Material for Making a Headboard

MHSTech

Active Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
Location
Ohio
This spring we're doing Once Upon A Mattress at my high school. I have designed a pretty elaborate headboard in AutoCAD.
bed-Model.jpg
My question is what should I build it out of? It's 3 feet high and 3 1/2 feet wide and needs to be a few inches thick. I want to keep it light weight and cost effective. Also, as much as I would like to carve it out of hardwood, I don't have a lot around at the moment and I think it will weigh too much. So, I thought about using some kind of two part foam, but the products that I found in a quick Google search didn't turn out very cost effective. Does anybody have any ideas?

Thanks.
 

derekleffew

Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
Premium Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2007
Location
Las Vegas, NV, USA
I'd say build it out of 1" thick by 4'x8' blue foam, rigid polystyrene insulation, glued up to the proper thickness. Here's a Lowe's link, $11.86 seems pretty reasonable. Use proper adhesive for the glue up and fabrication. Use all recommended/required PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) when working with any foam products. See VSSD for use as a coating. May not need to carve anything, just sculpt or scenic paint on the highlights and shadows. If strength is an issue, sandwich plywood of desired thickness between the foam sheets. Ironic, you're building a bed and I'm suggesting you use sheets!:dance:

Great drawing by the way. High school kids are now using AutoCAD!? I AM behind the times. But at least my VCRs aren't flashing "12:00"!
 
  • Like
Reactions: MHSTech

Van

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2006
Location
Portland, Or.
I'll second Derek. 1" blue foam laminated on a piece of good < non-warpy> 1/4" luan or BC ply would make a great foundation for carving. When Laminating foam try to find "30 Neutral" it's a latex based contact adhesive. It won't eat the foam, cleans up with water, hold foam tight. Do not use standard contact adhesive, or spray 77, most of thes types of adhesives contain actetone, lacquer thinner, or toulene, al of which will eat up your foam.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MHSTech

MHSTech

Active Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
Location
Ohio
Great drawing by the way. High school kids are now using AutoCAD!? I AM behind the times. But at least my VCRs aren't flashing "12:00"!
What can I say? I work for our engineering department for the local government.

What tools work best for carving in that kind of foam? Would use of a router be feasible?
 
Last edited:

Van

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2006
Location
Portland, Or.
........
What tools work best for carving in that kind of foam? Would use of a router be feasible?
I think I've posted some carving tips in a couple of threads, as I'm a foam carvin' freak! Just run a search and see what you come up with. I'll tell you some of my favorite tools for foam carving;
Rasps
Shur-forms, rounded and flat styles
Sandpaper
Wire wheels on a drill motor
Wire cup wheels on a drill motor. < be sure to wrap cheese cloth around the vent holes on the drill or the foam dust makes nasty work out of the commuter>
carving knife < standard kitchen variety>
Electric Carving Knife
Dremel tools
Routers.

!!!!! Key thing to remember !!!!!!
ANY TIME you use high speed tools with with foam, or for that matter anytime you use "hot knives" , you release Noxious Gasses. Some folks are really susceptible to these gasses, some folks they don't bother so much. Many will tell you as long as the foam isn't burning < combusting> then no toxic fumes are being released. At any rate when carving foam you need to be wearing, at the least, a dust mask, at best a respirator. When using wire wheels and the like you tend to kick up a lot of dust which gets everywhere, and has the potential to combust easily. Just be careful
 
  • Like
Reactions: MHSTech

derekleffew

Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
Premium Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2007
Location
Las Vegas, NV, USA
And be sure to take (and post here) pictures of the finished product for your portfolio. College/job interviewers love looking at pictures of high quality craftsmanship.
 

Van

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2006
Location
Portland, Or.
OOPs
What I should have said was commutator
:rolleyes:
Somtimes, spell checkers are a bad thing.


Wait a minute, I though Commu-tators were what Vodka was made out of.
 

MHSTech

Active Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
Location
Ohio
I just got back from Lowes. The only polystyrene board they had was white, and to be honest, I thought it was crap. It appeared to be a nightmare to carve as it was made of small white bits that kind of crumble apart when you rubbed them. Is there any difference between the blue stuff and the white stuff? There was also some styrofoam board close by that was blue and seemed to cut pretty nicely.

Oh, and there will be plenty of pictures to follow in the next several months (musical isn't until May), given I get the chance.
 

derekleffew

Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
Premium Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2007
Location
Las Vegas, NV, USA
Sorry if I led you astray. I'm always getting my foams mixed up. You want polyisocyanurate, not polystyrene (white, small beads). Both have their applications, but the blue is generally better for theatre use. Stay away from any yellow foam, as it is even more toxic to work with than the other two. You may have to go to a real building center to get the Dow Super TUFF-R, but if Lowe's or HomeDepot have a similar blue product, that's fine.

Or go here, and type in your zip code for the closest distributor.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MHSTech

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Location
Seattle, WA
I have purchased the good stuff at Home Depot in the past. Don't know if they stock it in your area. I've always used a caulking gun of the "Liquid Nails- Heavy Duty" for gluing foam to wood and have never noticed any problems with it eating the foam.
 
Last edited:

Van

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2006
Location
Portland, Or.
derek/van

How about the pink polystyrene (Corning Foamular)?

Joe
Yes, Pink/blue foam is generally interchangeable, just different dyes. I get mine from Home Despot most of the time, though for a big project any local insulation contractor / supplier should stock it in bulk. The Yellow stuff tends to be a Polyurethane, and it's icky < technical term there > The white beaded stuff, I call it all styrofoam, or bead foam is horrible for carving, great for hot knifing < if it's the high density style> The low density, bead Styrofoam, is really only good to use as filler in projects where you have big voids between areas of Blue/Pink foam that you need filled. You can also use "Great Stuff" polyurethane to fill gaps but it's toxic, messy and if you are not careful, it will expand and tear apart the layers you're trying to fill.
By All Means, stay away from DAP "Touch 'n Foam" this id a great product for certain applications, but it is Latex based and not rigid, Not good for sculpting at all.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MHSTech

MHSTech

Active Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
Location
Ohio
I know a guy that owns a building center, I'll see what I can get. I would have to travel an hour to get to a Home Depot, so that's probably not going to happen.