What is Polystyrene?
Polystyrene is known as several names, such as styro, styrofoam, polyfoam and even deco foam.
Polystyrene is a plastic filled with air and was invented 50 years ago by the Dow Chemical Company. This foam contains about 90 percent air that is whipped into the plastic during the manufacturing process and then allowed to dry and cure. The combination of air and any combination of styrene, urethane, neoprene or vinyl make polystyrene so light and moisture resistant.
What is polystyrene or Styrofoam used for?
Styrofoam wreaths and shapes are used in floristry to create decorative floral arrangements.
Styro wreaths are widely used as sympathy tributes as flowers for this occasion are prepared before the event and do not need to drink water and last long. The white wreath is wrapped with green plastic wreath wrap to hide the white base and the fresh flowers are wired and inserted into the wreath base.
The main use for Styro wreaths in floral decoration is using them for artificial and dried flower arrangements. They have wire stems and are easy to insert into the foam. Styrofoam is not as soft and dusty as wet or dry floral foam and is often preferred for artificial flower arranging.
Polystyrene/styrofoam hearts, cones, stars and eggs are great for Christmas, Wedding, Valentine’s or Easter craft. High quality Styrofoam/polystyrene can be decorated and painted with acrylic hobby paints, glitters and sequins. Also think about decorating with yarns, strings and threads.
Wrap styro floral foam wreath bases with ribbons, fabrics and other materials to hide the white foam. Polyfoam is safe for kids and often used for faces or planets of the solar system.
Polystyrene boxes are great for packing fruit, vegetables and even fresh seafood as they keep the fresh produce insulated. Polystyrene is also used in the walls of cool rooms for added insulation.
What types of Styrofoam or polystyrene are there?
There are many densities of polystyrene for a variety of applications from packaging, insulation and floral and crafts.
Styrofoam come in many shapes for hobby, craft and floral decorating. Popular styrofoam shapes are styro sheets and blocks, balls and spheres; cones, sticks, wreaths, hearts, stars and more.
Which glue should I use for gluing polystyrene or Styrofoam?
You can use a spray adhesive to glue polystyrene. Most aerosol adhesives offer a quick, convenient way to glue Styrofoam. These types of glue sprays are designed to work on a variety of surfaces and are multipurpose glues for odd jobs in the home.
Design Master Tack 1000 and Design Master Tack 2000 are suitable aerosol adhesives sprays that can be used to glue polystyrene.
Generally an all purpose PVA glue that is water-based and safe for use by children can be used for gluing Styrofoam. These conventional PVA glues (wood working glue) are thick and suitable for use on virtually all craft surfaces.
Glue has to be tacky style glue. There are specific styro craft glues on the market. Even UHU glue that is used in an office can glue Styrofoam.
When gluing two pieces of Styrofoam together you may wish to consider adding some tooth picks or skewers stuck into and between the foam.
Never use hot glue directly on to Styrofoam. Hot glue is one of the worst glues to use on Styrofoam because it will melt the foam if directly applied. Hot glue is not recommended if you want to attach two Styrofoam pieces together. If you really have no other choice, apply the hot glue to the object that you want attached to the Styrofoam and wait for it to become tacky before applying it to the Styrofoam.
Never use an adhesive that contains a solvent. It will erode the Styrofoam releasing all sorts of toxic fumes.
Choose adhesives that are suited for not porous materials. Styrofoam’s are plastics and plastics are non-porous.
Can I paint Styrofoam / Polystyrene?
All Design Master Sprays paints are safe to use on Styrofoam.
Also suggested are water based acrylic craft and hobby paints.
Always remember to use aerosols in a cool ventilated room or area.
Care tips for polystyrene or Styrofoam
Being a plastic, polystyrene can burn easily and release pollutants into the air in the form of carbon monoxide so keep away from flames and heat.
Although polystyrene is safe for children, small pieces may be a choking hazard for children.
Dispose and recycle the same as you would for all plastics. Plastics are not environmentally friendly and a major land fills issue.
Polystyrene is light and easy to store. As it is bulky, it can be costly to transport long distances.
Styro wreath bases are inexpensive and great for beginners. Add your artificial flowers and floral supplies to create impressive seasonal displays at a small cost that will not break your decorating budget. Simply recycle the wreath and change your flowers and fashion them to reflect the current season.
Styrofoam / Polystyrene products are available at your Floral Sundries and Craft Suppliers. Buy cheap Styrofoam in bulk at wholesale prices direct from the importer.