How To Cut Foam Board With Different Tools

If you love to decorate your own house or build model, I am sure that you have to work with foam board very often. Foam board comes in different colors and different sizes to meet all of your needs for different projects.

While it is a popular material for art project, it does take patience and technique to cut it properly. One of the most common questions I get from my friends when they work with foam board is how to cut foam board so that it doesn’t tear. The key thing here is the right tool, the right blade and the right pressure. Scroll down for more details on how to cut foam board into beautiful smaller pieces.


1. The First Method Cut Foam Board

​The first method would make use of a unity knife. It is used to cut though slim and thin foam board. Also if you want to cut foam board into smaller pieces with fine and complicate details, you should follow this method.

​Here are the tools that you would need in order to cut foam board:

  • A foam board (of course!!!)
  • A sharp utility knife
  • Some extra sharp blades
  • A metal ruler
  • A measuring tape
  • A pencil
  • A clean and flat cutting surface

How to choose the right knife to cut foam board?

Many people think that the more expensive the knife is, the better it is with the foam board. However, it is not always the case. The most important factor is that your knife needs to have a sharp blade.

If you have to cut a long and thick board, you should also prepare some extra blades to change when needed.

Follow the steps below on how to cut foam board for your project:

Step 1: To begin with, you need to find a clean and flat surface as your working station. Then put the foam board you are going to work with onto the table.

Step 2: Use the ruler, the measuring tape and the pencil to draw the shape you want to cut the foam board into.

Step 3: After you finish drawing on your board, don’t put your ruler away. Use it to secure the board. You can place the ruler along the line you draw on the foam board and run the knife along the ruler. It would help you to cut a perfect straight line.


Step 4: Put the blade of the knife onto the foam board and start cutting. For the first cut, only use light pressure and cut the surface of the foam board. This is your trail line.

Step 5: Keep on cutting over the trial line until you can finally cut through the board. You have to make at least 3 cuts in order to cut through a piece of foam board. The first cut would cut though the paper outer layer of the foam board and the second cut would cut through the foam itself. The final cut would cut though the outer layer on the other side. You might need to use more cuts for cut though each layer as well.

Step 6: Move to other places on the board and repeat from step 3.

Note: Always remember the rule of thumb for cutting foam board: As little force as possible. As many cuts as it takes.

2. The Second Method Cut Foam Board

As stated above, in case you want to cut thick foam board, using a handheld hacksaw would bring you nice and smooth cuts. You can choose from a wide range of materials and designs. But the easiest tool to work with is the one with plastic handle.


Here are the steps you should follow to cut thick foam board with hacksaw:

Step 1: Put the foam board into a clean working station.

Step 2: Measure and draw on the board what you like to cut.

Step 3: Apply a long and smooth stroke along the line you have drawn on the board. In case you have to apply sawing motion, do it at a very slow speed until you can cut through the foam board.

Step 4: Clean the dust from cutting. Also you can smooth the edges of the cuts by rubbing them with a piece of foam board. Don’t rub it against sand paper- sand paper would be too rough on the surface of a piece of foam.

3. Other Tools You Can Use To Cut Foam Board

You can purchase other specific tools to cut foam board as well. They are made for cutting foam board only but they are also very useful and help you have clean and nice cuts.

  • Foam Rabbet Cutter: With this tool, you would be able to cut a foam board into smaller cuts with 90 degree corners.
  • Free Style Cutter: This tool allows you to cut foam board into curves easily.
  • Hot Wire Cutter: This tool also support round and curvy cuts. Please note that hot wire cutter is a big appliance which is more suitable to cut big piece of foam board rather than a free style cutter. In addition, the wire of this cutter is hot while on operation. Therefore, you need to pay extra care.


​Overall, there are a few methods in which you can use to cut foam board. You can use a utility knife to cut thin foam board. On the other hand, if you have to cut thick foam board, a hacksaw is a better option. There are other tools you can use including foam rabbet cutter, free style cutter or a hot wire cutter.

Remember that whichever tool you use, always cut the foam cut with little pressure and slow motion if you want to have clean cuts. I hope with the ultimate guide above, along with a few practices, you would be successful in cutting clean cut from whichever foam board you have for your project.

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