How to Cut Foam Board

how to cut foam board

Cutting a foam board can be a risky affair if you lack the necessary tools and technical know-how. You need to be as careful as possible since the tools used here could cause some severe lacerations. Don’t ignore the importance of proper set-up either, as it also plays a massive role in determining whether you’ll do the job well.

So, do you want to know how to cut foam boards? You’ll be shocked to know that it’s not as difficult as you might think. Typically, you have two options, which are to cut the board manually or use electrical tools. You’ll need the right choice of tools regardless of the option that you choose.

Feel free to learn how to cut foam board from this short video on YouTube. You’ll note on this video, the method in use is entirely manual. When cutting with a blade, don’t forget to do so while drawing the cutter towards you. Remember to pull the blade along the edge of a ruler to avoid hurting yourself. For electric cutting, you can check out this video.

What You Need to Cut a Foam Board

What You Need to Cut a Foam Board Infographic

The equipment you use to cut a foam board manually differs from what you need for the electrical cutting. For this reason, I suggest you base this task on the available tools. The only item that appears on both methods of cutting is the actual foam board. That said, the items you need to do this work are not too costly.

The range of equipment needed to cut the blade manually includes:

  • Foam board
  • A pair of heavy-duty scissors
  • Blade
  • While candle for the wax
  • Metallic cookie cutters
  • Dental floss

You need different sets of tools to cut the foam board electrically, and these include:

  • Foam board
  • Electric knives
  • Foam saw
  • Hot wire cutter
  • Clamps or vise
  • Face and eye protection
  • Hotwire table for cutting foam

Step-by-Step Guide to Cutting a Foam Board

How to Cut Foam Board Manually

How to Cut Foam Board Manually

You need a few basic tools to cut a foam board manually. These tools include a simple, sturdy blade, pair of scissors, dental floss, or cookie cutters. Cutting the foam with a pair of scissors only works well if you’re dealing with a thin or quite flexible board. I want to add that you have to make long and smooth cuts to avoid choppy edges.

For a blade, a bit of waxing is necessary to prepare the tool for the cutting. Waxing allows the blade to slice through the board. Here, the choice of blade also matters considerably. Blades with comfortable handles are appropriate for basic straight cuts. The types of blades you can work with here include:

Cookie cutters are also ideal for cutting foam boards. You will need to choose a cookie cutter that suits the shape you wish to cut, though. More importantly, make sure that the foam board is on a flat surface. Additionally, check whether the cookie cutter is sharp enough to cut through the board.

Dental floss is just as effective too. With a long strand of floss, you should be able to cut through a thin sheet of foam board effortlessly. However, it’s worth pointing out that dental floss is only good for straight cuts. Again, you might need to slice each separate board through the floss when dealing with multiple sheets.

How to Cut Foam Board Electrically

I suggest that anyone who needs to learn how to cut foam board should invest in a few electric tools too. Here, your two options are wire cutters or an electric knife. First, though, you have to fasten the board firmly to keep it from moving as you cut. To do this, you could hold it down with one hand while using the other to cut. Alternatively, you could:

  • Use clamps to secure it in place
  • Set it in a vise

Before you start the actual cutting, you should wear the appropriate protection as well. Do not forget to wear eye protection. I would recommend you wear a facemask if possible, they’re also nice. This is considering that some boards produce fine foam dust. A facemask is essential in ensuring that you do not breathe in the fine dust, as it could be dangerous to your lungs.

An electric knife is great for foam boards that are 4cm-10cm in thickness. I recommend that you stack it nicely together before starting to cut. Next, plug the knife into a power source. Make sure that the source is on before you the knife touches the board the first time. Now that you’re ready, you should also make a decision on the types of cuts that you need and the exact blade on the knife to use.

Apart from an electric knife, you could also cut the foam board with an electric saw. The saw is perfect for a person who cuts foam boards regularly. I find that these tools are quite useful as they also come with support bases, which you can set on the surface. Also, remember to hold the saw vertically.

A wire cutter works well in this type of work too. To use it, start by heating the wire cutter until it is red hot. Avoid touching it while doing so. Next, push the foam board right through the cutter. A table for cutting hot wire would be perfect in case you wish to cut waves, circles, or curvy lines.

Properties and Uses of Foam Boards

Now that you know how to cut foam board, I will go over the different ways you can use it. First, you could use the board for POP displays, exhibits, and kiosks. It also works well for framing and mounting stuff. The board is ideal for sets and props as well as digital and screen printing. Feel free to use it for interior signage too.


Have you learned how to cut foam board? The point you must remember is you can cut the board either manually or electrically. Secondly, I have to stress that you must wear protective gear and place the board on a flat surface. Thirdly, you must be ready with the full set of DIY tools and equipment needed for this work.

Are you looking for more? Check out some of the other article I have written:

About Brandon Potters

Hi, I’m Brandon and I can’t express how excited I am that you chose The Saw Guy as your resource for project ideas, tool reviews, and all-around guide to the world of DIY. I spent years in the construction industry refining my knowledge of various trades and even spent a few years working at a major hardware store. ​If there is anyone who can help you make a well-informed, unbiased, budget-conscious decision, it’s me and my team.

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