind)

Madcat - thank you for the inspirational photos! Your work is amazing.
I would love to know - if it is not a trade secret - if the columns for stage props are just styrofoam or if they have a steel (or otherwise) armature inside. I assume props need to be light enough to move around but secure enough to not fall over.
Does your work involve concrete over the styrofoam? These photos show such magnificient results that I would never have guessed foam was involved but I can see someone (you?) carving what appear to be the final details into the foam.
Again - thanks for this look into what is possible with styrofoam.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2006 at 10:27PM
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billie_ann(6b PA)

Laura, From the FAQ on this person's web site they coat the styrofoam core with fiberglas or urethane. Nothing says concrete but it's possible. Billie

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 1:02AM
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We use urethane coatings on our EPS sculptures. Sometimes we use fiberglass but only on urethane foam otherwise it would melt the foam. The pillars are just painted foam.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 4:03PM
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ltd123(6A southern Ind)

I appreciate the replies to my questions. Thanks! I think I may try making a pillar.... especially if I can find a source for give-away styrofoam rounded shapes. (I do not have any carving talent but I think I could stack things).

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 4:55PM
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Hey, Madcat, is there a tutorial somewhere that teaches how to do the type of sculpture you are doing? I would dearly love to learn how to make such cool stuff.


    Bookmark   October 3, 2007 at 6:37PM
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nmgirl I am wondering how you used the styrafoam boxes. Did you put a layer of hypertuffa on the inside or the outside. or did you cover both. How thick? Please explain if you dont mind. Thanks

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 2:00AM
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