Faux Gear Tutorial

faux gear tutorial1 Faux Gear Tutorial

You may remember in Monday’s post, I mention that I had a foam project I was working on. Well, it all started when I was at SNAP Conference in April and I stopped by the Floracraft booth. The reps showed me a couple of their new products and I started getting ideas. A couple months later, the kind people of Floracraft sent me a massive box filled with goodies! 

floracraft kit Faux Gear Tutorial
This is a small sample of the awesomeness I received

For this project, I used a sheet of 1/2″ thick Styrofoam, a Styro Cutter, and a tub of Smooth Finish.

 foam sheet Faux Gear Tutorial


The first step is to find a shape you like. You can easily find gear shapes online. Just enlarge it, print it off, and cut it out (just don’t follow my example and use a watermarked image).

tracing on foam Faux Gear Tutorial


Attach your paper template to the Styrofoam using double-sided tape. You want it stuck well, but able to be removed.

Now comes the fun part. Using the Styro Cutter, cut out your gear shape. A tool like this is called a “hot knife”. If you haven’t used one before, watch some YouTube videos. There are people out there who can create some pretty amazing objects with foam and a hot knife! Just be careful. As the name implies, it gets pretty darn hot.

cut out shape foam Faux Gear Tutorial


Now you have your basic shape. I should have cut the center hole as well at this point, but oh well. You can see how cleanly the Styro Cutter cuts.

cut out foam gear Faux Gear Tutorial


The one downside to working with Styrofoam is the texture. Have you every tried to spray paint it? Not good. This is where the Smooth Coat comes in. This stuff is pretty sweet. I’ll admit, at first I thought it was just wall spackle in different packaging, but once I let a couple coats dry, I realized it has almost a foam-like texture. Soft, not chalky.

Start by spreading one, thin coat all over your gear shape, then let it dry overnight. I used a plastic knife to apply mine, but I would recommend a small spatula if you have one. The next day, you can apply another coat, making sure to fill any left over holes and creating a smoother texture.

applying smooth coat to foam gear Faux Gear Tutorial

Once the second coat is dry, you may be freaking out a little. Don’t worry if the Smooth Coat isn’t perfectly smooth. A little sanding with some 150 grit should help.

sanding foam smooth coat Faux Gear Tutorial





To finish the gears, I played around with lots of different techniques. What I ultimately did was spray some paint, and dust on either cinnamon or cream of tartar while it was still wet. Odd, I know. Black paint and cinnamon worked well to create a rusted iron patina, and warm gray paint with cream of tartar gave me a nice, oxidized look. Play around. Once again, YouTube is a great resource for faux painting tutorials.

Once painted, your gears are basically done. I chose to mount mine, but they look cool by themselves too.

To mount mine, I found a scrap piece of wood, rubbed on some homemade oxidizing solution, and let it dry. Once dry, I simply attached my gears with some good ole’ hot glue.

attaching faux gears Faux Gear Tutorial

Here’s the final look.

2 foam gears Faux Gear Tutorial


DIY gears side Faux Gear Tutorial


I would really love to try some reactive metal paints, on these. I think they would look really authentic.

faux gears Faux Gear Tutorial


As I was playing around, taking photos, I got another idea. Bookends! These would be fabulous.

DIY foam gears Faux Gear Tutorial


DIY gears on shelf Faux Gear Tutorial


 Faux Gear TutorialSo what do you think? Pretty good for Styrofoam huh? If you are looking for a fun way to get artsy, grab some foam, a Styro Cutter, and creative!

faux gear tutorial P Faux Gear Tutorial

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If you dig the Mid-Century/Industrial look, check out my:

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