Tradition + Technology

Foam Sculpture Horse Statue'

Foam Sculpturing is one of the most popular mediums for sculpturing – an art form that produces fast and awesome looking sculptures.  Whether for trade shows, museums, theme parks and attractions, retail stores, office complex's, lobby displays, faux landscape, or special events; foam sculptures can provide a realistic awe-inspiring physical model of the original design.  These foam sculptures can be themed models, statues, animals, creatures, murals, props, architectural, dioramas, letters/numbers, special foam shapes, or unique displays.  They can bring-to-life a creature and it's surroundings, relive your favorite movie scene, attract visitors at a tradeshow, or create that magical environment you have always wanted to participate in.  You are only limited by imagination.

Today's technologies are making more impressive next generation models.  Combining tried-and-tested technologies of foam sculpting and cutting, along with new 3D printing capabilities and new electronics are allowing model makers to build some pretty awesome sculptures.

Features and Benefits

Foam Sculpture Greek Statue
  • Professional Creations – We have a team of designers, artists, model-makers, painters, air-brushers, sculptors, carpenters, and welders to fabricate that imaginative, immersive, and experiential foam sculpture.
  • No project is too large or too small, from a 2' small statue to a large 50' tall animal sculpture. If you can design it, we can create a physical model of it.  If you can't design it, we have a team of design professionals who can.  We can work with preparing 3D models from scans, drawings, photos, and even napkins.
  • Did we mention, we have 60,000 square feet of production facilities in Utah, including the largest capacity of full-color 3D printing in the world.
  • Technologies include Foam Fabrication, Hot Wiring, CNC Cutting, Laser Cutting, Welding, and 6 different 3D Printing technologies for rapid prototyping or production models.
  • Foam themed models, foam letters, foam numbers, foam architectural models, foam props, can all be used to help expand what you are trying to build with foam sculptures.
  • Portability and/or mobility may be an issue, especially with trade show displays.  We have the team that can create your trade show foam sculptures including custom electronics, lighting, and sound.
  • Foam sculpting may use other techniques including epoxy clay sculpting, molds, and 3D printing to develop the best sculpture.
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Technology and Materials

Foam Sculpture 2018
  • We use foam fabrication technologies such as CNC Cutting, Hot Wires, Laser Cutting, Hot Knifing, and Sculpting.
  • With 3D printing technology, you aren't limited to straight lines and boxes.  A 3D printer can easily create detailed, complex shapes. We use six different 3D printing technologies using different materials including sandstone-like, digital plastic and UV-cured resin.  The type of physical end-product determines which material will produce the best results.  We can help you choose the material that is best for your project. Resolution on our printers is finer than a human hair.  Our color 3D printers can print in full-color (over 750,000 variations of color) for awe-inspiring reality.
  • Our in-house spray booth gives us flexibility in different types and grades of paint and finishing capabilities.

Pricing

The cost of foam sculptures is based on the volume of materials (size of the model), type of materials, the time it takes to create the 3D design, production labor, and installation time and materials, as well as other specific elements unique to the project.  Each model is bid individually and the best way to determine cost is to contact us and let us bid your project.

Get a Quick Estimate

Workflow

Whiteclouds foam sculpture creation workflow

Gallery of Usage Examples

Common Questions

What file type is required to make a foam sculpture?

We work with all architectural CAD programs and modeling programs including AutoCAD, Revit, Chief Architect, ArchiCAD, Maya, 3DS Max Design, Zbrush, and Sketchup, just to name a few.  If you design in 3D, we will start with your 3D files.  If you have 2D blueprints and elevations, or artist's sketches, we can build a display/model from these files as well.  If all you have is an idea or a napkin drawing, we can start with that.

What technology do you use for foam sculptures?

It can be a number of different technologies, individually or combined.  These range from 3D Foam, 3D Printing, CNC Cutting, laser cutting, laser etching, casting, molding, sculpting, painting, airbrushing, laminating, vinyl printing, and woodworking – all meant to produce highly engaging models that fit your exact needs.

What is the material used?

We match the correct material and fabrication process to your requirements in terms of presentation, size, and transportability.  We fabricate in our model shop using different types of foam, wood, metal, resins, and acrylics.  We can also 3D print in full-color sandstone, uv-cured resin, plastic, rubber-like acrylic, and nylon.

What is the largest foam sculpture you can make?

There is no limit to the size of model.  Transportability will be your only concern on an extremely large foam sculpture.

What is the turnaround time for a foam sculpture?

This depends on the features of the model itself as well as the scale of the model.  We usually ask for six to eight weeks from the time we take the order to when you will receive the sculpture.  Large projects can be four to six months or longer.  We understand that sometimes deadlines are tight and we can accommodate rush orders.

What features can a foam sculpture have?

Besides the physical 3D foam sculpture with the proper color and appearance, you can elect to ask for special lighting, sound, and movement.

If I want a second sculpture is it cheaper?

Our pricing is based on the fabrication costs and the time it takes to prepare your design.  The second sculpture is less money because the design portion is complete.

Do you have a question we didn‘t answer? Don't hesitate to contact us at 1-385-206-8700 or sales@whiteclouds.com.

Worldwide Delivery

WhiteClouds has delivered models around the world.

Steps to Create a Foam Sculpture

Foam Sculpture of a Giant Robot
There are many steps in creating a high-quality foam sculpture.  We will cover four of these steps at a very high-level.
  1. Choosing the correct foam: Most foam sculptors use polystyrene foam, specifically EPS or expanded polystyrene foam.  Some sculptors will use XPS or extruded polystyrene foam (sometimes called "blue foam" or "pink foam") commonly known by it's most popular brand name, Styrofoam – it can be purchased in home improvement stores.  We would recommend using EPS.  These can be purchased in sheets and glued together to make thicker pieces, or can be purchased in very large blocks, or everything in-between.  You can easily insert dowels, PVC, or metal rods into pieces to give them extra support in holding them together.  Polystyrene foam comes in densities ranging from 1 lb to 3 lb. 2 lb density works really well for the best compromise in affordability (lower density is cheapest), ease of use (lower density is easier to cut and manipulate), and durability (higher density allows you to carve finer details).
  2. Sculpting the foam: Most sculptors draw a grid system on the foam before starting the sculpting process.  This grid system can be done a number of different ways - free-hand drawing, using a maquette (scale model) as a guide, printing scaled up gridlines from a 3d design and applying them to the foam, or projecting a lighted image from a 3d design of a model onto the foam and then tracing the model.  Once you are ready to begin sculpting, the Polystyrene foam can be cut with a heated wire (except for cutting through glued pieces), cut with a band saw, carved on a CNC cutter, or can be sculpted with larger electric chain saws for the heavy cutting.  Then you can do finer sculpting and sanding with the use of many different types of small hand tools such as "Dremel" tools, die grinders, electric knifes, handsaws, snap-blade knives, saws, rasps, surforms and many others.
  3. Applying textures to the foam: You can glue smaller pieces of foam (that were easier to duplicate or carve as a stand-alone) onto the existing model.  You can also add acrylic monomer, for example, to emulate wrinkled skin.  Using epoxy clay allows you to add/carve extreme detail into your foam model that would have been very difficult directly carving into foam.
  4. Finish work: There are a lot of methods to finish off the project depending on a number of factors related to project requirements, such as final durability, weather-proofing, temperature, mobility, strength, and flexibility.  Typically, you need to seal the surface and apply protective coatings. These finishes may be combinations of painting, air-brushing, flat-to-glossy finishes, natural environment finishes, soft-shell and hard-shell coatings, sealers, and glassing.  These can be from latex, acrylic, urethane, polyurea, epsilon, styrospray, polyurethane, and many others.
Another option is to just specify to WhiteClouds what you would like done, and we would be glad to do it for you.