Making Wall Art out of Styrofoam

Making Wall Art out of Styrofoam

Recently, I received a promotional package in the mail from Dow Chemical with all the supplies needed to make modular wall decor.


The box included:


four 12" x 12" x 15/16" pieces of Styrofoam,

four 12" x 12" sheets of black and white scrapbook paper,

several yards of 7/8" wide black grosgrain ribbon,

a bottle of Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue,

a bottle of Tombo Mono Aqua Liquid Glue,

and four wall hangers.

The instructions were as such:

‘Cover foam with coordinating sheets of 12" x 12" scrapbook paper; thick white craft glue works great.’ Hmm. This left me scratching my head as I considered the Aqua and the Tacky. Why use the thick craft glue? Won’t that make the paper ripple? It always has in the past when I’ve used it to glue paper. And I’ve used clear liquid glues before when glueing paper with good results, so I decided to use the Aqua (hey, I figured it was included in the box for a reason!) to glue the paper to the Styrofoam.

Next, I used the Tacky Glue to glue on the grosgrain ribbon around the perimeter of the foam squares. I overlapped the ribbon at one corner and pinned it into place just until it dried.

Add glue to the edge of the panel

As the glue dried, it was obvious that the Aqua was going to ripple the paper a bit but not as bad as if I had used the Tacky. The glue also discolored the white areas here and there on the paper. The ribbon, however, glued up great.

I then attached one of the accompanying hangers to the back of the foam.


Summing up:


First the good part: The project was very easy to do and it could be a great way to add color to your walls. Although I didn’t have to buy any of the supplies, its cost shouldn’t be that outrageous. The accompanying brochure suggested that–at most–the supplies should set you back no more than 50 bucks. The squares are very light weight, which means they could be held up on a wall with just a straight pin, which means no big holes in the walls, which is good for renters.

Now the bad part: The rippling of the paper still bugged me. If I did the project again, I’d experiment with different types of adhesives, possibly trying a spray adhesive or even sticky-back tape. Assuming the nails of the picture hanger would actually stay put in the Styrofoam would be naive. I’d put a few drops of the Tacky Glue on the nail heads and hope for the best. Also, the Styrofoam measured 15/16" thick and the ribbon 7/8", which left 1/16" of the Styrofoam showing.

Ultimately, the promotional materials included in the package provide some fabulous pictures that could inspire all of us to give this project a shot–with a little tweaking here and there.

Another option is mounting photos or even fabric on the Styrofoam.

For more information about Styrofoam and other projects using it, visit craft.dow.


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Viv. on Jun 01, 2015:

Last year 2014, I got my breakfast nook wall based on your inspiration. I used inexpensive canvas and fabric. I wish I could post a pic for you to see it. I ? it! Thank you for sharing!

Corinne on Jan 06, 2015:

Very inspiring; it's practical and aesthetic at the same time.

Carolyn on Dec 31, 2014:

I am hoping this is a good way to insulate an outside wall. I plan to use many in different sizes with similar patterns. 

Anonymous on Dec 06, 2014:

I tried this with styrofoam and scrapbook paper, and tried every glue known to man. But they all either rippled the paper or didn't stick. So I bought some decorative tacks, and put them around the edges. It actually made it look nicer, and less crafty.

stefferbug on Sep 28, 2014:

One thing you can use instead of styrofoam is the small cearal boxes or boxes you get things in the mail in. Also at most craft stores you can get squares of balsa wood which is incredibly light weight about the same as a square of styrofoam. If you still want to use styrofoam there is a specific glue that tacky glue puts out just for styrofoam products. Or use double back tape . To hang them an not put any holes in your walls command product puts out a velcro type tape set one sticks to the box one to the wall . You actually stick both to box an the back sticks to wall when you press it on an you can move it as many times as it takes to get it the way you want it.

V on Mar 19, 2014:

Seemed the purpose was to show a upcycle idea to sytrofoam. Nothing states purchasing it new, the mailer received had new styrofoam included for the project. Anyone who would actually go buy styrofoam for this is not very bright. Hating styrofoam does nothing to alleviate the plethora already discarded after it's first use. In leu of filling dumps with it, fill your walls with it as art. 


BeeBop on Nov 27, 2013:

I love this project for using up any styrofoam that would just end up in the trash anyways. I hate styrofoam, but up-cycling it sounds like a great idea!

Cindy on Sep 22, 2013:

These canvasses are pretty light, so I'm going to try hanging them with Contact Strips. I have a bunch of the poster ones (thin) so they may work. You can get the Contact Strips anywhere.

Denise on Aug 10, 2013:

Use Mod Podge! I have used it on wood and canvas.

Anonymous on Jul 28, 2013:

My daughter and I did this project and use cheap 12x12 canvas---worked great and light weight. Used a roll on adhesive which was like a "sticker" adhesive. Very, very simple!!! Used push pins to put on wall.

K on Jul 21, 2013:

Shoe box lids! Thats what I used and am thinking about using a small box for a different effect. Both with a spray adhesive and Done! Simple, repurposed items, light and inexpensive. =)

Anonymous on Jun 28, 2013:

I think i would try this project with fabric. I would pin the fabric..and have many options with different prints .cute cute idea for making a simple wall come to life.

Heather H. on Jun 18, 2013:

I have done this using scrap wood. Just cut into the shape you want and cover with paper. Also you stretch fabric over canvas squares.

Allysha Danielle on Jun 09, 2013:

I've done this but half heartedly after finishing the first, I would like to add to this though. Hopefully someone can get some help from this, the scrapbook paper I used was from walmart. They have 12x12 books for like $5 and they have a lot of choices. Idk if anyone lives near a Dollar Tree but they carry the styrofoam boards for $1 a peice. I've tried to the spray adheisive, DO NOT TRY THE SPRAY. It gets everywhere, if you spray it on the foam at too close of a distance, your foam will disolve, and when you have it at the right distance, your paper ends up peeling within a week. I still have to fine tune mine, but altogether. this is an awesome craft. Thanks for reading :)

Anonymous on Jun 09, 2013:

PLEASE don't use STYROFOAM for *anything*. It is MOST harmful for our delicate environ. Couldn't this be done using upcycling of used items?

Tina on Jun 03, 2013:

I love this I will try the modge podge I used it on 4 by 4 tiles and used my grandbabies pic on it and it looks great. So I will get the canvas and make it with that. Thanks for the idea

Anonymous on Jun 02, 2013:

Where can u get the styrofoam or the 4 pack of canvas. I'm looking to get creative but I'm finding it hard to find stuff to glue the scrapbook paper to!

Constance on May 08, 2013:

Love this!!! FINALLY a way to jazz up my hallway WITHOUT spending an arm and a leg!! Righ now it's just a PLAIN JANE hallway...NO pics, NO NOTHING. Just the paint on the wall....that's all about to change!! Thank you so much of posting!!

Wendy on May 02, 2013:

Tacky glue is very thick so it won't ripple your paper. That's the whole point of making it thick. It also work great on fabric for the same reason. It shouldn't turn yellow either since you can use so little. Put a little on your paper and spread it around a bit so it's just a thin amount. It also dries fast because it's so thick.

Anonymous on Apr 27, 2013:

Where can you buy this scrapbook paper

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