Sunday, March 1, 2009


I'm always on the lookout for different products and things I can use in my creations. This is some fun stuff I thought I'd share with you. It's great if you like making your own props and such.
It's called Balsa-Foam, and is similar to the floral flower foam you stick flowers in, except this is very dense and carveable. I purchased this ages ago, so I don't remember for sure, but I think it came in different sizes and thicknesses.
I've used it several times over the years to make little props for the dolls. You carve it like you would a piece of wood.You can use things to make impressions in it like crumpled foil or lumpy rocks to make rock like textures. I used my excato knife, toothpicks, cuticle tool and anything else that was laying in front of me to make this nifty little headstone for my ghosties. One word of caution, once you make an impression in it it's I suggest you practice first on a small piece to get the feel of it.
Here it is painted. I covered it first in sobo glue to help seal it as it does absorb water. Solvent based paints will seal it good, but I didn't have any. Thick paint will fill in the lines so experiment. I have also used resin after I've carved my design, as this will harden and seal the whole piece. Here,..... the, "Oh so theatrical Miss Pennythistle", has donned her Victorian Mourning veil, and carries her wilted flowers, to weep over the tiny phantomly grave of the unknown "Our Darling" Oh Miss "P" you are such a mournful site...we weep for you!!!

I've used the balsa foam for the rock base on this earlier ghostie, "Tiny Veronica Carey, who was mistaken for a blueberry.... She was eaten for lunch... swallowed down with fruit punch, by a nearsighted Ogre named Harry!
The Balsa foam can be found at hobbystores like the ones that carry model railroads and airplanes. I've not ever seen it at the regular craft stores.
Hope this gives you something new to explore if you didn't already now about it.
Creepy creating!!
Happy hauntings, Gail,... and the sorrowful Miss "P"!


Sue said...

That stuff is SO cool! hmmmm, I will have to check and see if I can get it in Canada (if not I'm sure that I can purchase it online somewhere). Gail, thank you so much for sharing, I had no clue that there was such a product out there.



gulle hexan said...

thanx for woderful pictures.

i wish.. you could have tanslator to my language..*swedish*
i have very dificoult to understand it all..that you writhe.. but i do want to..

best regards

Mealy Monster Land said...

Gail, wow, that is great stuff. I am going to have to check out the hobby store to see if I can get my hands on it and experiment! thanks for sharing

Maritza Gulin said...

That is very cool! Have you tried using expandable foam (you can get it at the hardware store, it's to seal up holes and cracks) for making stuff or sticking stuff together or making molds? I use it at work but on very very large sculptures of styrofoam but have wondered about using it for dollmaking to make props and stands. It would be a little like sculpting in shaving cream but it sets up quickly. Hmmm...I know what I'd doing at work tomorrow!

3rdEyeMuse said...

you are a wealth of information, inspiration and all around incredibleness! :)

Yve said...

Wow, that looks like hours of fun! I wondered about those model railway hobby shops and if they would have anything good to try...kind of a MALE preserve though, I will have to make myself a beard and go in disguise. thanks Gail :o)

FairiesNest said...

Oh that looks marvelous! I love new products to play with, thanks!

Enchanted Productions by Joyce Stahl said...

Eeeee heee hee! A new toy!

I've gotta check this stuff out!

It looks wickedly fun! Thanks for sharing Gail!

Also...tell Miss "P" the Victorian Mourning veil is a nice touch!

Haunted Hugs,

Studio At Crow Haven Farm said...

What fun is this...thanks so much for sharing...I'm running off to Blicks to get some of that fun stuff! Hope you had a great weekend, looks like you did! LOL

Sonia said...

I am going to look for this balsafoam.....very cool gail thank you.


sonia ;)

Gail Lackey said...

Glad to give you guys something fun to try. I'm sure you can find it one line Sue, I think it's a pretty common thing for model builders.
Yes, Yve, I've found some great things in the model railway shops. I also discovered a treasure trove of stuff in the fishing sections of the sporting goods store while waiting for my husband to do the guy stuff!
And Maritza, I did buy some of the expandable foam years ago and it's still sitting in the studio as I forgot how I was suppose to use it! LOl! I had seen someone use it for molding on one of those tv diy programs and it looked waay cool. I'll have to dig it out and experiment!
Thanks all..and have fun!
Sweet nightmares, Gail

Oops! Desperate Blogger~ said...

My studio might fall through the ceiling with any more supplies...but this looks light enough to try! :-) Thanks for sharing all your knowledge!

Creepy Margaret said...

Cool product, thanks for the tip. I'm spending too much time blogging and not enough creating today.

Chicken Lips said...

Wow - that stuff is great! I'm gonna go out and get me some! Thanks for sharing Gail.

Zoya said...

Thats kinda I had just pulled my balsa foam out to create a base for my latest ( Severity McPherson). Didnt realize you could get it at hobby stores, I ordered mine through Dick Blick. I guess great minds think alike..teehee.
Zoya ( I love it that Mrs P is so adaptable with her outfits!!)

Odddollz by Jacqui said...

Looks like super cool stuff,,, gotta get me some:)
Thanks a ton Gail for sharing this with us:)

ZOmbie Hugs


Yovanka Black said...

Props are always so fun to make and they really add a lot a doll's story and/or personality!

The balsa foam technique is so helpful.. thank you so much for sharing :)


Amy Short said...

That stuff is amazing and you are amazing cause look what you created with it! I love that you are a sharing artist cause so many aren't. Hope Momma is well.


Sprite said...

Hi Gail :)
That's really cool stuff thanks so much for sharing! Hope everything is great on your end!

love and hugs,

LoopyBoopy said...

I remember this stuff, not sure where I used it. Thanks for the post, I've been thinking I need some props and and you've inspired me to seek this stuff out again:)

Miss P always cracks me up. She's just so into herself and I love that:)

Justus said...

Gail, this is so fabulous! I'm excited to try to use some of this (it seems a wonderful way to create grave markers!!) Thank you so very, very much for sharing~!!

Designs By CK said...

COOL and what a great craft medium!

I'd never heard of it before. You definitely have gotten great results from it!

Chris (-:

julietk said...

Thankyou for telling us about the balsa stuff. Juliet

Gail Lackey said...

Glad to have given you guys something new to experiment with! I'm always searching for things to try. Now if I just had the time to experiment with everything!! thanks Zoya, glad to know you can find it at Blicks.
Hugz, Gail

Pariah said...

Whoa she is way cool!!! Very talented lady you. I have to say I loved the poem too!