How to Work With Foamcore

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Foamcore is used in a variety of different applications. The foamcore material is made of a thin layer of foamcore sandwiched between two thin pieces of cardboard. Artists use the lightweight material for matting in picture framing and building architectural models and other types of modeling projects. It is easy to work with foamcore as long as you understand its limitations. You must use the right tools and accessories to make your foamcore project a success.

Things You'll Need

  • Utility knife
  • Hot glue
  • Elmer's glue
  • Spray adhesive
  • Rubber cement
  • Sandpaper
  • Metal ruler
  • Cut and trim your foamcore project pieces with a sharp cutting tool like a utility knife or a thin razor blade. Ordinary scissors may compress the foamcore and cause damage which could affect the look of your project. You can also use a rotary cutting device equipped with a precise cutting blade, but always test the cutting device on a spare piece of foamcore to see how well the tool cuts for your project. Use a metal ruler as a guide to create clean, straight cuts for picture matting. Draw a pencil line for your cut, and hold the ruler firmly in place with one hand while you cut along the ruler's edge with your other hand.

  • Create folds for foamcore models by slicing through only one layer of the cardboard construction. Make a slice less than halfway into the foamcore and carefully bend the board into position. The other half of foamcore remains intact to support the construction of your project.

  • Sand down rough edges from cutting with a fine-grit sandpaper or a sanding block. Slight imperfections and frayed edges can appear after cutting, but light sanding smooths its appearance. Pass the sand paper or sanding block over the edges gently, and wipe away sanding dust.

  • Glue your foamcore project pieces together using a spray adhesive to provide complete coverage. Traditional glue also works, but its high water content can warp the foamcore's cardboard surface and detract from the visual impact of your project. A hot glue gun should be used with special care. The heat of the hot glue can melt the foam core and cause a warped appearance. Rubber cement is another alternative which can be applied in a more controlled manner than spray adhesive.

  • Choose dark colored foamcore whenever it is available. Dark colors hide dirt and grime from glue residue and natural oils in the hands. Check the foamcore for signs of damage before you make a purchase. Foamcore is prone to dents and tears during shipping.

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References

  • Photo Credit model of jerusalem city, details image by Stasys Eidiejus from Fotolia.com razor blade image by jimcox40 from Fotolia.com to cut image by Anton Gvozdikov from Fotolia.com sandpapier image by Thomas Aumann from Fotolia.com Hot glue gun isolated image by Marek Kosmal from Fotolia.com white note pinned to white background image by Dmitry Rukhlenko from Fotolia.com
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