This instructable will show you how to make a small sandblasted looking sign from simple and easily obtainable materials.
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Step 1: The Materials and Tools
Styrofoam: any type will do, beaded white (thats what I'm using here), or the pink, blue or grey extruded type of polystyrene. urethane foam will not work for this project. The colored foam is usually sold under the name foamular and is found at most building supply yards as foundation insulation, they also carry the white beaded foam and you can find it in some craft stores also.
Stencil material: I'm using sign vinyl that I cut on my Summa plotter using Coreldraw, but, you can use contact shelf paper handcut with an exacto knife. or even cutout stencils using chipboard or other materials, be creative.
Sandblast: For this project you could use a sandblaster (very quickly) but because of the polystyrene we are going to use spray paint any brand will do as long as it's not water based, solvents in a spray can will also do, experiment.
Step 2: Sandblasting With Paint
Once you have applied your stencil it's time to "blast". start lightly spaying the foam and be careful of under cutting (bold designs work better as you will see), the paint or solvents will start melting away the styrofoam. Be sure to evenly coat the panel and keep in mind the chemical reaction will keep working after you stop spraying
Step 3: So Simple a Kid Can Do It
My son Ian wanted to do one so we cut a small block of foam and put a dragon stencil on it, taped off the edges with packing tape and he went at it.
Step 4: Finishing Up
when the paint is dry, remove the stencil and tape and coat out with a water based coat of paint or primer then finish paint using the colors of your choice. You can safely use spray paint after priming at least two times with a water based paint to protect the foam, but any little pinhole in the primer coat will let solvents get to the foam so at least two coats need to be applied. I use acrylic latex house paints and/or artist acrylic colors to paint my foam signs.
Step 5: Fixing Mistakes
The Fedosky sign had an issue with the stencil lines being too fine, so I cut the parts from chipboard (leftover from my bookmaking) with my scrollsaw and coated them a couple of times with krylon paint to make them more durable, if the sign were going out in the weather I would use acrylic, pvc, or wood. I will then glue them to the sign after painting. You could also add other decorative elements as appropriate the style of sign
Step 6: Finished Signs
I'll add the signs later
Finally uploaded the finished pics (1-12-09)