Monday, August 10, 2009

Styrofoam Happy-(Warning long post and jumping all over the place)




So last week we were sort of otherwise occupied with the Open Day at work.   Cape Town 083 I work at a rural University in a rural part of South Africa.  Being one of the poorest and underfunded Universities – we often have to make do with very little and often if one has a great idea for something, that great idea is usually funded through one’s own pocket.  I really wanted our teeny stall to be a little more than the regular bare bones appeal as evidenced by the stand next Cape Town 099door to us in the pic above.  So I decided that in order for us to appeal to potential students we needed to introduce a little colour and texture to our stand, but that meant that I would have to take everything home as work supplies are limited to a stapler, a stick of glue and red pens.    I could go on and on about this but to cut a long post down, Open day was a resounding a success. cool,- yeah but for me the best thing about the Open Day was my journey into the world of Styrofoam.  Anyway, I had salvaged these big ol’ boards of Styrofoam from the archival grunge that our University’s Stores Dept has on offer as “teaching aids”(???) for our display.  By fortune’s blessing the big ol’ board wouldn't fit in the boot (trunk), so I kinda had to snap off chunks to get it decently portable.  I saved the chunks.  I

did that because I wanted to try one of my mad pseudo-scientist  experiments [which was that I had  read somewhere that Styrofoam is notoriously unbiodegradeable, but that you could melt it with orange rind oil and I had some neroli oil –  wanted to see if that worked]. 

Anyhow I brought the boards back to the pseudo-scientists lab/studio/saponifactory, home-sweet-home and I got working on the displays for the Open Day.  So I still had a whole rectangle of snapped board and so I decided to paint sort of a tree on it – the concept was a tree of knowledge type of deal.   

And then all the Styrofoam balls
started dropping…. I loved the black and white textured contrast on the tree and was thoroughly impressed by the Mujii/Mr Price Home art deco look of it.  I became even more hyped when I realised that it was light enough to be mounted with a minimal amount of effort – regular mirror tape held it up good and well.  Insert EUREKA moment there.  I have been feeling rather sad for myself at being too stretched to buy canvas to paint and decorate my little townhouse with.  Styrofoam on the other hand presented a cheaper, generally cooler option – especially being  that I get

tired of my art and usually shake it up and throw it out when I get bored with it. I am about to raid all the recycling boxes in the garage for more Styrofoam packaging. 

My head is buzzing with possibilities.  My first project was to create a temporary hot-plate sort of thingie – I needed something to place my piping hot-water glass pot insulator (that is affectionately referred to as my HoWPoGI ) which I use to keep oils and stuff from resolidifying when I make soap. Worked like a charm, and the the piece of styrofoam under the object in the pic above serves the purpose of hot plate/work-surface.  In my quest to find ways

to recycle Styrofoam  I also reckoned that I could “build” a little mini stand for my soap enterprises with all the broken bits of Styrofoam. 

Yep, so the addition of Gypsum and Grout to sort of plaster the “stair ruins” soap stand was the best decision I made all day. 

I am pleased with how it all turned out. 

Of course this has my mind going off in all kinds of directions
on what else to build with Styrofoam and plaster – a nice laptop/writing table so that I can take my work to bed perhaps…..until later!


  1. i like that styrofoam creation, and aside from a few grammatical and spelling mistakes here and there, overall a great post! you've done it again! you're so the way, what does melted styrofoam look like??? and why is your page so over-complicated? how DO you do it?

  2. Hey Candice!

    This looks very cool. I love the tree!

  3. Wesley, I see you have a new post up as well - will check up on it in a bit. I was talking about you to my mom today! Yeah, and I have been told already that my post is riddled with spelling and grammar errors, in fact a kind follower lady took the trouble to correct them - I just havent gotten around to editing the post. Melted sytrofoam.....what a fantastic idea, in a second I will bust out my mini-butane torch, Electric Heat gun and trusty Bic lighter to see what it does - I have a feeling it will stink up the house though. My page is over complicated because I went through a "download-template-and-learn-how-to-copy-n-paste-html-code--to-customise-your-blog-phase". Search 3 column blog layouts online. I made the header in MS POWERPOINT/MS PAINT/PHOTOSHOP/GIMP - but I hate it and the layout now and want to do it over again. So once I get the time I will work up on it again. That might be it for now!

  4. Just want to say if I may....melting styrofoam may not be a safe thing to do given the number of chemicals it has. It can release noxious gases I think.....


It makes me happy when you stop by the Tincan deli - I love interacting with other bloggers, crafters and anyone else who is up for a chat. If you leave a comment I am going to come over to your blog and visit there for a while!!!>