Unlike the hard-setting expanding foams used in home construction projects, flexible expanding polyurethane foams set into satisfyingly squishable, twistable, and bendable 3D shapes. Artists, cosplayers, and crafters alike use this kind of foam to create all kinds of three-dimensional objects. These foams come in a variety of formulations, but they are all easy to work with. Some foams start as two separate liquids that need to be mixed before molding, but others can simply be poured from their freshly-opened containers into molds. This article covers just three of the many ways to use flexible expanding foams.
Since 2017, when squishies came to the United States from Japan, these satisfying toys have taken schoolyards and toy collector's shelves by storm. Squishies can be surprisingly expensive, and some of them may be made with unsavory ingredients like artificial fragrances and dimethylformamide. One of the best and safest ways to enjoy beautiful and satisfyingly squishable toys is to make them yourself. All you need is a silicone mold, fabric paint, and slow-rise flexible expanding foam. Many slow-rise foams come in two parts, so make sure to mix them as well as possible before pouring the mixture into your mold. Once the foam is completely set, paint the foam with fabric paint to create your own custom squishy.
Recreating sci-fi or fantasy armor and fantasy models from videogames and anime series is one of the more challenging aspects of being a cosplayer. In the past, cosplayers would have to carefully cut and shape delicate foam pieces into complex designs. Using an expanding foam compound that balances low weight and high strength, anyone can create intricate and story-accurate breastplates, shoulder pads, dragon wings, masks, and more. After making custom silicone molds, cosplayers can create many duplicates of each one of their cosplay outfits to sell at conventions, too. If you want to do this yourself, just make sure to keep a flat, sturdy object like a board on hand that more than covers your mold to apply pressure to the foam as it expands. This way, every tiny detail in your custom mold will show up in the final foam piece.
Custom Furniture Cushions
Woodworkers and furniture restorers face a common problem: creating custom furniture cushions. In the past, only upholstering companies could reliably create custom cushions that looked professional and felt comfortable to sit on. With flexible expanding foam, anyone can create a perfectly sized cushion for their antique or custom-built furniture. Simply create a mold in the right size and shape with either silicone or plastic-lined wood, and pour in a relatively rigid expanding foam product. Once the foam has cured, shape it if needed using a knife and cover it with upholstery fabric.