STYROFOAM brand foam crafts

Recycled Robot

Kids will have a blast creating their own shiny silver sidekicks! Invent robots using inexpensive foam shapes and interesting odds-and-ends from the recycling bin.
   Completion Time - 
2-4 hours
   Designer - 
Kathleen George


  • Balls: 1-1/2", two; 1", one
  • Block, 10"x4"x1"
  • Cubes: 5"; 4"; 2"
  • Discs, 3"x1", two
Other Materials
  • Metallic silver spray paint
  • (read label thoroughly to be sure it's foam-safe)
  • or silver, acrylic craft paint with stiff paintbrush
  • Cardboard paper towel tubes, two
  • Flexible drinking straws, four
  • Assorted recyclables: buttons; bottle caps; bolts; drapery hooks;
  • wires; pen caps; knobs; etc.


  • Serrated knife
  • Candle stub or paraffin
  • Fine-line black permanent marker
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Wire cutters
  • Low-temp glue gun and glue sticks and/or thick, white craft glue and
  • Toothpicks
  • Optional: extra-large cardboard box


Caution:This project requires adult supervision. Childrenshould never use a serrated knife or glue gun unsupervised;only adults should handle a glue gun and serrated knife.Caution: Small pieces may pull loose; closely supervise smallchildren around robot.
  • 1. Stack foam cubes largest to smallest; glue cubes togetherto form head/body. If using white craft glue, inserttoothpicks between pieces to help hold cubes together whileglue dries.
  • 2. Cut cardboard tubes to desired length for legs. Clip tubesevery 1/2" around each opening to form tabs; fold tabsoutward. Glue bottom tabs onto foam disc feet. Glue top tabsto bottom of body. Glue 1" foam balls to legs for knees.
  • 3. Wax serrated knife with candle stub or paraffin. Measureand cut four 1"x2" rectangles from foam block for arms. Cut 1"foam ball in half for knees. Press one side of each remainingfoam ball against work surface to flatten slightly.
  • 4. Cut flexible portion from four drinking straws. Use pencilpoint to poke small holes in center top and bottom of each armsection and into body at shoulder; apply glue to straw endsand insert in holes as shown. Note: Let glue dry completelybefore moving arms.
  • 5. Glue knees to legs and flattened side of 1-1/2" foam ballhands to arms.
  • 6. Refer to photo to glue buttons, control boxes, antennae,and other mechanical parts to robot. Let dry.
  • 7.Place completed robot in extra-large cardboard box, ifdesired. Follow manufacturer's instructions to apply two tothree light coats of spray paint to prevent drips. Let dry.Or, brush on silver paint using a stiff brush and "scrubbing"motion for thorough coverage.If you enjoyed this project, look here for more inspiring ideas:Flying Dragon MarionetteMr. EggheadLittle Green Men