View Full Version : coating styrofoam

06-26-2007, 09:41 PM
So this is our 1st year carving styrofoam and i was wondering how you coat it or protect it? I have awtched Bad Boys Strofoam video, but all they do is heat it with a heat gun. Any other tips?

06-26-2007, 11:03 PM
To protect the foam you need to apply a hard coat product...



And of course don't forget the flame retardant.

Village Haunter
06-26-2007, 11:04 PM
You could coat it by using a mason's brush with thinned plaster. Load up the brush and flick it on--don't brush. When the masonary plaster (sand, lime and water) is flicked on it creates a thin layer of cement. Apply several very small, thin layers and you'll have a concrete layer over foam.

Pretty cool, eh?

To really make it strong one can add some liquid hardener. (I forget what this stuff is called.) This is the very process used for some landscaping stone, swimming pool rocks, etc.

Jim Warfield
06-27-2007, 12:24 AM
Styrofoam coated with some cement. And yet I was told the people making those large cement lawn ornaments make them of solid cement!???
"Where do you want your new Gorilla?"
"Over there next to the play pen."
"I can't get the crane truck that close. This cement gorilla weighs 4500 pounds!"
advantages: Nobody steals it (without a crane truck) The wind won't blow it over.
Disadvantages: You will Never move it, no matter what. It will be sinking into the earth as time passes, unless you put a very substantial base under it.
If it is sinking into the earth it might not sink straight down, then it may tip over..on someone!

06-27-2007, 05:53 PM
To really make it strong one can add some liquid hardener. (I forget what this stuff is called.) This is the very process used for some landscaping stone, swimming pool rocks, etc.

You're probably thinking of Acryl 60 by the Thoro corp (makers of Thoroseal masonry sealant and Thorobond adhesive) . It's a milky white acrylic emulsion; probably the most popular liquid hardener used by cement/concrete masons. The same stuff, sometimes available for a buck or two less, is put out by Glacier and it's called (brace yourself) "Akkro 7-T" (gee, ya don't suppose they were capitalizing off of the other product's name, do ya?) :)

What I really like about it when using it with dash textures like you were describing is that it makes your mortar a lot stickier, so it sticks better when you throw it. Your mixture also goes into primary set faster, which can be a good thing but also seriously narrows your window of when you can brush out or sponge the surface. Don't spike up too big a batch of mud with it at once; if you don't use it up fast enough you'll have to keep adding water and remixing to keep it from setting up in your container.

Village Haunter
06-27-2007, 10:32 PM
[QUOTE=Toxic;17217]You're probably thinking of Acryl 60 by the Thoro corp (makers of Thoroseal masonry sealant and Thorobond adhesive)QUOTE]

Yup, that's the stuff!

I apologize I could not recall the name, but I think that is the route you'd like to go.

I have misplaced the instructions, which include a website with a video of the general process. If I can find it, I'll gladly post it.

Thanks, Tox!


06-28-2007, 11:19 AM
You can use aerosol wall texture spray...the stuff you spray on drywall to give it that bumpy feel...can pick it up at any home improvement store...comes in different colors also...it is fire retardent once it dries ....

06-28-2007, 09:56 PM
I have to say that the Volatile Free Quick Spray System is the best solution I have found for putting a hard coat over foam. The gun is around $700.00 and the hard coat comes in sets of 6 to a case. Each set is around $30.00. You can coat a 4 x 8 sheet with 1 1/2 sets. You will need an air system that can keep up with this gun. I have two 80 gallon compressors running non stop at 120 psi. Not a cheap solution by no means. However, if you want to protect all your hard work do it right the first time.

I used this system on our Castle facade back in March of this year.

www.spookywoods.com/castle.htm (http://www.spookywoods.com/castle.htm)

Village Haunter
07-02-2007, 07:56 PM
That is a very nice facade! Well done.

I have not worked with the acryl 60 and concrete process, but I have viewed the training videos (app 15 hours). It is a very symple process, can apply any color, and is honest-to-goodness concrete. I believe you could cover that facade with 1 inch of super-strong concrete for under $300.

But you've founda fool-proof system that you like; keep it up!

07-03-2007, 02:03 PM
I know most of you can't afford this but our company has about $200,000.00 worth of foam carving and hard coating equipment. We have computers that carve foam to $30k hard coating guns. However all of this is recent purchases prior to that we would carve something then take it over to a facility that could hard coat it for us... every town has to have a couple options where they will do this for you.

Another COOL way to protect and give it a really nice finish is a concrete hopper... you spray concrete right onto the foam. This works out really nice and gives it a concrete finish. We've done this many times to build caves or rocks or whatever.


07-03-2007, 04:54 PM
Just fyi...

Halloween Productions, Inc. bought out this company...


If you click on the link you'll see what they do, we now own this company and will start to supply these servies in teh future. Everything you see on that site we do now... we have all kinds of computer that carve out patterns and more.

Check it out.


Greg Chrise
07-04-2007, 09:19 AM
A company providing these services is hot these days. From reviewing the pictures I see two obvious product expansions. Provide also the Dryvit coating systems for architectual fascia (if they don't already) and when doing slides around pools incorporate real tile (small 1/2 colored tiles) onto the sliding board surface.

My company follows around companies that install such stuff and resurface exposed concrete surfaces and foundations. We also do the "cool deck" pool coating systems and some engineering level repairs for structural cracks and joint work. These days many pool are what we call "Disney" pools with tall waterfalls and slides, negative edge pools and surrounding landscaping all integral to the design. They get quite expensive. Of course as we are the last ones in to detail the sometimes run out of money by time we get there. LOL Not.

We do the detail work to colleges and churches being constructed with EPS systems and can do the overlayed exterior entries that would be walked on. Of course we get to do something on any bad concrete pours and remodel older surfaces that had products applied over the last 30 years.

The weather has killed so many contractors and it must certainly let up soon. There should be a big back log of work to catchup on. Plus with your IAAPA connections you should really have it going on.

I can't wait to see some of the things you can come up with. I guess the styrofoam forum willl be coming soon? Styrofoam magazine and Styrofoam the Movie?


07-06-2007, 02:58 PM
As some of you went to it, but at the Rocky Point Fright Nights for haunters. she gave us her secret of covering styrofoam.... She used "Synergy" which is a stucco material. You can buy it in a 1 gallon or a 5 gallon container with which ever color you want. It has some flex to it too. They are about 50.00 bucks per 5 gallon container and it roughly covers 100 s.f. if you put it on fairly thin. It is pretty easy to install and all you need is a trowel (and a drill to mix in the color). If you want a smooth finish then request the "fine texture" not the medium or course because it ends up looking just like stucco should. The great thing about it is that it is also considered fireproofed already. Anyway, I have already used 20 gallons of the stuff and I really like it and it covers styrofoam perfectly.

If you are putting on a large amount then you can use a hopper sprayer too.

Anyway, good luck

The Gallows

07-12-2007, 11:58 PM
Where do you buy synergy?


07-13-2007, 09:20 AM
Hey Larry

Here is the link to the Distributor Locator.


Deathmask Studios
07-18-2007, 12:08 PM
There are always many costly solutions out there BUT the best solution on a budget is Durham's Water Putty, http://www.waterputty.com/ available at any Home Depot or Lowe's for a few dollars. It comes as a powder and when mixed with water can be painted on - gotta work fast - and dries to a hard thin coat. It won't hold up to a hammer, but it will prevent chipping and random bump/knock/weather damage. If you want to get fancy it can be mixed with latex paint. It still protects the foam but is a little less rigid, more like a rubberized film. I used it for years on headstones, walls and other foam props. Recently I started doing props for feature films in addition to a 20,000 sq. ft. haunt and graduated to sprayed resin (that's another very interesting story:haunt leads to film, leads to National Geographic Explorer, leads to national magazine, leads to another film - details when I get time). Durham's also works in molds and a myriad of other uses - limited only by imagination. Cool stuff.