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Substitute for styrofoam?

I'm making a cell model for Biology, and I want to know if there's a material that has the same consistency of styrofoam, but without all the holes and stuff. It needs to be cuttable.

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Not sure what you're asking, but what you may be thinking of as "Styrofoam" is actually only one brand name. There are various types of polystyrene foams that you can buy at craft stores as well as hardware stores though.

    At craft stores, you'll find the "expanded" type of ps foam that's often white and makes a "chink" noise if you tap it, and you'll also find the (usually green) floral bricks, and you'll also find more solid looking shapes (without holes and don't chink --but believe that's also expanded ps foam). And there's always the large sheets of packaging foam that comes around electronics/etc in their boxes.

    At home improvement stores, you'll also find large sheets of "extruded" ps foam being sold as various kinds of insulation. Extruded ps foam is denser than the expanded type, and is preferred by "sculptors" since it can usually achieve greater detail. It may come in colors like pink or blue too. If you want a thicker piece than the sheet (1-2" usually), you can cut pieces from the larger sheet then stack them together (with glue) to make almost any size "block" you can image...then shape that.

    All of those can be cut with serrated knives or hot tools (like "hot wire" tools).

    And they can be further shaped and smoothed with anything rough like metal files, rasps, sandpaper, and even usually with another piece of the same material with a broken edge.

    You can read more about the various types of ps foam, as well as how to cut/glue/shape them and get links to lessons/examples/etc from this page: ...(under Plastics) click on *Types of foam* and also on *Shaping/Cutting*

    Other materials that would be cuttable though (at least before they harden) would be air-dry clays and polymer clays. (Air-dry clays dry in the air overnight, and polymer clays harden by curing with heat usually in an oven at 250F or so for 10-45 min depending on thickness).

    Those could also be shaped the way you want before hardening so wouldn't actually require "cutting" in the same sense.

    ..Air-dry clays come in various smoothnesses, from high-quality ones like Creative Paperclay (or homemade "bread clay" or "salt dough" clay), to medium-quality ones like Crayola's AirDry Clay, to lesser quality ones like Model Magic and PlayDoh, and even Celluclay (have to add water to that one), etc....their weights will differ depending on whether grains/flours or paper products are in the ingredients.

    ..Polymer clays are very smooth and will take very precise detail (and won't shrink at all). They include brands like Premo, FimoClassic, KatoPolyclay, and Cernit...and somewhat lower quality ones --especially in thin areas of the baked items-- like FimoSoft and the 3 main Sculpeys (Sculpey III, SuperSculpey, and original Sculpey in that order). Polymer clays are actually plastics.

    ...Any of those clays can be made lighter weight by using a lightweight armature underneath, like scrunched aluminum foil, paperclays, etc (or even be made hollow).

    (If you're interested in polymer clay, check out the rest of my polymer clay "encyclopedia" site for all kinds of info/lessons on using it, from the Table of Contents page: (scroll down, then use alphabetical


    Diane B

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    There is a "popcorn" made of corn starch that is soluble and degradeble that is used for packing peanuts.. Also, popcorn has been used for packing Styrofoam is recyclable, you just have to find the market. We were recycling styrofoam trays from our school until we lost the market.

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  • Dude, whats your deal with styrofoam?

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  • ARTmom
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    What about foam core- it is flat but easy to build with-I don't know how you are building it.

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