I am trying to cover Styrofoam balls to make them smooth to paint on. I tried paper mache but it won't stick. Do I have to prep the ball somehow or can you buy round balls for crafting in the various sizes available in Styrofoam?
Craft stores like Hobby Lobby or Michaels should sell various sizes of styrofoam balls and maybe in the floral shop or the floral dept. at WalMart Stores.
Have you thought of gluing fabric over the styrofoam to make it easier to work with?
You can buy styrofoam balls; and you can also buy polystyrene balls. The polystyrene balls are not porous, so are easier to paint. I don't know that they are available in as many sizes and styrofoam. There is a product available at the craft store made specifically to smooth the styrofoam for painting. I have tried it, and while it is OK, it doesn't leave a totally smooth surface, either.
You might try gesso, (available among the paints) to prepare the ball. It might take several coats; but it is slightly thicker than the paint.
You should be able to work with the papier mache if your initial strips go completely around the ball. Tear a strip between 1/4 and 1/2 inch wide (depending on the size of the ball) and run it from the "north pole" to the "south pole" and back, slightly overlapping itself; and then another around the equator. The mache will stick to itself, so the rest of the pieces you use should slightly overlap the equatorial strips.
(I expect you know, but always tear your paper strips for papier mache--they'll blend better,with less visible seams.)
Hi the craft stores I've been to sell a styrofoam primer that you paint on first or you can use gesso that is sold with the painting supplies.
Check with one of your local florist to find out what type of spray paint they use. A florist I used to deliver for made a lot of arrangements using painted styrofoam.Might have been the same paint they used to spray carnations sometimes.
I Googled 'styrofoam smoother'. The first hit sent me to
which talks about a product called 'Smooth Finish Paint', to be found at most craft stores. Price wasn't listed. When I checked crafts on that site, directions for a pumpkin decoration suggested using white glue and tissue paper, 2 coats. Maybe using the color tissue you need would work. Possibly using white tissue paper and painting the design after the glue dries would be successful for your needed effect.
Not sure exactly how smooth you want your styrofoam ball but what I have done in the past is one of two things. I have either rolled the ball on a hard surface with light pressure and this will give it a smooth texture. I also have taken another piece of styrofoam and used it as sand paper and this will make it smooth however either idea will work but may make your ball somewhat smaller than you wish so with that in mind...buy larger styrofoam balls to get the size you need. Just be sure when using either one of these ideas use a paintbrush to remove the residue and then the Gesso to seal the ball before starting your project. Gesso is really great stuff. Let us know the solution you have found to work, it may help the rest of us.
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