Sep 28, 2014

Using your scraps and crafting cheaply: Foamboard

Good afternoon folks,

Now to start this off, if you are a dollhouse purist your not going to like this post. Some of us insist on using wood when wood is required, tile for tile etc ..this might be more for the model builder in you might want to have gander anyways!

Some of you may be new to miniatures or building your scenes, roomboxes or vingettes and some of us just want to make scenes without spending alot of money on our hobby

That is where Jane likes to the bottom of her messy craft bin..looking through scraps and seeing what can be crafted from junk!

Any way... lets talk about foamboard, polystyrene sheets, foam core.. paper covered foam sheets..yada yada..

Now you know you can create simple roomboxes from it and its pretty sturdy when you shore it up, Great tutorial by One inch minis by Kris .  You have seen my foam board structure which I covered in toilet paper clay ;)

I thought I would show you a few other uses for the scraps or if you simply want to try using it to replicate other materials.

Primary step would be to remove the paper from the surface the best you can, I simply pull it in strips and sand the top with a large fine sand pad.


Foam board is really simple to create older brickpatterns, stones, paths steppingstones..etc
You can simply line in your patterns with a sharp pencil slowly lining first, then going over those lines again to recreate patterns

I did a simple flagstone type pattern here in pencil then dotted it a bit with the tip and eraser to create dents and holes. You can make your lines relly deep also..

You can straight paint the foamboard with acrylics or do a mix of sand, glue and paint to get the effect I did here, it adds a little more texture. Start with a dark color.

You then would add more white to a bit of your color in this case grey to add lighter or worn this along the raised areas and edges of the stones Darker spots can also be layered about in dabs to really layer the effect. 

As you can see the process is really quick, I put mine infront of a fan and added this scrap of grass and bits of foam that may or may not have been stuck to my desk ;P
Pretty effective for landscape and really cheap.. 

Wood can be recreated in the same way, I would think it better for worn wood/sheds, boxes crates bins..I am sure you can create a cleaner look..but I think in fantasy *chases butterflies*

Start by lining the foambord with long lines accross your surface, then deepen those lines to create the board pattern.

You can then go about laying separate boards and maybe nail holes to recreate wooden planks. 

This scrap of balsa wood is called a rough line scraper < no not really but it will assit in creating gouges in the boards if you want to make a more worn surface with texture

You can go about scraping in lines with a wire brush, firm bristle brush or homade scrap tool!
Do a better job than this..this is just for quick example..

Then once you have the details you like in the foamboard you can go abouts painting it with dark, then light then striped etc to replicate grain.

Here is a better version from my theme house...

Here are some more things you can play with, again these are works in progress but it shows you some of the things you might want to try..thinking out of the "money box"

Painted wood roof, foamboard

Old desk base pattern, carves pretty nice  

Mid century modern couch for my Theme House. Balsa wood, coffe stirrers and balsa wood.. This is just the foam board carved to create lines for the fabric, see you can create pillowed cusions pretty easy without having to sew...cause I can' all..  

Well I hope this gets some ideas sirring for you, I simply wanted to show you by using cheap materials and not alot of time you can create some base objects for your builds. 

Just get in there are create!! glued up fingers, painted pants and a dab of foam in your hair!! *heheheharhar* * crazy stare*



  1. Thank you so much for sharing all these tips!

  2. D'oh! I should use my leftover foam core for the structure of the 1:18 bed I don't have and don't want to buy. THANK YOU.

    When I decided I mostly wanted to display my 1:18 furniture rather than rehab a house around it, I organized it into "condos" in bookcases, with foam core walls between the rooms. Just cut 'em to size, Modge-Podged scrapbook paper or fabric to the surfaces, and glued stained strip wood to the visible end. My version is frankly quick-and-dirty, but it is wall-like and removable.

    1. Oh for sure it would work for the bed!. I agree some things can be created cheaply and eaisily and turn out pretty nice for display. I did a bunch of 1:6th furniture and a whole house and it still stands and is used by my daughter..its pretty sturdy stuff!

  3. Hi Jane, your flagstones are gorgeous and so are all your other idea´s :)
    I also build a entire house out off styrofoam ( it came with the new dishwascher :):))
    It was so much fun working with it........and very cheap :)
    Have a great week !

    Hugs Mieke xxx

    1. Its a fantastic house! Love the stones you did! Some may call it hoarding.. but if you eventualy use the stuff its not :p

  4. I am all about scraps- whatever is free, let's find a way to repurpose it! Never used the foam sheets before but I have a ton at school from printmaking. Perfect use for those scraps! (Not to mention all the school lunch trays which are tossed after lunch!) Love how it looks as stone flooring.

  5. Thank you for the great tips! I love the wood flooring (and the *ahem* professional line scraper). Seriously though, one of my favorite tips from you is to make your own tools from scraps. I think it was in your pumpkin tutorial. The balsa wood tool is a great example. Thanks again and have a great week sweetie!

  6. This is fabulous! Thanks for all the tips and ideas. I cannot believe that is the end result for the wood planks...just with paint and foam board?? No way! And the cushions? Yup a lot of oh-my-gosh-I-need-to-try-that-now going on over here ;) It also validates all my hoarding of scraps... xo

  7. Everything looks great! I'm with you on using whatever you have. It often ends up looking way better because it has more character. I love your stone and moss. And the wood is incredible.

  8. Stone, wood flooring and a couch! Jane I knew your magical with clay but damn pretty soon you will rule the mini world. Please keep a slot open for me when you start offering classes cause I am so there sitting in the front row like a good little mini student! Thank you for showing/reminding us there are other ways!

  9. This is fabulous Jane! Thanks for all ideas.Kiss!

  10. Dagnabbit, this is the third time I've tried to comment >-<

    I'm all about recycling and playing around with new materials. This post is proof that you don't need to spend a huge amount to get fantastic results. Especially if you're starting out and have just a few tools to hand. =0)

  11. Фантастический результат. Вы большой художник! У вас все отлично получается. Спасибо, что поделились идеей. Замечательный урок!
    Очень симпатичная леди показана на последней фотографии! :) :) :)

  12. Dear Jane
    In the words of Mr. Darth Vador: "IMPRESSIVE;... most Impressive! "

    elizabeth :D

  13. Wow I never knew you could do all this fantastic stuff with foam board. Thanks Jane for all the fantastic tips you are one in a million :)
    Hugs Maria

  14. Thank you so much for this fantastic tutorial, it was so well explained and so well shown. And your "professional line scraper" is VERY clever!


  15. Muchas gracias por tus sencillas y claras explicaciones.
    La verdad es que todo lo que sea economizar es bienvenido sobre todo si el resultado es tan bueno.
    Un abrazo

  16. Great ideas and examples, Jane! Very motivating, to say the least! I'd like to try making furniture, as another person mentioned. Most of my furniture has come from estate dollhouse purchases. I hate to buy furniture at retail, so using foam board really sounds appealing. xo Jennifer

  17. Bellissima idea, soprattutto mi piace il pavimento lastricato per esterno è molto realistico! Grazie per averla condivisa

  18. Great tutorial Jane! Thank you for sharing. You make it look so easy although I'm sure it's not. Just the thing to get me motivated after being away from minis for so long :) Now that the honeymoon is over I can get back to creating :) Also can't wait to see more of your creations!

  19. These are brilliant tips! Thank you for sharing Jane! I like that they are not going to cost an arm and a leg!

  20. Wow wow wow! Thanks for sharing your brilliant tips! I love how this looks, I have to go out and look for foamboard again, I never find any, but I've seen it online.

  21. Thanks for the tips. Everything is fantastic.

  22. Jane, you are hysterical! And crazy talented too. Thanks for these tips... your foam wood is ah-may-zing. I gotta try it soon.

    Hugs... *crazy stare back atcha*

  23. This is so fantastic!!!

    Now I'm going to have to try making a floor out of foam board for my next fairy house. I can't wait to try this!

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