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  • Writer's pictureSteve Baker

The Art and Science of Crafting Styrofoam Sculptures: 8 Things You Should Know

When you think of sculptures, you likely think of marble, bronze, and other materials used throughout the ages. However, the modern world has produced some amazing new materials that provide benefits far beyond what those traditional materials can offer.

One of those is styrofoam. Styrofoam doesn’t sound like a proper sculpting material at first, but here are 8 things you should know about crafting styrofoam sculptures and how this versatile medium can be transformed into stunning, intricate artworks suitable for both indoor and outdoor displays, and it’s a major part of the themed environment industry.


1: Less-Expensive Production


One of the most noticeable differences between styrofoam sculptures and sculptures made of traditional materials is that styrofoam is a lot cheaper.

Obviously, the cost of something isn’t always the primary concern. In many cases, lower costs are seen as "cutting corners”. That’s not the case with styrofoam in the vast majority of applications, though.

You can get a beautiful sculpture that truly enhances a project without spending as much, and in most cases, there are no downsides.


2: Lighter Material


Styrofoam is a lot lighter than marble or various metals. This lightweight trait makes it desirable for two different reasons.

First, it’s a lot easier for you to place the sculpture initially, and if you do need to move it due to redecorating, renovations, or simply to remove the statue, it doesn’t take special equipment, safety measures, and other things that are required when moving sculptures made of far heavier materials.

Then, it’s also easier for the artist to work with the material. Since it’s lighter, they can manipulate it easily, get into angles that they couldn’t with heavier materials, and generally have a more pleasant time crafting the sculpture. This translates to lower costs, and in some instances, higher quality due to the easier work environment.

 

3: No Degradation


In many situations, such as highly disposable items, foam not degrading is a major issue environmentally. However, when crafting styrofoam sculptures that you want to last for lifetimes, that’s a desirable trait with minimal impact.

Styrofoam doesn’t degrade over time. With metal materials, even if they don’t rust, they do oxidize, and the color of the sculpture will change. With stone sculptures, water, and wind can slowly degrade the material until it eventually doesn’t resemble its original look.

Styrofoam sculptures, assuming you take care of them, will look the same in 50 years with no problems.


One area this tends to be extremely useful in is the themed environment industry. Many themed environments are seasonal, and sculptures are only used for a short time before going into storage until next year. With Styrofoam sculptures, you don’t have to worry about the sculptures degrading in storage before the next season. 


4: Easier Manufacturing


Because styrofoam is easy to cut through, the manufacturing process is easier whether all the work is being done by hand or the sculpture is part of a manufacturing run with automated equipment.

Styrofoam can be cut through with a variety of hand tools from saws to blades and even heated wires.

This ease of manufacturing makes it a lot easier to achieve higher levels of detail, and of course, this is another way that styrofoam sculpting reduces overall costs. The easier manufacturing is for any item, the less expensive it tends to be.


A Man Carving a Foam Sculpture

5: No Breaks


One of the biggest issues you face with traditional sculpture materials is that any bump or fall can permanently damage them beyond repair. That’s a major risk depending on where you have and who will be viewing it, and also, it’s a concern every time you go to clean or move the sculpture.

Styrofoam isn’t going to break if you have to knock it off its mount or drop it during transport, and that means that, even in the worst-case scenario, you still have a beautiful sculpture that can go right back on display.


6: Weather Resistance

 

If you’re going to display the sculpture outside, styrofoam is a great option. It does need to be mounted properly to prevent the wind from carrying it off due to its weight, but styrofoam is basically impervious to the elements. This makes it one of the best choices for outdoor sculptures.


7: Perfect for Temporary Displays


Sometimes, you want a sculpture that will last for generations and stand proudly long after you’re gone, but far more often, sculptures are meant to highlight temporary displays and add visual flair to events, and similar occasions.

Styrofoam excels in all those situations.

It’s inexpensive, highly detailed, capable of being painted to look like just about anything, and easy to move and dispose of when you’re done with it. In a temporary setting, styrofoam can’t be beat for your sculpture needs.


This is particularly useful in the themed environment industry where sculptures might only be on display for a couple days before it’s time to move the themed environment display to another location.


8: Easier to Change Mid-Project

 

If you think of the projects that you’re likely to need sculptures for, you’ll find that they’re all subject to changes at any time. Whether you’re putting together an exhibit for the holiday season in your church or building a new amusement park, sculptures are useful, but there’s so much going on that you can easily change your mind.

Styrofoam makes it possible for you to make those last-minute changes without regrets. It’s inexpensive, easy to move, and fast to produce.

 

Is Styrofoam Better for Sculptures than Traditional Materials?


Styrofoam is the perfect solution for most of your sculpture needs. It’s an evolution in art. However, it’s not always appropriate. If you want the sense of quality and textile feeling that comes from stone or metal, then styrofoam isn’t a material for you. However, it is the better option for most users.

So, styrofoam isn’t necessarily better. It simply offers many benefits that you can’t get otherwise, and when you choose it for the right projects, you won’t be disappointed.

It all comes down to your specific situation and what you’re looking for.


Can Styrofoam Mimic Other Materials?


This is one of the strongest benefits of crafting sculptures using styrofoam. Yes, it’s cheaper and easier to work with, but it can perfectly mimic other materials. Stone, wood, a variety of colors, and anything else you can think of can all be mimicked with styrofoam. The quality of the mimic job depends on the artist or manufacturer, but anything is possible with a bit of styrofoam.


Where to Get Styrofoam Sculptures?


If you’re looking for a high-quality styrofoam sculpture, the company you have crafting it is important, as their expertise, experience, and attention to detail determine the sculpture's aesthetic appeal, durability, and overall quality. 

It's essential to choose a creator who not only understands the art and science of crafting styrofoam sculptures but also shares your vision and commitment to excellence, ensuring that the final product not only meets but exceeds your expectations.

This is where Baker Studios comes in. For all your styrofoam sculpting and exterior foam molding needs, contact Baker Studios today.

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