Any Ideas For Reuse of Large Sheets of Styrofoam?

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Not sure if this is the correct forum in which to ask the question, but after having numerous pieces of furniture shipped to me, I now have a lifetime supply of styrofoam sheets and blocks. They look as though they should be useful for something. Does anyone out there have any ideas as to how I might reuse or recycle them?

Most are sheets, 3-4ft squares about 2" thick, clean and in "perfect" condition. There are also a number of blocks of various sizes, 4"x6"x10-30" or so and a few larger "trough" shapes roughly 1ftx10"x4ft. As they are taking up quite a bit of space, I will need to either find a use for them or throw them away soon. There is no styrofoam recycling in my area, and I hate to hoist so much styrofoam onto the environment - that and, as I said, I can't help thinking they must be useful for something, craft project, garden art, something.

Please help me brainstorm. All ideas greatly appreciated.

West Pottsgrove, PA(Zone 6b)

I had to laugh when I read this. I used to work in a shop that built parade floats (among other things like convention displays, signage for stores, scenery, etc.) We used styrofoam all the time. Glue the flat pieces together and you have a big block that you can carve or cut into just about anything. We had a big "saw table" to cut the stuff. It was Nichrome wire (like in a toaster) connected to a transformer, and you could cut the stuff like butter. Obviously, you can cut it with anything, but the hot wire saw cut neatly. You can carve shapes into it easily with a wire brush. When the desired shape was achieved, it was brushed with liquid latex to preserve it.
Halloween's coming, who knows what kind of props it could make? Grave stones, bats, a giant hat... maybe cut it into big letters for the homecoming parade...GO Gamecocks! or ?

DFW area, TX(Zone 7b)

Christmas is coming. Make some houses for under the tree.
Still plenty of time to paint them and put lights inside.

Starkville, MS

Gingerbread house!!! Shrubs and trees could be made out of the smaller pieces along with Hansel and Grelel, or whatever children you fancy. A Nativity set could be a good possibility. Meanwhile, there's always Halloween witches and spiders and Thanksgiving turkeys that need to have a creative mind going. You obviously have the creative mind, or this thread would not have been started!

Have styrofoam - will create!

Hulbert, OK(Zone 7a)

Too funny that you posted this thread. I've had three very large sheets of styrofoam
for some time now, sitting in our shop. I keep moving the darn things around, not sure
what to do with them. As I am fall cleaning, I decided today was the day to do something
with the darn things besides move them.

So, I gently nailed them to the ceiling in the shop. They are, after all, only styrofoam, so
it only took a couple little nails in each corner.

There they are if I ever think of anything to do with them. LOL.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Wow!!! You "guys" are INCREDIBLE! When I posted this question, I expected to hear something along the lines of "What, are you crazy? Toss the stuff". Still, I could not get beyond the nagging feeling that their had to be a use for such nice big sheets and blocks of styrofoam. Above all I knew from prior experience that if such a use did exist, you folks on DG's would know it.

These are fabulous ideas. They exceed my expectations. I hope that I will be able to find time before Halloween to make some of those grave stones and such. I've been wanting to put some goolies out to "scare" the trick or treaters so that sound wonderful.

The only problem left was 'where to put the stuff' - because right now I have a formal dining room full of it - not a good look really. Now I can go out and tack the sheets to the garage walls (soundproofing and storage).


The Woodlands, TX(Zone 8b)

After googling and finding so many ideas, I want to go out and get some!

Winnipeg, MB(Zone 4a)

Here is a link for the gingerbread house:,1801,HGTV_3115_1373022,00.html

How about cutting the thicker pieces into snowflakes and putting light in it. I think I remember someone on the watergarden forum using the big pieces to help create his waterfall.

:) Donna

Sand Springs, OK(Zone 7a)

they will insulate garage or out building , i heard not to good for
living area ,in case of fire fumes very toxic

West Pottsgrove, PA(Zone 6b)

Tazzy, you're right. The white stuff is very toxic when it burns. I guess the blue and pink styro is treated, or it's different material. Love the flower link fly girl. I'm gonna look at the gingerbread now

Payneville, KY(Zone 7a)

That kind of styrofoam is wonderful for sending perishables overnight to someone :) Just cut to size of box :)


Sumner, WA(Zone 8a)

We reuse styrofoam sheets in the garden by placing them under pumpkins. It prevents the pumpkins from getting soft/squishy on the bottom.

Sumner, WA(Zone 8a)

Found these on the stuff!

Styrofoam hummer:

Styrofoam seedling holder:

Scott, LA(Zone 8b)

Try to break them up into small nuggets and use them for drainage in the bottom of your flower pots. If you can find a way to break them up even smaller stir them up in your potting soil or compost for drainage, like vermiculite. I like recycling any way I can, so whatever is left over after you decorate with the larger piece think dirt.

DFW area, TX(Zone 7b)

LOVE the hummer !!! I want one !

Hughesville, MO(Zone 5a)

We use thinner sheets of it to put into windows in the winter to keep the cold out and heat in. Thicker sheets would do a better job of insulating. Sometimes I cut to fit each piece of glass, other windows get the whole frame filled in. I take some of them out during the day and put them back at night. A good sharp knife will cut thru most of it rather easily.

Waynesboro, MS(Zone 8a)

Some time ago I built a raft by sandwiching thick sheets between 2 sheets of marine plywood.I then anchored it in the middle of the pond It madean ideal diving and sunning platform. The kids really liked it.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Great idea! Wow! And now that you brought up use as a floatation device, all kinds of variations on that theme seem plausible. Good thinking!

I am a amazed at both the diversity of suggestions given here and the range of applications for styrofoam.

BTW, fly_girl, after you mentioned that you wanted to get some foam (and I sure wish I could send you some - need a truck, not a box), I checked ebay and found that there are actually people (plural mind you) selling sheets and blocks of the stuff on ebay. Clearly, it must be very useful stuff.

Waynesboro, MS(Zone 8a)

I am surprised no one mentioned that florist use them to anchor silk flower stems in a vase

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 8b)

Thanks scutler.....I think it would be fun to carve animal shapes out of them for the garden and paint. I think they would last a long time, if not forever.

Hughesville, MO(Zone 5a)

I forgot to add that if you don't mind cleaning up the mess, many cats love to sharpen their claws on it.

Jonesboro, GA(Zone 7b)

Lol- leaflady - and you must test the type of paint you use - some will simply dissolve the foam, use a water base for best results.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

There are a ton of things you can do with it but if space is an issue donate it. Any community theater group or high school should want it and if you have any old paint send that along too. Holly

Scottsdale, AZ

tonight I think I would use it as a wind-break for my hibiscus. We're going down into the 20's with gale force winds (well for the desert they're gale force) and my nibiscus is young, all green no wood.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

I guess I'm a little too late to save your hibiscus, but have you tried putting containers (gal milk work well) of water around them (close) to create a wall of "insulation". The sun heats the water by day. I'm told this works well. Also piling mulch/leaves around it as high as possible (perhaps held in place by wire as described in literature on rose care) helps. Hope you hibiscus made it.

Lots of great ideas here.

Hulbert, OK(Zone 7a)

Funny I noticed this thread again.

The winter sun comes into our office SO bright that we
can't see, so we propped a big sheet of styrofoam against
the window to block some of the bright light.


Pinellas Park, FL(Zone 9b)

If you're into propagating cuttings, you can cut holes large enough to support the cuttings with 2-3 in below and float them on top of water, especially if you use an air bubbler below. I do this on top of aquariums.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Wow! So many wonderful ideas here. Thanks so much everyone. More and better ideas than I ever imagined.

Wuvie, I can't read my computer screen in upstairs office in early AM due to sun. I even dragged a 6ft folding screen up there but it didn't help; I could never get it in the right place to block the light. I even have blinds but they don't cover the half round window above. What a great (and quick) idea to use the foam sheets.

leaflady, I might revisit your idea about insulating windows. I'm too lazy to move foam every time I open/close windows but it just occurred to me that a 1" sheet of foam (cut to fit) between window and blinds would be quite unobtrusive in those windows I rarely open - like the MBR windows that face the neighbors house. Good idea!

So glad I asked this question (and you guys responded). To think I almost tossed the stuff. This stuff is turning out to be far more useful than I ever imagined. Just found this link (don't think anyone posted it yet):

For those who might be looking for foam or wishing you had more, I found this link regarding where to find free foam sheets interesting, especially as all of my stash came from furniture packaging on items shipped to me:

This stuff is gold. Who knew? Oh, that's right, YOU did!

Central FL, FL(Zone 9b)

I'm so glad this thread was bumped! I'd meant to post some photos of how I used this material, but I forgot all about it.

We removed living room door facings and replaced them with foam which was then covered with sand-textured paint. The doors themselves were replaced with draperies, so now they suit the exotic style of the room. I also created a raised design for the fireplace surround. In the guest bathroom, I outlined the windows with foam for the same effect as around the doors. No one has ever guessed that my exotic stucco trim is really styrofoam.

When the light is right, I'll get photos.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Wow, biv, can't wait to see photos of that! (I'm a little concerned about the part around the fireplace, however. Could that be a fire hazard? Toxic fume hazard? I'm sure it is beautiful but wouldn't want your family to get hurt.)

The Dow corning link above has instructions (and photos) for some decorative "shelves", cornices, and other architectural items. Nothing as big and elaborate as what you mentioned, but the ideas could easily be expanded. Hmm, I have some windows around which I'd like to add trim...and I have lots of s'foam... Photos, biv, photos.

Central FL, FL(Zone 9b)

A view of my "Moroccan" fireplace with the foam surround coated in textured paint, stained with oil-based woodstain. In six years, it's never gotten hot enough to suffer any damage, so I'm not worried. The carved wood mantle is a very old and weathered piece from Java.

Thumbnail by bivbiv
Central FL, FL(Zone 9b)

A close-up of the very rustic texture. The light-colored streak is where nature took its course with what seemed to be some type of chemical reaction between the stain and the paint.

Thumbnail by bivbiv
Central FL, FL(Zone 9b)

Guest bathroom windows trimmed out in faux stucco...again, foam covered in textured paint. This bathroom is known as The Casbahth. :) The lower part of the walls were beyond ugly: mauve tile from 1948. They've been covered with textured paint and then colored with water-based woodstain. The border was stamped on with stain.

Thumbnail by bivbiv
Central FL, FL(Zone 9b)

When I did the window and door facings (which were done after the fireplace), I rounded off the edges with a file. I really prefer the rounded edges and am sorry I didn't do that with the fireplace surround. But I just didn't feel like taking it off and doing it all over again, so I left it.

Central FL, FL(Zone 9b)

"Stucco" door surround. The color doesn't show up particularly well here, but it's slightly darker than the wall color.

Thumbnail by bivbiv
Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

bivbiv, those are fabulous. That fireplace surround is particularly awesome! Thanks for the great ideas and for showing us the photos of your handywork.

I used to think I was creative, but the more I hear the ideas you folks come up with the more I realize what creativity really is...I am amazed at the plethera of ideas...

and, bivbiv, your use of styrofoam just blows me away!

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Biv, you did a good job.

All that technique is typical of how they do stucco exteriors over shaped foam. Dryvit comes to mind as a brand.

Central FL, FL(Zone 9b)

Thank you, glad you like my "stucco."

Darius, I'm thinking of doing stucco surrounds for the outside of my windows; and if I do, I plan to use foam under it. This house has shutters which I've never liked. I'd prefer for the outside to give a hint of what's inside.

I'm an interior designer, and I have a lot of fun doing my own home because I'm braver than my clients. :)

Btw, I'm seeing yellowish tones on the fireplace close-up, but it has no yellow at all.

Ewing, NE

Here is what I did with strofoam. Im into Safari decorating,and wanted a mask, but didnt want to pay the price. It turned out great, but pic doesnt do it justice. Linda

Thumbnail by lindawin58
Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Very nice, Linda, thanks for sharing it with us. Those masks can be quite pricey. Looks like an excellent alternative.

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