Saturday, July 2, 2011

Creating a Portable Display Base: Construction (1)

Keeping with the light weight goal, my material for constructing the base will be pink foam.  Since I went with only a 1/4" board, the foam also acts to strengthen the board.  For these steps I grabbed a sanding block, hot wire foam cutter, a razor blade and my trusty hot glue gun. 

I first started out by cutting the front block of pink foam.  When doing this I cut it a little larger then the ultimate size, since I'll be trimming it up in the later stages.  After it was cut to size I took the hot wire cutter and started creating the river banks.

I then took the other side of the foam and repeated the process.  This stage can be sloppy, I'll go through with spackle later in the construction to fill in the gaps and create the rock textures.

Since I want the back portion a level higher, I cut two pieces of foam and used the hot wire cutter to match the piece below. 

At this point I put all the pieces in place and trimmed up the foam.  I proceeded to get the hot glue gun nice and hot and glued the pieces in place on the board. Make sure you apply enough pressure to keep the two parts together while the glue dries and sets. 

Since I left a gap around the outside of the board, I took my hot wire cutter and cut along the outside of the base to be flush with the wood board. 

I then took a sanding block and went around the edge to smooth it down and create a more flush connection of foam and board.  

Before Sanding
After Sanding
When working with foam, it will usually lift up a bit on the edge.  I also want to create a really tight bond and not have any gaps.  Here's a trick to use with the hot glue gun.  You'll notice that the gap is apparent between the foam and the board.

I first start by applying a bead of glue across the gap.  I then take the hot side of the glue gun and slide it across the glue bead flattening it out and sealing the gap.  I repeat this step around the entire outside of the board.  At this point you can then paint it and it will hold up for a long time. 

I've decided for this board I'm going to take it a step further and add wood trim around the outside.  This will be the first time I go this route, honestly you won't have any problems if you use the hot glue trim trick.  At this point I wanted to double-check and make sure my board will fit in the suitcase, and luckily I was correct!  Plenty of space in there.

My next stage of the construction will be working on the bridge section as well as placing the cobblestone, surfacing the cliff face and adding texture to the board.


  1. Simple, effective, great post!

    Where are you finding the Pink foam? Homedepot & Lowes around me don't seem to carry it any longer!

  2. I'm lucky enough that my local Home Depot carries it. Did you try checking in the lumber section? It's usually right in the middle of that.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...