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What is Foam Board?

Foamboard is similar to cardboard in that it is two sheets of paper with a layer of foam in the middle. Picture a cheese sandwich. The sheets of paper are the bread and the layer of foam is the cheese.

Foamboard is something that most everybody is familiar with but just don't realize what it is called. It has many uses and you can often see it at science fairs where it is used as a large display surface to write information on. It is also often used by architectural students to make models of buildings and structures.

It is also known as foam core board.

Don't mistake it with poster board. That is large sheets of a thick paper.


Foamboard is versatile, light, strong and easy to work with. Here is a good example of a project I made with it. This is my arts and crafts tool organizer. The Gallon of water is there to give you an idea of the size.

A foam board tool organizer


Display board

Most everybody is familiar with this. It is a trifold display board. The kind you see at science fairs. This is made of foam board. Darice 36-Inch-by-48-Inch Project Display Board





  • It is firm like cardboard
  • It generally is between 3 and 5 mm thick, which is approximatley 1/8 and 3/16 respectively
  • The most common size is 20 inches by 30 inches, although other sizes are readily available as large as 30 x 40 and as small as 12x18
  • Colors: the standard and most common color is white. This is easily had. You can also get it in a variety of other colors including black, red, blue, yellow etc.

This picture is a close up of the edge of foamboard. It shows how is is a core of foam with paper on each side.

A look at the construction of foamboard


Where to get foam board and how much does it cost?

There are a lot of places you can buy it including walmart. Typically it cost a dollar to two dollars per 20x30 inch sheet there. You can also get it at dollar stores, drug stores, office supply stores and art supply stores. The price will vary.

It is available on amazon.com in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes.

Quality and durability: There is a difference. Generally it has been my experience that the elmers foam board is the highest quality in terms of sturdiness and durability, easy of cutting and use. And it typically has the highest price. The Pacon foam board is next with very good quality at a lower price. And if you are looking for bargain foamboard you can find it at dollar stores. I don't know the brand but it is much less expensive and less durable. But perfect if you are just doing quick mockups and want to keep the price down.

Hunting a bargain: When shopping on amazon you should bargain hunt and do some comparison shopping. There is a wide variety in prices and sizes, particularly the number of boards you get. I generally calculate what it ends up costing per board.

I use a lot of foamboard so I buy in bulk. This ten pack is one of the better bargains at the price per sheet:

Elmer's 900802 Foam Board,

Elmer's 900802 Foam Board, White Surface with White Core, 20 x30 (Pack of 10)



Larger Sheets:

Elmer's Polystyrene Foam Board

Elmer's Polystyrene Foam Board, 40 x 30, White Surface/White Core, 10/Carton, CT - EPI900803




Pacon Foam Board,

Pacon Foam Board, 20 x 30 Inches, 3/16-Inch Thick, White, 10 Sheets (5553)




variety of colors

It is available in a variety of colors:

Elmer's Colored Foam Boards

Elmer's Colored Foam Boards, 20 x 30 Inches, 3/16-Inch Thick, White, 10-Count (950802)



Pacon Foam Board

20"X30", Assorted Colors, 10 Boards





Elmer's Foam Board, 20 x 30 Inches

(Super thick 1/2 inch)

Elmer's Foam Board, 20 x 30 Inches, 1/2-Inch Thick, White, Single Board (950398)





Elmer's Acid-Free Foam Boards

Elmer's Acid-Free Foam Boards, 20 x 30 Inches, 3/16-Inch Thick, Bright White, 2-Count (902015)

If you are looking for high quality, archive quality, or you are looking for a backing for photographs you should use an acid free foam board It is more expensive per sheet though.


Some foam board projects:

a Light Box Make a Light Box

A light box is a wonderful little thing. You can use it for tracing, drawing, and even reading x-rays. But they are very expensive to purchase. I have a nice tutorial here that shows you how to make a great one very cheap. It uses a string of LED's as the light source. How to make a light box


a Wizard's Puzzle Box Make a Wizard's Puzzle Box

It is a neat little chest to keep things in. But it also has a secret. Only you know the secret to opening it. Fun! I give you the template to make it. Just some foamboard and a hot glue gun! Make a Wizard's Puzzle Box



the Batarang

Make the Batarang from Batman!

This is a really easy project and it comes out great, has a great feel and look. Just a sheet of cardboard or foamboard is all you need. I give you the template to make it so easy. Make the Batarang


a Roman Scutum Make a Roman Scutum

Here is another curved foam board project. Interesting process for easily getting a beautifully curved shield. This is an easy project that looks great. And a terrific companion to my Roman Gladius sword project. Make a Roman Scutum




I have lots of foam board projects on my youtube channel:


Foam Board Tools:


Foam Cutting Tool

Logan Foam Werks Foam Cutting Tool, Straight/Bevel





Foam Board Rabbet Cutter

Logan WC-4010 FoamWerks Foam Board Rabbet Cutter





Logan Foamwerks Foam Cutting Kit

Logan Foamwerks Foam Cutting Kit - FreeStyle Cutter WB6020, Straight/Bevel Cutter WC6010, Rabbet Cutter WC4010, Channel Rail W3001 & Foamboard Magic Book





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