in this instructable, i will show you how to create cool wood-like signs from styrofoam sheets.
Step 1: What you will need
a sheet of styrofoam. mine is 1/2 inch. you could use thicker, but i definitely wouldn't go any thinner!
stencils (if you want precise letters)
ex-acto or razor knife with sharp blades
various shades of acrylic paint (brown, tan, white, black, gray)
Step 2: Letter your board
using stencils or freehand, letter your sheet. use a sharpie marker to do this.
Step 3: Begin to carve the letters
hold your weapon of choice at about a 45 degree angle and begin to cut out the letters. this step is messy. i set mine over a waste basket and carve there, allowing the bits to fall there instead of all over.
always angle your cuts toward the center of each letter/symbol. that way the letters will pretty much pop out easily with a flick of the finger.
using the sharp blade, also cut long, meandering strips across the sheet. this simulates the woodgraining that a plank has. also 'notch' the edges to add more realism to your board.
Step 4: The heat is on!
use your heat gun carefully next, to close the cells on the styrofoam. this shrinks it up somewhat, and makes your careful carving stand out, as well as making that subtle woodgraining 'pop'
DO NOT hold the gun still. keep it moving, sweeping across the sheet. if you hold it still, it will burn through and ruin your hard work!
Step 5: Coloring the board
fill in all the low places with black acrylic. use a small paintbrush and go slow. remember the notches at the edges of the board.
don't try to do the woodgraining at this point.
Step 6: Almost done...
go over the whole board now with brown acrylic. while it's still damp, smear in some tan, blending it as you see fit. it will start to resemble wood at this point!
Step 7: Finishing up
using a dry-brush method, add in black, gray and white streaks. this really makes the board 'pop' and there you have it, a styrofoam sign that looks like you carved it from wood!
you can even use this method to create entire rooms if you desire!