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10 useful things to do with Foam Core

Foam core is a useful material: it is rigid foam with paper on both sides, similar to drywall but very lightweight. It is easily cut with a razor blade.

You can write directly on it with a pencil. It is an excellent material for prototyping. It is a great backing for photos and home made signs.

    1. Mounting photographs

    2. Laying out workspaces

    This was the first time I saw foam core used. The chief engineer was designing custom control rooms for a video editing facility in New York in the mid-1990s (Post Perfect, it closed a few years later). Back then, you needed a lot of equipment to edit video and many physical monitors and miles of cabling in the space. Most edit rooms used completely custom built in furniture.

    He used large pieces of foam core to create the workspace and then had all of the editors (ranging from about 5'6" to 6'4") come in to try it and make suggestions. He was able to change the size right there as we were talking about it. Very clever!

    3. Architectural models


    By Mark Olsen - Shell Architecture, CC BY 2.0,

    4. laying out guitar electronics

    I was using foam core this morning and I thought of this list. You can "drill" foam core with a screwdriver and mount all the parts through it, then do you soldering in the back and take notes. You can make sure that it works before mounting it in the guitar (and discovering that it does not work!)


    5. Temporary yard signs

    6. Backing for lightweight dry erase boards with custom underlays

    As an intern at Post Perfect (see above) one of my tasks was to create a scheduling board using foam core, a printed page showing the edit rooms and an adhesive sheet. The adhesive sheet was tough to manage but it ended up working like a dry erase board.

    7. Movie and theater props

    Make a gigantic "book" that is fairly rugged and easy to carry

    8. Making signs for organizing a classroom or camp

    9. Prototyping guitar bodies

    Foam core is stiff enough so that it holds its shape, unlike cardboard. You can then use this to build a routing template.

    10. Prototyping speaker cabinets for car stereos.

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