Foam board comes in a wide range of sizes and thicknesses. You should be aware of what size foam board to get if you plan on using the ultra-versatile material for an upcoming DIY project.
Foam boards range in size from 8 × 10 inches to 36 × 48 inches with a thickness of between 1/8 to ½ an inch. However, you can order custom-sized foam boards that can measure up to and beyond 100 inches on each side.
In today’s guide, I’ll go into more detail about foam board sizes, its uses, and the pros and cons of using foam board.
Standard Foam Board Sizes
Foam board remains to be one of the most commonly used signage materials. You’ll find them in places like grocery stores, malls, and even science fairs. It’s a lightweight material that’s easy to cut and comes in a wide range of sizes and thicknesses.
So, what are the standard measurements of a foam board?
Depending on the supplier, foam boards might have the following measurements:
- 8 × 10 inches
- 16 × 20 inches
- 18 × 24 inches
- 24 × 26 inches
- 26 × 48 inches
In regards to thickness, you will also have several options to choose from, starting from 1/8 all the way up to ½ of an inch.
However, you can most certainly pick up foam board in ISO 216 printing paper sizes, starting from A0 and going all the way down to A8. Here’s a quick breakdown of A-series foam board sizes in millimeters and inches.
|Foam Board Format||W × H (mm)||W × H (in.)|
|A0||841 × 1189||33-1/8 × 46-13/16|
|A1||594 × 841||23-3/8 × 33-1/8|
|A2||420 × 594||16-1/2 × 23-3/8|
|A3||297 × 420||11-3/4 × 16-1/2|
|A4||210 × 297||8-1/4 × 11-3/4|
|A5||148 × 210||5-7/8 × 8-1/4|
|A6||105 × 148||4-1/8 × 5-7/8|
|A7||74 × 105||2-1/5 × 4-1/8|
|A8||52 × 74||2-1/16 × 2-15/16|
As for their thicknesses, your options are between 1 and 10 millimeters.
Truth be told, you can ask a supplier to provide you with custom-sized boards. Some of them might even have 100 × 100-inch foam boards, though it might take them a few days to get the product shipped to your address.
The exact thickness you’ll need for your foam board should depend on how large the sheet is. Generally speaking, the larger the foam board is, the thicker it should be to give it stability for displaying purposes.
What Is Foam Board Used for?
Foam board is typically used as a backing for picture frames. It will give the photograph a bit of structure, which allows it to stick in place behind the glass panel of a frame.
Some people use form boards for backings of photos that they wish to hang up on their walls. They will use double-sided tape to stick the foam board to the back of the picture before mounting the foam board with water-based adhesives. While it will not protect the picture from moisture and dust like a picture frame, it will give it a 3D effect that’s nice on the eyes and brighten up your room.
This material is also used to construct 3D architectural models. It is easy to cut and shape, and gluing the pieces together takes literal minutes.
So, not only is foam board used for arts and crafts but there are professional uses for this highly versatile material.
Pros and Cons of Foam Board
Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of using foam board.
Sturdy. Foam board is rigid in structure, so it can withstand a bit of resistance when propped upright on metal shelves to promote products at grocery stores, restaurants, and other businesses. In addition, foam board does not curl, so moisture does not affect it nearly as quickly as it will construction paper or printing paper.
Lightweight. A large 36 × 48 × 0.5-inch sheet of foam board can weigh as little as two pounds, making it easy to transport and mount on walls and shelves. Thinner sheets of foam board can weigh considerably less, so you shouldn’t have any trouble propping it up.
Easy to cut and shape. To cut a sheet of foam board to a certain size or shape, all you need is a pair of heavy-duty scissors or a box cutter. Simply lay the sheet on a flat surface, place your template on the sheet or draw the shape you want to cut, then begin cutting. If you’re using scissors, make sure you apply even pressure when bringing the jaws together to prevent them from drawing in material from the sides and producing jagged edges.
Printable. That’s right—if you want to print an image directly onto the surface of foam board, you can ask the supplier or a professional printer to do the deed for you. However, it will not have a glossy finish as regular photograph paper. That said, if you plan on displaying the photograph behind a sheet of glass like they do for promotional movie posters, hardly anyone will tell that it has a matte finish.
Not for outdoor use. Exposure to heat and UV rays can cause the surface of the foam board to become dull and possibly cause any colors to fade over time.
Not waterproof. Although foam board can withstand tiny splashes of water, rain or constant exposure to moisture can cause the foam board to curl or become warped. This means foam board is not ideal for kitchens or bathrooms.
Non-recyclable. The sad reality is that foam board has a limited shelf life when used for promotional purposes. On top of this, foam board can take hundreds of years to break down. In the end, the used-up foam board will end up in a landfill and not a recycling plant. This is something to consider if you care about the environment.
Breaks easily. Although foam board is rigid, it’s prone to breaking, especially if you drop it or bump into it repeatedly.
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