Sourcing high density polystyrene foam for block making

I have seen some classes including from Judith M. using a special kind of foam for making hat blocks. Does anyone know where to buy the right kind of foam for this type of project? When I search online I get a little confused between foam used by builders as insulation and foam for model making by architechts (which is pricier)- but maybe even smoother and easier to work with? If anyone has experience sourcing or working with either type, I would appreciate the information.


Corina Haywood

Tags: Blocks, blocks, carving, foam, hat

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If you are in the US. They sell it at home depot. Here is the link

This what they use in the class. They use knives but it is very messy to cut. A heated styrofoam cutter will reduce the mess greatly. Let me know if you need any more information

I think I have some of this in the garage :)  Thanks for the information Shara. That's very helpful xx

I too would be interested in this product....but what is it called in UK? and where to buy it from as inexpensive as possible please?

I am not sure what the equivalent might be in the UK but any high density insulating foam should work  I would think.

Go to Wickes in the UK and you will get it!  You will be spoilt for choice there high density foam come in all colours but its firm to the touch!  Do not take the soft thin slightly bouncy type price starts from £6 for a long thick one and I teach block making to my students with it!

1 triple which white

2 brick block one in blue or green

I got my roofer to leave me the insulation foam he had over when he did my flat roof, and have experimented with that. I have a thiner one and a thicker one, just about the right size for a crown.

I got a knife from DIY to cut plaster board, I found the carving knife a litle too light. I cut a rough shape, then use sandpaper ( whilst wearing a mask even outside), to refine the shape. it messy stuff, I wash it under the tap and then use PVA glue to seal it. 

My milliner friend has given me some of the high density foam her husband makes her blocks from.  It is blue and about 2" thick.  He advised me to stick layers on top of each other to get to the height required for making deep blocks.

Also suggested using a fret saw for cutting the shape.  I have made a small 'fill in' block to fill a deep point in a hatinator shape.....where I wanted a more rounded shape.  Like you Jain I used a serrated knife and then sandpaper outside wearing a mask.  I have not done this but someone else recommended trying a hot wire?!

When I have time I aim to try other shapes.

and we have found a place in Sydney, haven't we Marion, that has this, although yet to check it out

Hi Corina,
I'm coming in a bit late on this but I have made several hat blocks from the high density foam from House of Adorn.
It's pretty easy to use, and versatile for shaping.
Once I work out how to add an image here, I'll post some of the blocks.

Couldn't add image from the ipad. Okay, so this is the foam. Regards, Gen

yes, this is the same stuff from Sydney

where can you get it from Ruth?


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