This guy didn't glow to begin with. He started out as a Sound Warrior, one of 4 bots and deities I assembled from styrofoam packaging inserts to do battle with reflected sound after I moved into a big empty loft space with brick walls and rock maple floors. The first time I tried to watch a movie in that space the sound was so jumbled I couldn't even understand the words. Miraculosly, 4 of these guys fanned out behind my TV totally defeated my sound issues and restored sound clarity to my living space. BUT... that's not why we're here! Were here to MAKE IT GLOW!
When we left the first rented loft and built out our own space, we no longer needed an army of sound sucking styrobots. However, at the time I was looking for creative lighting for the new space and had been discovering the gorgeous translucency of thin styrofoam sheets when backlit. I grabbed a shadeless lamp, held it behind this guy and he just about sprang to life! I placed him directly in front of the double doored entry to our basement loft and he kept us safe for another few years until we moved again.
Step 1: Collecting Materials
The key to Building a good StyroBot is to have a good selection of styrofoam packaging inserts. If you're like me, you probably have many old appliance and electronics boxes in the attic or garage you're saving just in case. Some of the items they once contained are probably long gone. Additionally, you've probably never once returned an item in any saved packaging so you can start by freeing up some space, breaking down those boxes and collecting all the packaging inserts.
Another thing you probably don't realize is that most of your friends and neighbors have similar collections. When I started this project I posted a note on the forum for our 40 unit converted factory building. Over the next few days, about 100 different packaging inserts were left outside my door! I built four of these pieces and still had 50 or so to find a new home for.
Step 2: Designing and Building
Once you amass your new foam fortune, lay out your booty in a large space where you can see all your options. Try to envision what you'd like to build and contemplate your parts possibilities. Having a lamp with an exposed bulb on hand will let you backlight the pieces to judge their translucency. You don't HAVE to build a flat robot shape either. You could just be abstract or build a column or a more 3D form.
When you're ready to start assembly you'll need some glue and pins, toothpicks, and/or clamps. I used Weldbond but I suspect any white glue like Elmers or something similar will work for this. You can check the web site www.ThisToThat.com to see other options for gluing styrofoam to itself, or anything to anything for that matter.
To start assembling your parts, spread a little glue on your connecting surfaces and pin or clamp them in place until set. I had to do this in stages to let the glue setup as the project grew. You could also use string to tie pieces in place until they set but don't pull it so tight it digs into the foam. Some folded paper or cardboard at the edges could help prevent this.
Step 3: Let There Be Light
That's pretty much all there is to this story. The one photo is probably all you really need. Most of you will know what to do before you read any of this but you cant have an instructable without instructions. ;-)
All that's left is to park your new friend by the front door and put a light behind him. You can't see the cord in my image because i edited it out but I simply hung an Ikea drop pendant with no shade at the point that I thought gave me the most dramatic effect. You could also use any floor or table lamp that will put the light source where you want it.
There you go! You now have your very own globot robo-greeter! If you'd like to see more of my work you can visit my new Etsy Shop.
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