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How We Fabricated Oversize Custom Foam Props at 8.5ft

Our customer, TODEC requested that we fabricate a custom large Monarch Butterfly prop and some large letters for their organization big event. They wanted the prop to be 2D resembling a 3D shape.


We had a plan to create the butterfly with flat wings and a vinyl print, with slightly rounded body. The piece would then be mounted to a base so people can stand around it. The letters would also have a base with writing message on it as well as 2 smaller butterfly props decor on top of the letters.


We received illustrator art files from the customer.

We created a CAD file mockup rendering then got to work.

We used our CNC hot wire foam cutters to cut the TODEC letters, 1 large butterfly prop core and 2 small ones. The right and left wings of the prop were hot wired cut separately due to its size, then glued together. We also cut a banner and glued it on top.

The butterfly prop was covered in black epoxy hard coat and paintd black as well.

We then hot wired a 2" thick EPS wings nest cavity template and patched all thin areas with dry mud to add strength to it. We painted the nest black and glued it onto the solid wing core, then painted the wing cavities with 5 custom orange colors.

The whole large butterfly prop was fabricated at at 92.5" x 96.25" x 25" plus a base to be able to be free standing, so the total height was over 8ft.


The letters were fabricated at 3ft tall with the same process as the butterfly - hot wired cut, epoxy hard coated, then painted blue, with the "O" and the "C" cut at the top to be able to glue and nest the small butterfly props. A base was cut, hot wiring the letters cavities "PROTECT DEFEND ENGAGE" then painted brown.

Oversize Custom Foam Props
Oversize Custom Foam Props
Oversize Custom Foam Props
Oversize Custom Foam Props
Oversize Custom Foam Props
Oversize Custom Foam Props

A top banner was created in the same process - hot wired with a template nest and cavities painted yellow, orange and blue, then all glued onto the top of the prop.

The 2 small butterfly props cores were cut on the hot wire CNC foam cutter.

We printed a colorful vinyl print design, glued it onto the prop cores, then glued them to their already made cavity on top of the "o" and "C" free standing painted letters

We flattened the vinyl with a spatula to eliminate any possible air bubbles, so that it'll be nice and smooth

Oversize Custom Foam Props
Oversize Custom Foam Props

Here is the large butterfly constructed with the banner and the base, all hard coated and painted. The custom oversize foam prop butterfly and letters are all done.

Oversize Custom Foam Props
Oversize Custom Foam Props
Oversize Custom Foam Props
Oversize Custom Foam Props

Lots of precision cutting, template techniques, accurate painting and paying attention to details... and the TODEC project is all packed on the trailer where we delivered it all in Perris, CA for the event.




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