Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Some Links and Inspiration

Having more fun with photoshop, by Lani.

My sister, Lucia, had a birthday party for her daughter and all her wee friends. They wanted Floam (trade mark, copy right, etc.) and she bought quite a lot of the stuff. She liked it alright, the kids had a great time, but she said the stuff costs way too much money. So of course I decide to snoop around and here's what I found:
You can make the stuff yourself. This particular recipe comes from a Creative Commons Website, Beyond Satire.

* 2 tsp. borax (available in laundry aisle at your grocery store)
* 1/2 cup water
* 1/4 cup white glue (we used Elmer's)
* 1/4 cup water
* food coloring (otherwise it will look like cottage cheese)
* an air-tight plastic bag (for mixing and storage)
* 5/3 cups of polystyrene beads (we used 2/3 cups micro-beads and 1 cup bean bag filler)

Floam™ is made with polystyrene (aka Styrofoam™) beads ranging in size from about 1 mm to 1/8 inch in diameter. You can make an approximation of the beads at home by grating polystyrene cups, packing material etc., although we did not try this. We bought two different types of beads:

* Micro-beads (about 1 mm in diameter), which we found at a Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts store. We had to call several stores before finding one that sold them. They can be ordered from Roseann's Dolls.
* 1/8" beads, sometimes called "milk bottle filler" or "bean bag filler", which we bought on eBay but you can also buy through Roseann's Dolls.


1. Dissolve 2 tsp. borax completely in 1/2 cup (4 oz.) water. Set aside.
2. In a separate bowl mix 1/4 cup (2 oz.) white glue and 1/4 cup (2 oz.) water. Optionally add food coloring.
3. Pour the glue solution into the air-tight bag. Then add 3 tbsp. (9 tsp.) of the borax/water solution to the glue solution. Do not mix them yet. You will have some borax/water solution left for another batch.
4. Add the polystyrene beads.
5. Seal bag and knead by hand until thoroughly mixed. Let stand about 15 minutes, and then knead a few minutes more.

This should produce a hard clay well suited for sculpting; for a more malleable clay, use fewer beads and optionally less of the borax solution.


* The polystyrene beads will get everywhere.
* We read but did not try this tip: "If you have access to a chemical supply house, try a 4% solution of polyvinyl alcohol instead of glue for a less rubbery polymer. It will be more transparent & show off color better." Simon Quellen Field added: "Polyvinyl alcohol is easy to get: It's used in artificial tears (and of course, white glue). On that web site you will find a hundred or so synonyms -- looking them up will likely get you better prices."
* You can read safety information about borax.
* The main difference we could detect between this and Floam™ is that ours smells like glue, while theirs smells like chemicals.
* Do not eat.

Do check the website. They have a lot of mother's feedback after they've actually used the recipe!

I made the floam last night with my 3 year old son . It works great he is playing with it now i had to keep adding the borax a tea spoon at a time till i got the right mixture . I did use the easy floam directions and i made a double batch thanks again
Easy Floam

This makes a smaller amount of floam, but is still plenty, and is by far the easiest!

* Put 1 Tablespoon of white glue into a ziploc bag. (Not school glue!)
* Add 3 Tablespoons of water.
* Add food color of choice.
* Add about 3 ounces (one Dixie bathroom cup) foam beads.
* Add 1 teaspoon of Borax (laundry detergent). It must be Borax.*

Knead mixture in bag. If too watery, add more Borax 1/4 teaspoon at a time. Let stand 5 minutes.
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Works Great!
Submitted by Anonymous informant on Tue, 03/07/2006 - 6:24am.

I agree I just did this last night as a little experiment with my sons Cub Scout group and we found that by adding the food coloring after the glue (Elmer's Galactic Glue) and water, we were able to get really vibrant colors!

Another great link from Lore Caldwell is for Bare Books that carries blank books, blank game boards (with game pieces, timers, and spinners), bare puzzles and bare comic books among a lot of other things. The prices seem quite reasonable to this Nova Scotian! Me thinks this may be an art educator and art therapist's dream come true.

Have fun!

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