How to Cut Upholstery Foam

Furniture upholstery projects can improve the beauty of your home. Another benefit is the money you save by doing these projects yourself. Your project may be as easy as stapling new fabric to a chair cushion or as complicated as reupholstering an entire sofa and tailoring new covers. Whatever your goal, if you need to cut upholstery foam, you find it's a pretty easy task to accomplish.

Friends tearing up upholstery of an old couch
credit: Gary Houlder/Lifesize/Getty Images
Cutting upholstery foam is an easy do-it-yourself task.

Step 1

Measure the desired length and width of your foam using a yardstick or measuring tape. Mark these measurements with a black marker in several spots along the foam.

Step 2

Place a yardstick or long, straight piece of wood on the guide marks. Use the stick as a guide to draw a line along the length and width. If you feel confident that you can cut the foam without the line, you can skip this step.

Step 3

Cut the foam with a perfectly sharp utility knife, using the straightedge as a guide. Push firmly on the straightedge, compressing the foam, so you get a straight, clean cut. A thick straightedge, especially a metal one, can help prevent slips of the knife and possible injury. Don't forget to cut on a surface that can take a beating from your knife. Repeat the process for the second cut.

Step 4

Cut thick foam -- greater than about 4 inches -- with an electric carving knife. You'll need the marked-out straight lines as a guide. Make sure you cut straight through the foam and not at an angle.

Step 5

Trim the edges and round the corners with a pair of large, sharp scissors, if your project requires it.

Robert W. Lewis

Robert Lewis has been writing do-it-yourself and garden-related articles since 2000. He holds a B.A. in history from the University of Maryland and has training experience in finance, garden center retailing and teaching English as a second language. Lewis is an antiques dealer specializing in Chinese and Japanese export porcelain.