Monday 17 March 2014

Foam Broadway Star Experiment

I have a vision for my hallway that includes big ‘Broadway Lights’ style arrows, stars and words that turn it in to something that rivals the Vegas strip – but the reality of my rental tenancy, access to electricity, loathing of wires and budget means that this is not going to be realised anytime so [or any time ever, if I’m being realistic].  So, I have been looking at the alternatives and have decided to go the whole hog and look at the alternatives that I can make and personalise to my space and budget.

One of the first alterations I’ve had to make is that I won’t really be able to have any lights/fairy lights incorporated in to the design, which leaves a pretty huge design element out, so I’ll have to work on what I can do instead to create more of an illusion.  I also don’t have the skills to create any shapes or words from wood or metal [another fairly key design element].  So, the alternative I have started to look at is my new best friend, foam.  It’s fairly flexible, but strong and rigid enough to hold a shape and the colours available should help me create the illusion of metal/wood.

What I Used:
2 x A4 light brown foam sheets
Cardboard / ruler / pencil / scissors
Glue Gun [but any strong glue will do]

I decided to have a trial using the foam before starting any larger scale project, so settled on a simple(ish) 3D star.  The template was fairly easy to create – on the back of a cardboard box, I sketched the basic shape and size of the star to fit an A4 sheet of foam and then using the more precise lines and measurements of a ruler, began to outline a more defined shape:
It was important to align the middle of each star point to the centre, as these lines will inform the shapes required to create a 3D star shape. 
 Next, I cut out the template and used this to create a base for the star.  As this would be hung or rest against a wall, the base needed to be flat, with the 3D points build around it:
Using the template, I then cut the 10 separate star points from my second sheet of foam:
To form the 3D effect, each of the two pieces that create a point need to be joined in the centre at around 45 degree angles.  Use the template as the base to guide the angle at which the centre meets:
Then, get gluing!  I wanted to use something that would be strong and work quickly, so that the join would instantly be fixed.  This meant only one thing for me, an excuse to get out the glue gun!  It requires you to work quickly, but would mean I wasn’t spending hours holding the foam pieces until the glue dried.  To ensure the glue did not dry before I was able to put the glue gun down and fix the pieces together, I joined the two parts of the point at either end to hold in place and then could run a generous line of the glue down the centre:

Repeat for the 5 points of the star:
You can use the template as a guide for how they will all fit together and check your alignments.  Then you can attach each point together to complete the star [I used the same method, fixing in place at each end and then running a generous line of the glue down the centre]:
Once all fixed together, there were some pretty noticeable gaps between the joins:
…but scissors soon sorted them out and tidied up the shape:
Lastly, the star had to be glued to the base [done in stages again – this is where the flexibility of the foam comes in handy!]....
…and trim away the excess to neaten the glue and any overlap:
As experiments go, I am pretty pleased with the outcome of this one.  
I definitely need to be aware of how quickly I need to work with the glue and fixing the foam together, 
but I think I’m ready to take on the bigger sizes that I have in mind.
see you next time [I promise it's not an experiment!] x

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