Instructables

Kids Polystyrene Wall Art

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High winds blew packaging material from a nearby building site all around our town. The pieces of polystyrene got lodged in trees, shrubbery, everywhere. They were too big to put in the bin for collection so we decided to make them into something pretty after school.

UPDATE - We have since made another one of these using florists ribbon (or you could use cassette tape) to make a waterproof, outdoors version.
 
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Step 1: Get your polystyrene

Picture of Get your polystyrene
We chose this particular piece of polystyrene because it was large enough to be worked on by several little people at once and the little people liked the shape.

The polystyrene is several inches thick so pieces won't break off easily (although lots of tiny particles will make a break for freedom so you might want to do this outside when it's not windy put a sheet down etc).

Mum removed the branches and twigs embedded in the polystyrene from where it got blown into bushes.

Step 2: Adding the wool

Picture of Adding the wool
We agreed which side was going to be the 'rough' side and this was the side that any knots and fastenings would be made.

We discovered early on that as long as we kept the yarn taught then it cut into the edges of the polystyrene and we didn't have do too much tying off.

We began randomly wrapping wool around the polystyrene ...

Step 3: Create an hole

Picture of Create an hole
...we then realised that the task of winding wool arround would be MUCH EASIER if we made the existing hole a little larger.

By creating a large hole we effectively had an anchor to pull the wool in different directions as well as a focal point for our piece.

Step 4: Finishing touches

Picture of Finishing touches
When we began tying each other in knots (yes, that really happened) and the smallest kids began to cry, we took a break.

Then, each kid chose a colour and concentrated on one particular area and worked on that independently until their ball of wool ran out.
Mutantflame2 years ago
That looks cool! Have you got a picture of what it looks like at the back?
doxsys3 years ago
Great work!  This would make a great Mother's Day present.  And BTW, wool is (more or less) weather-proof; that's why sheep and sailors wear it. :)
Leosmama3 years ago
I just LOVE what you all did!! I will have to go in search of a great piece of polystyrene to have a go with my son. Thank you for this great idea! XXX
macrumpton3 years ago
I would be tempted to add a few more holes.
LandMime3 years ago
Looks like great fun for the little ones!
kcls4 years ago
Cool project! It looks very modern on that wall.
 That's such a creative way of making art from something that was going into the landfill!  Great job!
bergiemoore4 years ago
What a great use of a found object! What fun.
gavenecko4 years ago
Hah, that is awesome! I would do that for outside art, but my peafowl would eat it. :(
mediwrench5 years ago
Love it! Can't wait for some construction junk to blow into my yard!
I do a lot of Community Art work with children and am always trying to use recycled industry waste to cut costs. As a lateral thinker I have always tried to create many ways to recycle such wastage. Yours is a brilliant, simple, effective way of engaging children in a fun creative activity suitable for all ages, even the littlies. Only precaution would be to ensure no one inhale the foam particles as they dont show up on xray and can be carcinogenic if embedded in the lungs. When I worked for the Red cross Childrens hospital in the late 60's we used to get a few kids who jumped on bean bags that had leakage and they had accidentally inhaled the pellets. Took a while to find out the cause of their chest complaints. Otherwise it is a fun mediumn to muck around with. A serrated edge bread knife is great for cutting it with, or a fine tooth hand saw. Just watch out for the resultant mess of small particles that are statically charged and tend to cling to everything they touch. Loved the work the children did. Have you tried inserting interesting found objects into foam as part of the installation? Driftwood can be very interesting when combined with fabric strips and string/wool etc woven about a shape. Foam can be cut into blocks and joined with bits of wire coathanger threaded through the middle and bent into a loop at each end. I have made marionettes by using blocks of foam joined in this way. They can then be paper mache'd over with newspaper and flour paste. Make the paste very thick almost like petroleum jelly so the kids have to smooth it onto the paper by hand (and the mache' does not get too wet.) Very good tactile stuimulation for children to have a real hands on art experience. Once the blocks are all covered and the paper is dried, the resultant marionette can be painted and strung up with fishing line to a cross stick. We made marionettes that were about 2 1/2 feet high.
This is beautiful! The kids did a terrific job! So creative! I teach art to kids ages 8-15 and we'll have to try this then hang it in our art room. Thanks for sharing such a great idea! Tell your kids they made some wonderful art! They are adorable too!
bcr8ve6 years ago
What a great idea, and what a great way to encourage kids to look at anything as a potential art project! Kudos to you and your young artists!
Super!!! This is a wonderful idea for my kid. Thanks
mada6 years ago
Simply superb. +1
IdahoDavid6 years ago
A really clever idea. I do want to caution you to have a care with construction and industrial materials. Some of this things are designed to be contained within a structure and are not intended for extended handling or inhaling. If you know what you are dealing with it is probably OK. I applaud your effort to recycle creatively.
viviluk6 years ago
quite intersting
westfw6 years ago
Polystyrene foam like that is pretty easy to get in whatever quantities you might want, since it's nor recyclable and expensive to throw away (garbage disposal being charged by volume, rather than by weight.) Try any vendor of large and somewhat fragile appliances like large screen TVs or hot-tubs - they'll probably be happy to have you cart away as much as you can fit in your vehicle. (This is the sort of foam that is also useful for things like solar cookers...) (You'd think that this stuff is common enough to have a special recycling or disposal path; I mean if you melt or dissolve it, the volume goes down tremendously.)
Patrik6 years ago
For a moment I thought Step 2 was labeled "Adding the woo!" - which would have been equally fitting. Woo!
mrsphillips6 years ago
This is beautiful!
darkmuskrat6 years ago
This is such a great way to decorate for anyone, and Its a great "Green" idea.
Wow, that's awesome! The last picture looks great, I wish I had one of those on my wall. Great job, +1 rating.
mikeasaurus6 years ago
Wow! What a great use for polystyrene, you've taken something that could have been a real eyesore to everyone and turned it into a wonderful original art installment! Great collaboration, and a great instructable!
j-bar03 (author)  mikeasaurus6 years ago
Thank you for your kind words. It is our first instructable so we are really pleased to hear +ve feedback. Thanks
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