How to Cut Styrofoam Cleanly and Quickly?

When the topic’s about versatility, styrofoam is among the first things that hit thought. Whether it is a kindergarten project or any other complex doing, styrofoam finds use in all of such things. Though the uses of this material are many, the mess it makes when the cut is inevitable and extremely irritating. Most people tend to throw styrofoam away as soon as they get it because of the mess it can create in order to turn it into something desirable. If you choose to use a butter knife for the trick, there is very little chance for the end product to turn out how you want it to be. 

Methods to Cut Styrofoam Perfectly

If you wish to make something beautiful out of styrofoam instead of throwing it away, cutting it in the right manner using the right tool is important. In this article, we are choosing to help you out by listing a few ways to effectively cut styrofoam. 

1. Make use of a Dental Floss 

Using dental floss for cutting styrofoam is an easy and effective solution for the task. This method will work perfectly if you choose to cut in a straight line. Start by laying the styrofoam flat on top of the floss. Draw lines along which you’d like to cut and pull the floss up along that line. All you should do is just pull the floss from the further end to the end that you are near to. Doing this will effectively slice the styrofoam along a perfectly straight line. 

2. Use an X-acto Knife

Using an X-acto knife for the purpose of cutting styrofoam is the easiest way to do so but make sure that the knife is sharp. You can do a wonderful job cutting in straight lines or in your desired pattern. Make sure you draw an outline of the pattern you want to cut out of the styrofoam and cut along the lines. You can do it free hand without an outline but it’s a bit tricky to get it right on the first try. 

An X-acto knife is literally all you need to make a masterpiece out of a small piece of styrofoam. On the other hand, they are not the best tool to work on large pieces of styrofoam. When the styrofoam is a little too thick, an X-acto knife cannot be used like the blade of such knives is not long enough to cut through the styrofoam. 

3. Cut in shapes with a Cookie Cutter 

If you are working on a relatively thin piece of styrofoam, using a cookie cutter to cut the styrofoam is an easy option. Though it might seem ridiculous, trust us, it’s an easy way to cut styrofoam into fun shapes. Press the cookie cutter against the piece of styrofoam till it pierces out of the other side. As you can tell, the styrofoam piece will be in the shape of a cookie-cutter. You can do a lot of fun stuff with styrofoam pieces of different shapes. You can either paint them in different colors or keep them as is and use them to decorate your room or any other place. 

4. Cut the styrofoam underwater to avoid the mess 

First of all, find a container that is large enough to immerse the piece of styrofoam you are willing to cut. Now, fill up the container with water and submerge the styrofoam in it. If your only fear about cutting styrofoam is the mess it can make, you can easily avoid that by using this method. Use an X-acto knife or an ordinary knife to cut the styrofoam underwater. Cutting styrofoam under water prevents the small crumbs of styrofoam from flying around and ensures a clean and smooth cut. 

Another thing you can do to avoid the mess is to grab a strainer and strain the water before throwing all of it away. This way you can separate the small crumbs of styrofoam from water and throw them away separately. 

5. Make use of a Styrofoam Cutting Saw

If you are going to be making something big and will use large bricks of styrofoam, using a cutting saw is the most effective option. Cutting thick and hard pieces of styrofoam can be a piece of cake when a styrofoam cutting saw is used. Using such a saw is very easy and all you need to do is start the cutting saw and press it against the styrofoam piece. You can cut in as many different shapes with the help of a styrofoam cutting saw. 

Though the effectiveness and ease of use are absolutely wonderful, the cost of using a styrofoam cutting saw is a bit too much for a normal DIY project. You’ll have to spend anywhere from 150 to 400 dollars which makes it the most expensive option in this article. For safety, we recommend that you wear a dust mask and safety goggles because the styrofoam dust produced in the process is similar to sawdust that can irritate your lungs if it is inhaled. 

6. Put a Hot Knife to work 

There is a very good amount of chance you might have already heard of this method. It is an easily accessible, cost-effective, and simple method that you can use to make small cuts in styrofoam with minimum mess. One thing you should do is to cut in a sawing motion instead of pushing straight into the styrofoam piece, this will ensure a straight cut and reduced chances for the material to fall apart. There is no need to overheat, holding the knife over a candle flame for 10 seconds will be enough. 

Putting on a mask while cutting with a heated knife is crucial because the smell produced from it can be dangerous if inhaled. 

How to Apply those Methods? (Video Tutorial)


All of the methods mentioned in this article will work wonderfully well to cut styrofoam of different measurements into different shapes. If you have nothing but a knife in availability, cutting the styrofoam underwater is the best option. 

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