Crafting With Foam Board from Michaels: A Guide for Beginners

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My Journey Into the World of Foam Board Crafts

As an avid crafter, I’m always looking for new and interesting materials to work with. Recently, I discovered the creative potential of foam board and realized it was the perfect medium for my arts and crafts projects. Though I’d seen it around craft stores like Michaels for years, I never fully appreciated just how versatile foam board could be until I started experimenting with it myself. From constructing displays and dioramas to mounting photos and creating decorative elements, foam board opened up a whole new dimension for my DIY making.

Once I started researching more about foam boards, I learned that the big box craft store Michaels offers an extensive selection of sizes, colors, and thicknesses to choose from. As a Michaels regular, I figured this foam board paradise was the ideal place to start gathering supplies for my freshly found foam board obsession. Throughout my journey into the world of foam board crafting, I quickly discovered which products worked best for the projects I wanted to create. Though trial and error was involved along the way, I’m now happy to share the tips and tricks I’ve picked up for selecting, cutting, and crafting with Michaels foam boards.

Foam Board Basics: Sizes, Prices and More

For anyone new to working with foam board, it can be a bit confusing to figure out which option is right for your project when you’re faced with the overwhelming selection at stores like Michaels. Here’s a quick rundown of the basics to know when foam board shopping:

Michaels offers foam boards in sizes ranging from 8.5 x 11 inches up to 28 x 40 inches. The most commonly stocked dimensions are 20 x 30 inches, which provides a nice, large surface for crafting.

Price-wise, expect to spend between $1 to $5 per foam board sheet. Sales and coupons will bring these costs down further. Value packs with multiple boards offer the best deals overall.

White foam board is the standard, but black, cream, red, blue, green and other colors are also available. Colored foam boards are slightly more expensive than basic white ones.

Different thicknesses like 1/16, 1/8, 3/16, 1/2 and 3/4 inches can be found. 1/8 and 3/16 inch boards are suitable for most crafts.

To make large displays, artwork and more, Michaels has oversized foam board up to a mammoth 4 x 8 feet in store. Or take advantage of their custom cutting services for truly enormous foam board pieces.

Specialty vs. Basic: Picking the Right Foam Board

Beyond the standard white foam boards, Michaels stocks various specialty versions featuring properties like moisture resistance, extra durability and adhesive backings. Depending on your project, paying a bit more for one of these upgraded foam boards may be worth it. Here are some of the highlights:

Adhesive backed foam boards from Elmer’s and Studio Decor make mounting photos or paper crafts a breeze. Look for the sticky side when purchasing.

Archival foam boards are acid-free and specially treated to prevent yellowing. Perfect for displaying valued photos and artwork.

Marvy Cut-to-Size boards have pre-scored gridlines for easily sizing to your needs. No cutting required.

Bienfang’s Craft Foam boards are double thick for added strength and durability. Great for kid’s crafts.

Elmer’s Weatherproof Outdoor boards stand up to sun, wind and rain. Ideal for signs, decor and more.

For basic crafting and display uses, Michaels basic white foam boards offer the best value. I save the specialty boards for projects where the extra features are really needed.

Cutting Foam Board with Ease

Once you’ve selected the ideal foam board for your project, the next step is cutting it down to size. While it’s possible to tear foam board by hand, the edges will be uneven and ragged. For clean, precise cuts, it’s best to use specialized cutting tools:

Foam board cutters feature a sharp, serrated blade enclosed in a plastic carrier for safety. Pull this cutter across the foam board’s edge for perfect straight lines. Michaels sells foam cutters for under $5.

table or circular saw also cuts foam board cleanly when fitted with the appropriate blade. Take safety precautions!

For curved cuts, a hot knife is perfect. The heated blade slices smoothly through foam board. Michaels hot knife kits start around $25.

Rotary cutters, utility knives, razor blades and scissors can be used in a pinch, but won’t give the cleanest cuts.

Cutting tip: Place the foam board’s paper side up when cutting for the cleanest edge. And always use a metal ruler as a guide.

Craft Project Ideas for Michaels Foam Boards

Now for the fun part: making stuff! Foam board is incredibly versatile for crafting. Here are some of my favorite projects to try with foam board sheets from Michaels:

  • Photo boards and memory collages
  • Dioramas, shadowboxes and displays
  • Painted wall art, monograms and signs
  • Party decorations – masks, pennants, shapes and letters
  • Animated elements and kinetic sculptures
  • Architectural modeling and miniatures
  • Custom boxes, cases and organizers
  • Playhouse and dollhouse furniture
  • Holiday decorations – ornaments, greeting cards, lawn decor
  • Kid’s crafts – puppets, models, games, picture frames
  • Wearable costume elements – armor, helmets, accessories

The possibilities are truly endless with a material as adaptable as foam board! Let your imagination run wild.

Helpful Tips for Working with Michaels Foam Boards

Through many foamboard project attempts (both successful and failed!), I’ve picked up some useful tips for getting the best results when crafting:

  • Use sharp blades and multiple passes for clean cuts
  • Sand edges lightly to smooth cut lines
  • Sketch designs out on paper first to minimize mistakes
  • Prime and paint for a professional finished look
  • Glue carefully as foam board is porous; white glue and hot glue work best
  • Support heavier elements with bracing and strong adhesives
  • Store foam board projects flat to prevent warping
  • Work in a well-ventilated area and wear a mask when cutting and sanding
  • Protect your eyes, hands and clothing – foam dust is messy!

With some practice and these pointers, you’ll be creating incredible foam board works of art in no time!

Admiring the Handiwork of Fellow Foam Board Crafters

As I’ve progressed on my foam board crafting adventure, I’ve been continuously amazed by the incredible projects made by talented artists around the world. Searching sites like Pinterest and Flickr provides tons of inspiration for new ways to utilize the humble foam board.

Some particular works that have left me in awe include textured landscapes and architectural models, stunning pop-up paper art, elaborate cosplay armor costumes, and even life-sized foam board sculptures of celebrities and characters.

Seeing these remarkable designs pushes me to improve my skills and take my crafts to the next level. And it all starts with that simple foam board from Michaels! I hope my guide provides a helpful jumping off point for others wanting to unlock the creative potential of foam boards too. With a bit of experimentation and lots of fun, you’ll be designing incredible works of your own in no time. Let me know if you have any other great foam board tips and tricks! I’m always looking to learn.

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