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polystyrene balls: 6 reasons not to buy them

When it comes to arts and crafts, polystyrene balls have become a staple. They are probably the first thing we all think about when we need something round and lightweight.

But while it’s true that polystyrene balls are convenient, there are also many things that are wrong with them.  So I wonder: do we really need them?

Here are a few facts about polystyrene balls.


1- Polystyrene is bad for the planet

Polystyrene is made with chemicals (styrene) and takes years to bio-degrade. Polystyrene also ends up in our oceans floating around.

2- If it’s bad for the planet, it’s bad for us, humans

I think this one speaks for itself.

3- Polystyrene melts

It is not possible to use a hot glue gun with Polystyrene. It would melt. And melting polystyrene produces fumes.

4- Polystyrene crumbles

Cutting through a polystyrene ball with a knife or a sharp blade will result in a mess. Polystyrene crumbles and doesn’t make for a sharp smooth cut.

5- Polystyrene is hard to paint. 

It has a rough, cratered surface. It’s difficult and tenuous to apply paint with a brush onto polystyrene. It requires spray paint to make the job easy. But the surface of the polystyrene balls will always look rough, even painted.

6- Great alternatives to polystyrene balls do exist

Spun cotton balls are wonderful alternatives to polystyrene balls. They are lightweight, they have a smooth and easy to paint surface, and they don’t melt or crumble. They are made of paper and biodegrade just like paper would.

polystyrene balls alternative

Spun cotton balls come in plenty of different sizes. Above: 25mm diameter. Below: 45mm diameter.

polystyrene balls alternative 2

Spun cotton balls are great crafting materials. They are the foundation for so many beautiful craft projects. They can be used to make ornaments, decorations, small peg dolls, jewelry….the sky is the limit. They work very well with other craft materials such as fabric, felt, paper, cardboard, and pipe cleaners to name only a few.


I hope you found this page interesting. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to leave a message. Happy crafting!




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