Thursday, February 7, 2013

Thursday Tip - Faux Metal Craft Foam Embellishments

We spent much of January obsessed with making Valentine cards for our Sweetheart Art Card Sale (which was great fun, as always).

Here's a favorite technique for creating a card embellishment. The faux metal heart on the Valentine shown here is actually made made from craft foam!

Yep that's right, humble craft foam, the stuff that comes in thin sheets and is usually found in the kids craft section of stores. Just heat it, impress a texture into it, add some paint and metal effects and you've got a lightweight piece that looks convincingly like metal yet is easy to glue onto a card or an altered book or a mixed media collage.

What you'll need:

  • Black craft foam (available in sheets at most stores that sell kid's craft supplies)
  • Craft heat gun (not a hair dryer, doesn't get hot enough)
  • Rubber stamp that is rather deeply etched, or other textured surface like a grate 
  • Dab of acrylic or craft paint (we used yellow ochre, red oxide and cerulean blue)
  • Small brush
  • Metallic Rub-Ons (available at craft and scrapbooking stores and online)
  • Acrylic varnish

Here's how:

  1. Cut a shape out a piece of black craft foam, no larger than your rubber stamp or textured object.
  2. Place your craft foam shape onto a firm heat resistant surface. Heat the foam with a craft heat gun for about 10-15 seconds using a sweeping motion. If the foam curls you can correct this by turning the piece over and reheating until it flattens out. Then try again...heating for a shorter length of time!
  3. Immediately press your rubber stamp firmly onto the foam. When you take it away, the design will be impressed into the foam and it will stay that way as the foam cools.
  4. To highlight the design, lightly dry brush on some paint. Try to keep the paint on the raised surface and out of the lines. Don't need much, just a light brushing here and there in a couple of colors.
  5. Apply Metallic Rub-On with your finger, again staying on the raised portions and paying especial attention to the edges. Apply just enough until the piece starts to look metallic.
  6. And last, just to seal it and keep the Rub-On from rubbing off (which it likes to do), apply a coat of acrylic varnish. To avoid smearing the Rub-Ons, apply the varnish lightly with a more-or-less dabbing motion.

And Voila! You're done. Once you get into it you may find yourself searching all over the house for textured objects that would make great impressions in craft foam. How about those ornate old doorknobs, or kitchen utensils, or Dominos, or toys, or.....?   

Have fun!

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