|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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
I would really love to try some reactive metal paints, on these. I think they would look really authentic.
As I was playing around, taking photos, I got another idea. Bookends! These would be fabulous.
So 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!
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