Sunday, January 30, 2011

Technique book pages - moldable foam

I have joined a Technique Book Swap on AFTCM. I signed up for five techniques and this is my first one - moldable foam backgrounds. I did some research on line to see what others were doing and tried the few I had supplies for. I have some Penscore which I used for some of these backgrounds. There is also a product called Magic Stamp which is very similar and works the same way. This foam can be heated and impressed with any texture so the sky is the limit for what is possible.

This next photo shows all the pages I made for my swap using moldable foam!! Top row - PS, cedar sprig imprint and multicoloured dye ink, moldable foam packaging (packaged with a unmounted stamp to be used as a stamping surface), embossing folder imprint and blue dye ink, PS, heart buttons imprint and red dye ink. Row two - fun foam heart, part of a rubber stamp imprint and blue dye ink*, PS, cedar sprig imprint and brown dye ink, moldable foam packaging, part of a floral rubber stamp and blue dye ink. Row three - PS, lace imprint and pink dye ink, moldable foam packaging,
part of a floral rubber stamp and blue dye ink, PS, pressed leaf imprint and green dye ink.
You can see here the little fun foam heart I used to create the blue background* in the previous picture!! It turned out very cool and made a very interesting background. Who knew that fun foam could be used so creatively!!
To create the stamp, heat moldable foam about 10 seconds with a heat gun until it gets soft and smooth and immediately press it into your texture! Hold for 30 seconds or so and you have a new stamp!! The fun foam works pretty much the same way - the thicker fun foam is better for creating stamps this way. Just use a bit of double sided tape to hold the fun foam to a solid surface - piece of wood or thick plastic works well - which you can use as a handle for impressing it onto your texture. Now just apply your ink and stamp away!! They can be cleaned and reused many times if you choose to keep the design you have created. To impress a new design - simply heat again and apply to new texture!! A new stamp!! I have kept a few of the ones I have created in the past because I really like the look of the stamp and how well it makes backgrounds. You can also use foam trays in the same manner but there are warnings on the internet about health risks to heating the foam. It solidifies much more quickly so you really have to be ready when using this type of foam.
If you don't have a heat gun you can use another source but you will have to experiment to see what works and how long it takes to soften the foam. I do not recommend any sort of open flame!!! Consider using a light bulb or electric stove element.
Be on the look out for moldable foam that is disguised as garden kneelers, visors, etc. Anything that has feels like fun foam (spongy) will probably work. The thicker fun foam works better - 1/8" or more.
There is a lot of die cut fun foam available so buy the shapes you want. Otherwise, buy sheets and cut with a die cut machine, scissors or an exacto knife. You can create your own shadow stamps for any of your regular stamps by just stamping the image on the fun foam and cutting out the shape. If you have a Cricut consider using a deep cutting blade to cut out shapes!!
You can use a wide variety of colour mediums with these stamps - ink pads, acrylic paint, textile paints, etc. You can also stamp on wide variety of substrates - paper, cardstock, fabric, wood, etc.
As for textures - the sky is the limit!! Consider rice, pasta, rubber bands, pressed botanicals, rubber stamps, shells, buttons, lace, fabric, placemats, plastic canvas, beads, combs, texture plates, embossing folders, etc. Consider that the image will be reversed so in some cases writing or numbers is not your best option.
Foam trays and fun foam can not only be impressed with an image but you can also add details by using a pencil or pen and scribing the surface. Consider though that this may damage the surface enough that it cannot be heated and reused but a great way to add details to a basic shape.
Foam stamps need to be neatly stored so their surfaces are protected from contact with hard edges which over time will impress their surface and possibly ruin their impression. Thin fun foam ones can be stored in CD cases.
So buy yourself a few sheets of fun foam (craft foam), start playing and make yourself a few stamps!! Enjoy!!


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