TESTING THE COMBINATION OF STYROFOAM

WITH POLYMER CLAY

By Garie Sim

 
 Comparing Sizes Between The Original And The Shrunken Styrofoam
 The original square size styrofoam was baked at 130ºC for 45 minutes in the convection oven, it eventually shrunk to the size shown on the picture. The compressed styrofoam is very hard, toss it onto the floor and it gives out a "clink" sound.

 
 Testing PC Mixture Wrapped Onto The Styrofoam Ball
 For the test I use 2 inches ø styrofoam ball wrapped with mixed polymer clay (1 part Bake and Bend plus three parts Fimo Soft), was baked at 130ºC for 45 minutes in the convection oven. After the baking time the ball doesn't expand or reduce its diameter. If the ball expanded more than its original wrapped diameter then, there is a possiblity of emission of gases.

 
 
 The baked polymer clay ball is flexible and its feels like a PVC ball, hollow inside as the styrofoam ball shrunk. No cracking on the surface, measurement is the same. Using a cutter I cut open the PC ball. No nauseating smell.

 
 
 Cutting open the PC ball shows the rough textured pumpkin shape styrofoam ball. The shrinkage is over 50%.

 
 
 The picture shows the flexiblity of the ball after adding the Bake and Bend Sculpey clay. Adding a little mixture of B&B to PC doesn't cause any cracking after baking.

 
 Test Number Two: Using Fimo Soft PC Wrapped Onto The Styrofoam Ball
 Using a textured Fimo Soft PC Clay wrapped onto the styrofoam ball of about 2 inches ø diameter.

 
 And Using Fimo Soft PC Mixed With Bake And Bend Wrapped Onto The Square Styrofoam
 Using the mixed Fimo Soft PC Clay (1 part Bake and Bend plus three parts Fimo Soft) wrapped onto the square styrofoam of about 1 3/4 inches x 1 3/4 inches x 3/8 inch thk. styrofoam. Covered all the sides with PC and use a toothpick to release the air pockets, between the foam and the clay.

 
 
 Put both items, as shown, into the convection oven and set the temperature of the oven to 130ºC, baking time 45 minutes. For any PC project baking in the oven, always use a ceramic tile as base.

 
 
 Within 20 to 25 minutes cracks appearing on the surface of the PC ball, there was no change with the square shape PC box.

 
 
 Into the 35 minutes baking cracking and spliting appears on the surface of the PC ball. The styrofoam ball becomes a pumpkin shape and anchored onto the base of the PC ball when compressing. The cause of the crack and split was due to the attachment of the PC onto the styrofoam ball surface. When the styrofoam compressed, it soften and fused with the PC. The compressing inward movement causes tension between the clay and styrofoam, cracking the PC surface during the softening to hardening stage when baking polymer clay in the convection oven.

 
 
 Releasing the PC due to high tension causes it to split backwards and open as shown. Without the B&B mixture to the PC, the baking process will cracked the ball.

 
 
 Detail shows the spot where PC attached to the styrofoam.

 
 
 I removed the square wrapped PC box from the oven after baking for 45 minutes. It feels soft, using the cutter I cut open the clay box again, no nauseating smell.

 
 
 Picture shows the shrunk Styrofoam attached onto the inside of the box base.

 
 
 Comparison of using Fimo Soft and Sculpey 3 plus mixture of B&B, shows the attachment of the shrunken Styrofoam to the PC surface inside both the box. You can easily remove the shrunken Styrofoam using a clay tools.

 
 Comparing The Two Polymer Clay Balls
 I am yielding two different results by using polymer clay and polymer clay with Bake and Bend mixture. Direct application of the PC without foils to Styrofoam shows different reaction to two type of PC composition.

 
 Option For Separator
 Beside aluminum foils, there is another option to separate the Styrofoam from the polymer during the shrinking process. Apply baby oil to all the surface of the Styrofoam and you will find it easier to remove the Styrofoam inside any type of boxes.

1/12/2005, I made an enquiry with some of our local manufacturer for styrofoam and was told that the styrofoam material is created from Expanded Polystyrene Resin and the raw material is the same in other country or US.

http://www.powersourcing.com/sf/expandedpolystyreneresin.htm

Polystyrene Facts

http://inventors.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://www.polystyrene.org/

Polystyrene Ball Use For Making Fimo Doll

http://www.garieinternational.com.sg/clay/shop/fimo_dolly.htm

 

The Shrinking Styrofoam Technique

 

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© 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, Garie Sim All rights reserved.