A DIY Patriotic Topiary & a mysterious giveaway . . .

Do you like a good whodunit? I recently saw this pretty, DIY Patriotic Topiary on Pinterest, and I wondered “whodunit”? So, I clicked through and started to unravel the mystery. This Patriotic, Fabric Topiary was first shared by Anastasia Pollack, a crafts editor and amateur sleuth, on her blog Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers. What? I dug a little deeper, and discovered that Anastasia is the lead character in the crafty mystery series written by Lois Winston.

Pretty summer topiary! Easy to do. CraftsnCoffee.com.

Patriotic Topiary by crafts editor and amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack.

Aha! I was onto something now. Lois and I go way back, and we first met years ago. When I met Lois, she was an award-winning designer of needlework and crafts projects for magazines, craft book publishers, and craft kit manufacturers. Several years ago, Lois began writing award-winning mysteries, too, featuring amateur sleuth and crafter Anastasia Pollack.

Here’s how Anastasia describes herself: “I’m the crafts editor at American Woman magazine; the single parent of two teenage boys and a Shakespeare quoting parrot; caretaker to a semi-invalid, communist mother-in-law from Hell and her demon dog; daughter to a multi-married descendant of the Czars (supposedly); reluctant cat-sitter to Mama’s extremely corpulent white Persian cat; a born Jersey girl; and star of my own amateur sleuth mystery series.”

Win this crafty, mystery series on CraftsnCoffee.com. Enter by Thursday, June 12, 2014. CraftsnCoffee.com. What fun! And an excellent summer beach read. You’ll have a chance to follow Anastasia and her crafty capers by entering today’s Summer Beach Reads Giveaway. One lucky Crafts ‘n Coffee reader will win Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun, Death by Killer Mop Doll, Revenge of the Crafty Corpse, and Decoupage Can Be Deadly. These are the perfect books to tote along, wherever your summer travels take you.

To enter, tell me about a mystery you’d like solved about crafting with STYROFOAM™ Brand Foam. Are you baffled by cutting it? Wondering about painting it? Curious about the available sizes and shapes? Or?? I’ll try to help you solve your mysteries, too. Please post your question by next Thursday, June 12, and I’ll announce the winner on Friday, June 13th. (Don’t you think that Friday the 13th is an appropriate day to announce the mystery winner?)

Be sure to go over to Anastasia’s blog, Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers, and see how she made her Patriotic Topiary.

Pretty summer topiary! Easy to do. CraftsnCoffee.com.

Patriotic Topiary by crafts editor and amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack.

Happy crafting!

P.S. Here’s a clue to get you started!

Sharon

This entry was posted in Fabric Craft, Giveaways, Home Decor, Patriotic Crafts, Topiaries and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

59 Responses to A DIY Patriotic Topiary & a mysterious giveaway . . .

  1. I’ve never crafted with Styrofoam. What an amazing idea, painting it. So acrylic paint is the only type that works? I love the concept of cutting it with dental floss! The only time I tried to cut it I got the chills from the squeaky noise it made. *Shudder*! Thanks for sharing. I accidentally left my comment on the clue page, so here it is again.

    • Sharon says:

      No problem! Give the dental floss technique a try and let me know what you think. I’ve cut a lot of product that way, and it’s like magic. Sharon

  2. cathy stout says:

    Is there a way to transfer photos onto styrofoam

    • Sharon says:

      Hi Cathy, You almost had me stumped with this one. I would not recommend transferring photos directly on to STYROFOAM Brand Foam. However, you can transfer your photos onto paper or fabric, and then attach them to your foam sheet. Or, simply attach your photos directly to the sheet of STYROFOAM Brand Foam. I hope this answers your question. Thanks! Sharon

  3. Tammy H says:

    Hi Sharon, I have read through all your Q & A’s and I know you suggest not using a spray paint but what about if you want to use a sealer to protect the project? What would you suggest as a medium to use?

    • Sharon says:

      Hi Tammy, I recommend Mod Podge as a sealer. Mod Podge now comes in many different formulas, including a weather-resistant outdoor finish. It’s so easy to use, and compatible with STYROFOAM Brand Foam. Sharon

  4. Susan Samuel says:

    How long is styrofoam viable and does this time frame vary as to where it is kept?

    • Sharon says:

      Hi Susan, You should be able to store your STYROFOAM Brand Foam for quite some time! One reason that STYROFOAM Brand Insulation is a superior choice for insulating homes is that it’s long lasting and endures a wide range in temperatures. The same goes for the STYROFOAM Brand Foam we sell for floral and craft projects. Sharon

  5. ellenmcrawley says:

    My question about styrofoam is: Does it come in any colors? I have only ever seen it in white. Seems that with all of the questions/confusion about painting it, making it in colors would make sense (and probably cents too!). Thanks, Ellen Crawley

    • Sharon says:

      Hi Ellen, You’ll also find STYROFOAM Brand Foam in green, and it’s often in the floral aisle of the store. Due to the manufacturing process, making a lot of different colors would be difficult. Fortunately, you can paint it a rainbow of colors, and get just what you need. Thanks for the good question. Sharon

  6. Anne says:

    Will StyroFoam become misshapen or damaged when stored in an attic, particularly on a hot summer day?

    • Sharon says:

      You can store your foam in the attic and it will be just fine. In addition to STYROFOAM Brand Foam for your craft and floral projects, Dow also makes STYROFOAM Brand Insulation. As a building insulation product, it withstands very low and very high temperatures, and so will your floral and craft foam. Sharon

  7. Jake says:

    Is there a particular brand or type of paint which can be applied that will withstand 100 plus degrees of heat. Live in area where temperatures during summer remain in triple digits. Want to create some Geocaching items for discovery. Mysteries sound not only good but educational. Thank you for opportunity.

    • Sharon says:

      Hi Jake, you might look into appliance paints for your geocaching. I don’t know how well that will work for you, but they do withstand high heat. Good luck in your question. Sharon

  8. Mandy L. says:

    I love the projects that you do w/ styrofoam! You make the coolest things! I don’t have a mystery because I have yet to try crafting with it but you have definetely inspired me to try! And I love cozy mysteries and have not read this series yet. Lokks good!

  9. studiorose says:

    I’m learning so much about Styrofoam today! My question is, how does one glue it together? I use Beacon Fabri-Tac and/or Aleene’s Tacky Glue for most of my projects; would either of those work or do you have to use something special?

    • Sharon says:

      Those are both very good adhesives to use for STYROFOAM Brand Foam. When you use a thick, white craft glue, you do need to wait for it to dry. Another option that sets more quickly is a low-temperature glue gun (do not use a high-temperature glue gun, as the heat might melt a portion of the foam). If you’re joining two pieces together, you can also insert toothpicks between the pieces for additional hold. Happy crafting! Sharon

  10. Angie Dyer says:

    This is simply puzzling. It could even be a mystery play including a dinner theater. I have seen some beautiful Christmas tree ornaments created from a simple foam ball and sequins. It is a total mystery as to how these were manufactured with the sequins. Usually there is a ribbon for a hanger and a tassel at the bottom. A great curiosity surrounds these ornaments. I have tried pinning, glueing, knotting, etc. The sequins on a string never stay face up. The initial start and stopping points look like a robber has stolen the orderliness. Instead of total coverage of the foam ball, there are holes and gaps as though the burglar has snuck in and created havoc. Please play detective and help search for the right clues to the finished product! Thank you.

    • Sharon says:

      Hi Angie, We’ve made these Sequin Ornaments before using individual sequins and pins. They’re gorgeous, but they take a very long time to make. By pinning on each sequin individually, you get them just where you want them, face up. The sequin strings would certainly go much faster, if you could get them to sit flat. Do you pin and glue every few sequins? Sharon

  11. Iris Haltom says:

    My question concerns painting also. If you smooth it with paper clay is acrylic paint the best type of paint to use? Thanks for offering the chance to win the wonderful set of books.
    Iris Haltom

  12. Jen.E.Designs says:

    If you poke to many holes in styrofoam, can you patch it up?

    • Sharon says:

      Hi Jen, Sure, and how you do it depends on your plans for your project. You can always simply cover up the holes with paper, fabric, etc. If you’re using your foam piece for a topiary or pomander, you can probably just insert all of your stems in a different location and cover up the first holes. There’s lots of grip and hold left in a re-used shape! For a really smooth surface, coat the ball in a lightweight spackling, let it dry, and sand lightly. I hope this answers your question! Sharon

  13. Debbie Kaste says:

    Will STYROFOAM adhere to vellum or cupcake liners? I have an idea buzzing in the back of my head and wonder if I could attach a half ball to them. Also, what type of glue would I use?

    • Sharon says:

      Hi Debbie, This should work. You can glue your half-ball to the vellum or the cupcake liner with a low-temperature glue gun or a thick, white craft glue. If you use the white craft glue, let it dry before you proceed with your project. I’m curious — what are you making? Be sure to share a photo! Happy crafting. Sharon

  14. Cheryl says:

    My problem with Styrofoam is, why is it so difficult to cut and also to paint….but why oh why does it melt when you use glue on it? I remember having to build the solar system when my daughter was in school. Needless to say it barely resembled the solar system let alone individual planets, it was horrible!! Maybe if I knew the right paint, glue and techniques to use back then it wouldn’t have been so bad. I just remember painting and gluing it and watching it melt right in front of my eyes, boy, I wish fat would melt that fast, lol. It goes without saying I haven’t used much, if any styrofoam in future projects after that disaster for fear of embarrassing myself, wasting money and making more garbage for landfills. Although, the above project looks simple enough and beautiful I think I’m going to keep my promise to myself and stay away from the styrofoam. Enjoy your day!!!

    • Sharon says:

      You’ve come to the right place for more information, and I am so sorry that you struggled with your project. You’re right — a hot-melt glue gun can melt the foam. We recommend a low-temperature glue gun or a thick, white craft glue — either one will work out great. Here are more tips for gluing, painting, cutting, etc. Happy crafting! Sharon

  15. Crafty Shak says:

    If you want different shapes and sizes.. Email the companies that make the Styrofoam. They would be happy to help you and answer questions on using Styrofoam they also have great ideas on making things. I have been using Styrofoam for years…. always ready to learn more so ask the experts…..People that make it……

    • Sharon says:

      Hi, Crafty Shak, thanks so much for stopping in and you’re definitely in the right place! Crafts ‘n Coffee is sponsored by Dow, the only manufacturer of STYROFOAM Brand Foam. If you have a question, I can get an answer for you. I hope you’ll follow along and keep asking questions! Sharon

  16. Vicky G. says:

    I have several questions. First of all, how can you paint it? I thought it would look kind of rustic as a plant holder if I could paint it. Second, is there any way you can get all those little pieces up easier when you cut it? It’s so frustrating to try to get them and they fly every which way! Thanks.

    • Sharon says:

      Hi Vicky, You can paint STYROFOAM Brand Foam with any acrylic craft paint. There are a few spray paints that will work, but you have to read the label very carefully and be sure it’s foam-safe. Many spray paints contain solvents, which will melt the foam. One spray paint that might look nice on your planters is Make It Stone! by Krylon — it’s safe for foam and can be used outdoors, too. I always clean up my little crumbs with a wet rag and a broom, and that seems to work. I hope that works for you, too. Thanks so much for stopping in. Sharon

  17. Nancy D says:

    These books look great! They would make some fun reads poolside! Styrofoam question…..about needle felting on styrofoam. I don’t have a lot of experience needle felting and this could just be something I’m doing wrong. When I’m trying to get the wool to stick to the styrofoam I sometimes crumble it causing a hole in the foam. If its a small ball I’ve pretty much ruined it! Is there a trick to this??

    • Sharon says:

      Hi Nancy, I’m going to check in with two needle felters I know to see if they have suggestions for you. Stay tuned . . . Sharon

      Here’s an update for you Nancy: Designer Patty Schaffer has suggested that you might be over felting. She said that as soon as the roving starts to grab on to the foam, to move your needle and start felting in a new place. Does that sound like a solution that will work for you?

      • Nancy D says:

        Thanks Sharon! I’ll give it a try next time I get out my needles and wool. I do tend to get a little carried away with that needle :)

      • Sharon says:

        You’re welcome! Let me know if this solves the problem, o.k.? Happy crafting! (and felting) Sharon

  18. This is just wonderful and so 4th of July

  19. mirlacca says:

    I’m wondering if you can melt and mold styrofoam? Has anyone tried? (I’d love to win this series–heard great things about it!)

    • Sharon says:

      Hmm, I’ve not heard of this, and I don’t think I’d recommend it. I imagine it gets pretty hot, and it’s really not meant to be melted and molded. Now, you can shape the foam, without melting it, and change the shape that way. You can pinch it, roll it, compress it, cut it, etc. Would that work for you? Sharon

      • mirlacca says:

        Hmmm. I guess it’s not a good idea after all–I just discovered that when it burns it releases toxic fumes. Not a good thing! Maybe I should stick to polymer clay.

        By the way, have you seen the pictures of Maria Lovello’s craft room on Tumblr and Pinterest? It is AMAZING!

      • Angie Dyer says:

        I have not molded foam balls myself.
        I have made cute Barbie doll hats.
        What I did was to melt styrofoam white cups. On a slow oven, I put them top side down on a cookie sheet, 16 at a time. Keep the oven door open a bit and constantly monitor. There were some fumes, so keep the windows open. Kind of like a marshmallow over a cookout fire, they slowly melted into a little white brimmed hat. Not all melted exactly the same, so there were a fun variety.. Let cool. Using a cool glue gun, I decorated each one differently. I used lots of items out of my scrap box – bits of lace, ribbon, little tiny flowers, pearls, rickrack, feathers, and more. Use your imagination. These were part of the decorations at each place setting for a Mother-Daughter banquet at church. Hats were the theme. All the little girls picked up any extra hats to bring home and play with their Barbie dolls..
        Each one was unique and so cute!

      • Sharon says:

        Hi Angie, I’ve heard of this technique, but guess what, those foam cups are a generic foam and not STYROFOAM Brand Foam! Surprised? Here’s more info about our trademark. Sharon

  20. Lynn says:

    An assault with a deadly glue gun? Haha. That makes me laugh.
    I would love to know what sizes and shapes their are and I wish when a store sold styrofoam they would have more shapes and sizes but I suppose for space sake but Walmart sure has the room for more styrofoam products. Hate when I have to keep going to different stores to get what I want but such is the life. I think the 13th. Is a great day to announce the winner. Ha

  21. authorlois says:

    Hi Sharon–
    Serendipity is a beautiful thing! I’m so happy you stumbled across the Patriotic Topiary on Pinterest and reconnected with me. And how generous of you to offer the books in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series to one of your lucky blog readers!

    • Sharon says:

      I’m so glad, too, and you are very welcome! I hope the books arrive in time for me to read them first . . . I’m so excited to offer these books — they’re perfect for my readers. Sharon

  22. Thank you for the clue! Mystery solved and even got more help with using this awesome product!! My brain skipped over the “clue” the first time I read this! LOL

  23. OH MY! This Topiary is marvelous! It would look awesome sitting on the tables at my neighbor’s 4th of July party that I am doing the decorations for!!
    These books look like they would be a wonderful addition to my summer reading list!
    My question for you is: how do I paint StyroFoam so that it doesn’t look clumpy? Would love to have this mystery solved! Thanks for sharing these awesome ideas!

    • Sharon says:

      Hi Barb, you always have so many projects underway! I see that you’ve already solved your own mystery, thank you! Let me know if you make Anastasia’s topiary, and how it turns out for you. Sharon

  24. LisaM6 says:

    Sounds like a fun set of books to read. What a great way to spend the summer…crafting and reading.
    What baffles me the most is cutting the styrofoam balls in half….so they are even. But I know that it shows they are homemade not store bought. It does drive me crazy cutting them.
    Great tut. I am now free to craft since the family is gone. Can’t wait to start. :)

    • Sharon says:

      Woo-hoo! How many days will you have on your own? The best tip I know of is to wrap a rubber band around the center of the ball, draw a scored line right next to the rubber band using a sharp pencil, and then cut through the ball on this line using a serrated knife. Wax the knife blade with an old candle or a bar of soap to help slice through the foam. You might also try cutting through the ball with dental floss, and see if that cuts more cleanly (following the scored line again). I hope this helps! Sharon

  25. Donna O'neil says:

    Does styrofoam melt when you spray paint it?

    • Sharon says:

      Hi Donna, good question! If your spray paint contains solvents, and most do, it will melt the foam. Read the label very carefully to see if it’s foam safe. A few that I know of that are safe for foam are Make It Stone!, Glitter Blast, and Short Cuts (small cans), and all are made by Krylon. Sharon

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