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Polyfoam Practice

Discussion in 'Puppet Building and Performing' started by Gonzo's Hobbit, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. Gonzo's Hobbit Well-Known Member

    Hey guys, I had a quick question. Does anyone here use something to practice patterns on polyfoam? And if so, what do you use? I'm playing around with a puppet shape but I don't want to use up all my foam doing rough drafts if I can help it. Does anyone have any advice?
  2. Melonpool Member

    I usually use 1/2 inch regular upholstery foam for practice. And by the time I'm done with my initial patterning, it's quite a Frankenstein. After that, I cut it down as best I can into one or two flat sheets, combining what I can. Sometimes, I have to pattern 2 or 3 times to get it just the way I want to. I also use regular contact cement at this stage, I tried using hot glue, but it never sticks quite enough and I end up refining it so much that hot glue becomes a hard mess.

    Hope this helps!
  3. Gonzo's Hobbit Well-Known Member

    How much does upholstery foam cost? Right now I use 1/2 inch foam that I get by the yard at Joanns. It's usually $10/yard. Do you think that's gonna be as cheap as I'd get any other material like this?
  4. larz21 New Member

    If you can find 1/4 inch foam, you can build half-size patterns. I don't have a good local source, but you can try any online foam place. I have used foam backed headliner material from a fabric shop, it's pretty thin, so I made my patterns at 33%.

  5. Gonzo's Hobbit Well-Known Member

    I never thought about that. Thanks for the tip. I've been endeavoring to try and make smaller versions of the patterns I'm trying but yea, the 1/2 messes with it eventually. Thanks, I'll have to check that out.

    Thanks also for the advice Melonpool.
  6. Melonpool Member

    Joann's is one of the more expensive places I've found foam -- and it's basically upholstery foam. I'd check your phone book or online for foam suppliers. I used to get 2 x 4 sheets of 1/2 upholstery foam for about $6 a few years ago at a place called Foam Mart.

    I used to use this to make patterns for years -- and even to make regular puppets and it worked great. I just checked their site and it looks like they still sell stuff that's comparable. They also sell off cuts at a discount that work great for puppet building (who else would want a 1 x 1 x 1 foot block of foam?).

    Even so, Foam Mart isn't the best deal in town, but they are better than Michael's or Joann's. And if you can find a similar place that's local, you can save on shipping.

    Gonzo's Hobbit likes this.
  7. Gonzo's Hobbit Well-Known Member

    Great Leaping Richards Hunts! That is cheap foam. Sweet, thanks for the tip. At any rate I can't find a single place in town that will sell me a block of foam for a decent price so I'll check them out for that at least. But also thanks for the advice that their half inch foam is a good price.
  8. Goochman Member

  9. Gonzo's Hobbit Well-Known Member

    Nice website Goochman, thanks. I might use that to get the 1/4 stuff somtime.
  10. Goochman Member

    they're really good! Cheap and fast shipping too :concern:
  11. Gonzo's Hobbit Well-Known Member

    Quickl question, I just realized that in addition to it being cheaper it's also like three times wider than the stuff at Joanns. Does it arrive in a box that you can manage it with?
  12. Goochman Member

    they shrink wrap it, it's tiny when it comes. then you open the box and let it explode lol
  13. Goochman Member

    and yeah its more than twice the size of the sheets at Joanns and about 1/4 the price
  14. Gonzo's Hobbit Well-Known Member

    So how do you store it personally?
  15. Goochman Member

    I just keep it rolled up in my studio. I only order 5 or so sheets at a time so it's not an insane amount to store. It only takes up about as much space as a 40yd roll of Antron
  16. Gonzo's Hobbit Well-Known Member

    Oh okay cool. I was planningon only one at a time because it's so big (and I don't have a studio) but it still seems like a huge amount
  17. Melonpool Member

    The one thing that's cool about it being so cheap and having a lot of it is that it'll really free you up to experiment and get it right.
    Gonzo's Hobbit likes this.
  18. Gonzo's Hobbit Well-Known Member

    Oh totally. I'm so grateful to you guys for showing me this stuff.
  19. Goochman Member

    yeah the cost is so low now that I don't mind using it to test out new ideas
  20. Gonzo's Hobbit Well-Known Member

    If anyone cares I have found that hand sewing the foam is a nice way to practice with it. If it doesnt' look right you can take out the stiches and take another approach. I've found that contact cement commits you a little more.

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