Mastering Upholstery, EVA and Other Foam Cutting

Foam is a versatile material used in a wide range of applications, from upholstery and crafting to insulation and packaging. Cutting foam accurately and cleanly is essential to achieve professional-looking results in your projects.

How to Cut Foam: Upholstery, EVA and More

For over 20 years, FoamOrder has been providing foam to shops, workrooms and DIYers, serving a wide range of projects. In this guide, we’ll explore the techniques and tools needed to cut different types of foam effectively, empowering you to confidently achieve professional results.

Choosing the Right Foam

Before diving into foam-cutting techniques, selecting the appropriate type of foam for your project is crucial. The most common types of foam used in DIY and crafting are:

Closed-Cell Foam

Closed-cell foam, typically made from materials like neoprene or polyethylene, is known for its moisture resistance. It’s used for marine and outdoor applications, providing buoyancy and weatherproofing. Closed-cell foam is versatile and employed in sealing and gasket applications due to its impermeability.

Upholstery Foam

Upholstery foam is a specialized type of foam designed to provide comfort and support in furniture and upholstery applications. It is crucial in determining the overall feel and durability of upholstered furniture, such as sofas, chairs and mattresses. With many possibilities for DIY projects that can be found in our DIY foam cushion guides, upholstery foam can be customized to suit specific comfort preferences and design requirements.

EVA Foam

Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) foam is highly versatile and known for its flexibility and durability. It’s a favorite in cosplay and crafting because it’s easy to manipulate. EVA Foam is available in many different thicknesses and sizes, making it suitable for various artistic projects, such as outdoor projects and cosplay material.

Cross-Poly Foam

Cross linked Polyethylene, or “cross-poly” foam, is a dense material similar to (but much firmer than) EVA foam. It is commonly used for insulation, padding, knee pads and crafting. Cross-Poly’s dense firmness make it an excellent choice for heavy-duty padding applications.

Essential Tools for Foam Cutting

To cut foam effectively, you’ll need the right tools. Many tools you might need can be found on our partner’s website, Here’s a list of essential tools you may need:

Foam Cutter

A sharp utility or foam cutting tool is a must-have for cutting flat and curved surfaces on all types of foam.

Electric Knife

For thicker foam or larger projects, a serrated electric carving knife provides a precise and even cut. It’s especially useful when cutting dense foam, such as memory foam mattresses or upholstery foam.

Hot Wire Cutter

A hot wire cutter is specifically designed for foam cutting. It operates by melting through the foam cleanly, leaving smooth edges. This tool is excellent for intricate cuts and shaping.


Good-quality scissors with sharp blades are suitable for cutting thin foam or neoprene sheets. They come in handy for crafting projects that require detailed cuts.

Rotary Cutter

Ideal for precision cutting, a rotary cutter with a sharp circular blade is excellent for intricate foam designs. It’s often used in quilting and crafting but can also be useful for foam projects.

Cutting Upholstery Foam

Cutting upholstery foam can vary depending on the type of foam and your project’s complexity. Here are tips on cutting upholstery foam effectively:

Cutting upholstery foam with a knife.

Straight Cuts with Foam Cutter

  1. Measure and mark the foam along the desired cut lines.
  2. Use a straightedge or ruler to guide the foam cutter as you cut through the foam.
  3. Apply steady pressure and make multiple passes if needed.

Curved Cuts with an Electric Knife

  1. Trace the desired shape or curve onto the foam using a template or stencil.
  2. Plug in the electric knife and carefully plan how you will cut the foam as to avoid the cord getting in the way.
  3. Carefully follow the traced lines with the electric knife, allowing the blade to cut through the foam smoothly. Maintain a steady hand and consistent pressure.

Cutting EVA and Closed Cell Foam

EVA is a type of closed cell foam that is a popular choice for cosplay and craft projects due to its versatility and ease of cutting. Here’s how to cut EVA and other closed-cell foams like volara, cross-poly, and flotex foam:

Straight Cuts with Foam Cutter

  1. Measure and mark the foam along the desired cut lines.
  2. Use a straightedge or ruler to guide the foam cutter as you cut through the foam.
  3. Apply steady pressure and make multiple passes if needed.

Curved Cuts with Scissors or Rotary Cutter

  1. Trace the desired shape or curve onto the EVA foam.
  2. Use sharp scissors or a rotary cutter to follow the traced lines, making precise cuts. Be careful about where your electrical cord is during your cutting to be sure you won’t cut it.

Heat-Sealing Edges

To achieve smooth and sealed edges on EVA foam, you can use a heat source like a heat gun or a lighter. Gently pass the heat source over the foam’s edges, which will cause them to melt and seal.

Safety Tips for Foam Cutting

Regardless of the type of foam you’re working with, it’s essential to prioritize safety. At FoamOrder, we provide top-quality foam materials and prioritize safety by offering guidance on best practices and material safety data sheets. To further ensure your safety, follow these steps:

A close-up of safety goggles


Work in a well-ventilated area or use a mask when cutting foam, especially polystyrene. Proper ventilation helps reduce the inhalation of any potentially harmful particles.

Eye Protection

Wear safety goggles or glasses to protect your eyes from foam particles and debris. Foam cutting can produce small particles that may cause irritation or injury if they come into contact with your eyes.

Keep Tools Sharp and Watch Electrical Cords

Ensure your cutting tools are sharp, as dull blades can lead to accidents and rough cuts. Regularly replace blades to maintain clean and precise cuts. Be sure that you are always aware of where electrical cords are and will be during your cutting to ensure you don’t cut the cord. A best practice is to simulate your full cutting plan/movements to ensure the cord won’t get in the way.

Mind Your Fingers

Pay close attention to your fingers while cutting, and be cautious not to cut yourself. Keep your hands clear of the path of the cutting tool to prevent accidents.

Dispose of Foam Properly

Properly dispose of any foam waste according to local recycling or disposal guidelines. Some types of foam can be recycled, while others may need to be disposed of in a specific manner.

Cutting foam is fundamental for diverse DIY ventures, spanning upholstery, crafting, insulation and packaging. At FoamOrder, we recognize the importance of selecting the ideal foam type, using the right tools and adhering to stringent safety measures to attain immaculate, precision cuts for your unique projects. Whether you’re tackling upholstery, EVA, polystyrene or closed-cell foam, these tried-and-true techniques are your gateway to professional-grade outcomes. Explore various methods to tailor your approach to the specific demands of your project, and unlock the boundless creative potential that foam offers in your DIY pursuits.

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