How to Glitter styrofoam centerpieces & crafts
Hello! My name is Mayo Pardo.
I’ve been designing and selling foam centerpieces on the internet for several years now. The advice I offer here will help you get your projects done quicker, and they’ll look better with less effort from you.
In this guide I will answer the second most common question I receive –
How do I GLITTER styrofoam centerpieces?
You can use this guide to help you apply glitter to any kind of foam crafts-
I just happen to sell a lot of foam centerpieces,
so most of my customers are interested in centerpieces.
Here’s some examples of glittered centerpieces…
if you want to see other examples of custom made centerpieces just check out
I have found two methods to glitter styrofoam or insulation foam like you might find at the big Home Center kinds of stores or your local lumber yard. Before discussing these methods, first some general info to help you get prepared.
You’ll need newspaper or brown grocery bag paper. Lay the paper down onto your work surface -
kitchen table or whatever you’re working on. The paper will catch and hold the excess glitter
which falls off your centerpiece while you shake on the glitter. After glittering your centerpiece,
you turn the centerpiece over and lightly tap on it a couple times to get the excess glitter to fall off.
The glitter falls onto the newspaper. Then you set the centerpiece aside to dry. You then lift each side of the newspaper so it forms a U shape and pour the extra glitter back into your glitter container so you can use it on your next item.
You’ll need adhesive. This can be paint or glue. You can use white glue like Elmer’s glue or school glue.
You will need to dilute the glue with water (details below). You’ll need the right kind of paint if you are painting AND glittering. The paint will be used instead of glue. You want to use water based LATEX house paint or acrylic craft paints.
If you’re painting, you’ll want to have your paint, brushes and rollers ready.
A clean up rag or paper towels would be handy too. If you’re not painting and only putting on glitter,
you’ll still need a small trim brush or artist brush about 1/2″ wide and a 3″ trim roller with a 1/4″ short nap.
(The “nap” is the surface of the paint roller) You can use small rollers with a longer nap but they tend to
hold more paint and glue than you need and this sometimes causes it to drip down the edges of your projects.
This method assumes you want to paint certain parts of your centerpieces (or crafts), and glitter other parts.
Be sure and read my guide on “How to paint styrofoam and builders foam craft projects” to avoid making a disastrous mistake.
If you follow the sequence of what you do first, what you do next, it will make your project easier to do.
First get your work area set up with the newspaper and other supplies mentioned above.
Next (assuming you are going to paint the back side and the edges the same color), and put glitter on the front surfaces only. Using a small foam brush or a small trim brush, paint the edges first. Using a brush helps you get paint into the corners of the design.
Large straight or curvy areas can sometimes be painted faster with the small 3″ trim roller.
Now lay the centerpieces onto the newspaper with the back side facing up, and paint the backs using the 3″ trim roller. If your paint is a light color, you may need to apply 2 or 3 coats so that it’s not as transparent.
The builders foam panels come with writing on the back side. You will want to paint over this writing, or sand it off with fine sandpaper. If you paint over it, let it dry in between each coat. Take your time and it will look better.
As your paint is drying, move your centerpieces around the newspaper slightly so that they do not stick to the paper.
Now that the edges and backs are painted and dry, you can use more of the same paint and paint the front side of ONE centerpiece at a time. Try and put a little heavier coat of paint on. This is so that the glitter can sink into the paint somewhat. When you have the area covered with paint, you want to shake on your glitter before the paint starts to dry. Make sure all the wet painted areas are completely covered in glitter. I like to lightly press the glitter into the paint using my fingers but this may not be necessary.
The final step is to carefully turn the centerpiece over and tap on the edge of the centerpiece with a finger a few times to shake off the excess glitter. Set it aside to dry for an hour or two. If you have plenty of glitter left in your shaker you can just proceed with the next centerpiece. If you are low on glitter, lift the edges of the newspaper into a U shape and pour the excess glitter from the first centerpiece back into your glitter container.
Don’t forget to clean up your paint brush and roller using a little dish detergent and warm water. Set them aside to dry.
This method assumes you just want to just put on glitter and you’re NOT going to paint your centerpiece.
You will be using white glue like Elmer’s or school glue. In a container (an empty yogurt cup works great) you want to put about one part water to 3 parts glue.
Stir the mixture so it’s blended completely. It should be about the consistency of heavy cream or creamy soup. If it is still too thick, it will be difficult to apply the glue and it may start drying too quickly. You can add some more water but you should never add more than one part water to 2 parts glue. Too much water and you will remove the adhesive qualities of the glue. The glitter will just fall off after the glue dries!
Now that you have your glue/water mix, paint it on your centerpiece in the following order.
If you are glittering the back and the edges and the front,
put the glue on the edges first. As you get one section covered in glue, shake on your glitter. You may need to turn the centerpiece various directions so that the glitter falls onto every area and covers it completely. If you find that you missed some spots, just paint more glue where you need it and sprinkle on more glitter. Don’t worry about putting glue over the glitter that’s already stuck because the glue dries clear and you won’t see it.
After your edges are done, lay the centerpiece with the back side facing up and paint the glue onto the back side using a small 3″ trim roller. If the part you want glittered is too small for a 3″ roller, just put the glue on with a brush. Put on a heavy coat of glue. Shake on the glitter and let it sit for about a half hour before turning it over and shaking off the excess glitter.
Glue one centerpiece at a time so that the glue doesn’t start to dry before you get the glitter on.
While one centerpiece is glittered and drying, you can work on the others. The key is to let the glue dry for a while before shaking off the excess glitter. As you start getting low on glitter, roll up your newspaper into a U shape and pour the excess glitter back into your glitter container.
It will be about 12 to 24 hours before your glue is completely dry, depending on how much water you added.
Handle the glittered centerpieces carefully until then. Even though the glitter is glued onto the centerpieces, some of it will fall off just from normal handling. If you need to transport your centerpieces to an event, the best thing to do is to put each one into a plastic grocery bag so that you don’t get glitter all over your clothing or your vehicle.
You can get additional ideas for centerpiece designs from my web site at www.designcutters.com/centerpieces.htm
You can also see some cool guitar shape centerpiece designs at www.guitarcenterpiece.com
Well those are the two methods I have found to work the best.
Here’s some methods that did not work so well – so don’t be tempted to try them!
Something I tried early on which did not work so well… I got a baking sheet that had low sides,
like a rectangular cookie sheet. I poured my glue/water mixture into the pan. I then dipped the centerpiece into the glue. Then I put it on a piece of newspaper and glittered it. Sounds like it would work great right? NOT!
The problem with this method is the glue goes up the side edges of your project.
You may not want to put glitter on the edges. Too late – it will because the glue is there.
You get glue all over your fingers. Then you get glitter all over your fingers.
Also if you want to glitter the back side, when you put the already glittered centerpiece into the pan of glue,
lots of glitter from the front side and edges falls into the glue. It just gets more messy each time you try it.
Then if you save the glue for your next project, it has chunks of glitter in it. Not good.
Another method I thought would work good but didn’t…
I tried airbrushing the glue onto the centerpieces. The glue had to be thinned a lot so that it could be airbrushed. Because it was so thin, it didn’t build up enough thickness for the glitter to embed itself and stick very well. Another issue with airbrushing glue is the possibility of getting glue into your lungs.
The airbrush will put a fine mist of glue into the air. It’s not fun or comfortable doing craft projects if you have to be wearing an industrial respirator or dust mask. So I’d recommend staying away from airbrushing the glue.
I hope these tips and instructions will help you get your centerpieces or craft projects done more quickly.
I know they will look great! Send me photos of what you’ve done!
About the author:
Mayo Pardo has been in the graphics industry since 1978.
He started www.DesignCutters.com in 2002. Located in South Elgin, IL, DesignCutters produces birthday party centerpieces, reunion centerpieces, event centerpieces, table centerpieces, styrofoam guitar shape centerpieces, sweet 16 centerpieces, foam letters and numbers, and also designs and cuts parts in foam, wood and plastic. His newest web site, www.guitarcenterpiece.com shows ideas for guitar shape styrofoam centerpieces.
I have a couple videos on Youtube about painting and glittering