Having hobbies in late capitalism is hard. Elusive. Who has the money, the space, and that most precious of wheel-grinding cogs: time? (Squeezing an easel into the apartment? Nah.) Then, along came quarantine. Here we are with arms full of devastation, weird Fiddler on the Roof moments, and all that newfound time for hobby-building (stressful in its own way). From that wellspring of Instagram crafts, one DIY project is still in our brains: spray foam furniture.
You couldn’t miss it on Instagram. There these peculiar choices for home decor were, reclining next to French designer Jacquemus’ it-bag in a breezy, white interior. They’ve popped up in suave designer portfolios by dudes named Gustaf, as well as on Craigslist—a craft for every mouse in the proletariat. Like this tall boy:
DiMoreObjects Foam Mirror, $95 at Etsy
There’s even a dedicated online store, FOAM, that sells custom mirrors (in addition to all those squiggly, blobby objects that are having a moment on Instagram):
Small Square Foam Mirror, $45.45 at FOAM
Danish designer Anna Louise Kragelund is credited as the originator of the frothy trend, which invites crafters to 1) take a mirror or object; 2) spray it with expanding foam, the very same stuff you get at the hardware store for DIY home repair stuff. The result? A Jeff-Goldblum-in-The-Fly transformation, and a brand new way to frame your selfie with a conversation, all with the clotted clout that, yes, you have indeed done it yourself… whatever “it” is:
MadGoode Lavender Foam Vase, $36 at Etsy
The classic shade is pearly white, but crafters have gotten creative with lavender (above), shades of Slime Time Live green:
Lava Lava Foam Green Mirror, $28.63 at Etsy
And even cow-print, to piggyback on the new wave of yee-haw energy:
Shop Repurpose Cow Print Foam Candle Holder, $65 at Etsy
Before you ask—yes, of course, millennial pink:
Peponibus custom foam mirror, $25 at Etsy
Aside from looking like a piece of Salvation Mountain, spray foam decor offers the joy of completing a project in a gratifyingly short amount of time.
“I made mine during quarantine,” Mei Gao, a 27-year-old photographer in New York City, told VICE. “I was bored so I invested my time to be more crafty.”
Gao dabbled in all kinds of activities that she didn’t have the time to do prior to quarantine, like oil painting, watercolor, sewing—and “foaming.” “I think [this type of art] is cute and easy to make,” she reiterates, “and satisfying to see it in my room ‘cause it’s something I made.”
Reception to spray foam decor hasn’t always been positive. One TikTok influencer named Erica—who goes by the handle @fashionlush and has more than 1.6 million followers—posted her DIY mirror to mixed reviews.
“This is the 2020 version of putting laminate over hardwood floors,” said one viewer; “Swamp vibes,” commented another. Some say that they, too, had dabbled in foam life, while others remarked that the mirror “looks like I just s**t on it.” Often, it feels like areas of our current digital culture foster an impossible standard for poreless, spendy living. So it was intriguing to see many influencers declare a love for something that, in the word’s of another of Erica’s followers, “looks like burnt gangrene skin.”
In a sea of shiny shell pillows and smooth Ultrafragola mirrors, spray foam furniture was the great equalizer of 2020 crafting; a tactile and cheap coping mechanism for an un-tactile COVID-19 world, wrapped in the promise of a likeable Instagram post. It was post-modern upcycling, and the antithesis of the super clean-lined farmhouse interiors that were on every home renovation show; forgiving (any excess foam just peels off of the glass); and both the kindly guardian angel we needed in quarantine, and the closest we’ll ever come to acting on the intrusive Freudian thought of, what if I took a dump on my nightstand?
Klaudia Frameless Asymmetrical Wall Mirror, $73.99 at Wayfair
And le foam:
Loctite Insulating Foam Sealant, 12-Ounce Can, $5.68 at Amazon
Congrats, you’re ready for Art Basel.
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