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topic 3295

Sculptor seeks coating for styrofoam


Q. I have been searching for a hard, plastic-like coating for carved expanded foam, something thin, as not to cover the details. I would be grateful for any help.

Biz D [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
Toledo, Ohio

Elmer's School Glue - Gallon



DON G [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- TULSA, Oklahoma


Q. I should be most interested to learn if you have had any other responses to the question of a coating for Styrofoam?

Don M [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Germantown, Maryland


A. I own and operate a Rhino Linings dealership in Japan. I've had a lot of success with applying our coatings to styrofoam to make Japanese rock gardens, chinese dragon heads, shi shi dog heads, styrofoam kanji letters for signs, billboards, etc. Rhino Linings offers two different types of polyurethane coatings. One is the Tuff Stuff coating which is very elastic. The other is called Durabond. I think it is marketed as "Duraspray" in the United States. Duraspray is harder and less elastic than the Tuff Stuff and either one of these won't melt the styrofoam and can be painted over.

Leon Chisler
Leon Chisler
- Ginowan, Okinawa, Japan

ARTnews magazine


A. Looking for same info re. coating styrofoam. In the Nov. edition, 2003, Art News =>
there is a review of art work by Jill Levine who shows at P.P.O.W. gallery in NYC. According to reviewer she coats styrofoam with a "nontoxic molding material called darwi...". I have not been able to find such a material yet. You can contact her through the gallery via the net though. She then paints over the coating.

Richard B [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Wendell, Massachusetts


A. "Vanillacryl" is an answer. I just discovered it yesterday.

Janice Ray
The Dance Factory - Lomita, California


A. Epoxy resin using fabric interfacing material as reinforcement for strength, but will allow you to push it into cracks and other places of detail to your sculpture.
Layering process but light weight and very strong and ready for a primer-then paint. Hope this helps a fellow artist.

Shirley Kelly-artist
Parrothead Island Art - Ganado, Texas

West System Epoxy


A. I just did this with some Mannequin Forms and we used two-part boat epoxy.

It's essentially a thick, clear, finish that does not attack the foam because it hardens using a Catalyst and not because it is offgassing aggressive solvents.

It can be hand colored using pigments designed for the purpose.
It can be made into a putty/spackle using fillers designed for the purpose.
(The Sanding dust is the most toxic part ot the process, wear an approved mask.)

It sets up very glossy and increases the strength of the part 60 percent.
It has astonishing self-leveling properties,the worst brush marks smooth over
if you use the slow hardener.

Call your marine supply house and ask for the West System Epoxy [linked by editor to product info at Nantahala]

Matthew Bilstad-Meyers
- Union City, California.

March 3, 2008

Q. FYI I tried Bondo marine fiberglass epoxy (I use sculpt polystyrene) and it melted the foam. I also tried it overtop water-based latex enamel paint and it melted that as well. if anyone knows of a cheap alternative I would love to hear about it.

Rob Blair
- calgary, alberta, canada

July 19, 2008

Q. I'm trying to make a Ecologic Styrofoam coating...any Ideas?

M Dager
Product Designer - Orlando, Florida USA

July 16, 2009

A. Here you go, this should do it for you: A spray-on clear coat, yet light. I'm using it on Marine styrofoam for an invention.

Cheryl Schumacher
- Port O'Connor, Texas

Smooth-Cast 300

December 31, 2011

What you need is Smooth Cast 300 from Smoothon =>

It is a liquid urethane plastic. You mix parts A and B together and after 10-20 minutes it hardens into a smooth thin plastic coating. Brush it or pour it onto your styrofoam sculpture, let gravity do it's job and the liquid plastic will seal the styrofoam and thin itself as it flows downward, over the sculpture. It will harden in about 10-20 minutes.

Jessie J
- New York City, New York USA

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