Making Foamboard Selection Easier

People use foam boards in their domestic, commercial, and art projects for many purposes. So what exactly it is about foam boards that makes them so versatile in their usage?

One reason is the unique mix of being strong while also lightweight, and economical when compared to other substrates. It is also easily cut and shaped which is one of the reasons it is commonly used in mounting of prints, photographs and as a backing material in picture frames as well as crafts and architectural models. So how do you know which type of foam board will suit your project? Here are some tips:

Choosing the Right Foam Board

Foam boards are easily formed into complex shapes that can be used for a variety of uses. The structure that forms this material is made with sturdy layers usually consisting of three parts, an inner layer of polystyrene foam that is sandwiched between two layers of bleached, semi-gloss white clay coated paper. Self-adhesive foam boards are the perfect choice when required for cold mounting photos and artwork on to foam board, while pressure-sensitive gatorfoam is chosen for mounting exhibits and signs where strength and rigidity are considered a must. A type of foamboard that is most widely used for photo mounting purposes is the Sintra PVC board.   So depending on your needs, you can pick from the vast variety of foam boards available from

Deciding the Size and Thickness

PVC products are available in a variety of thicknesses; commonly available for use in 1, 2, 3, 6, and 13 mm. Foam boards have recently become a popular backing in picture framing, with archival-quality variants now available through several manufacturers. The product, available at is ideal for screen printing, die cutting, mounting, framing and prototypes and is available in various sizes for your subjective requirements. Other than that, you can find all the basic foam boards including FomeCor, Acid-Free foamboard, self-adhesive foam board and many other varieties. You can get any foam board of your choice either with self-adhesive (pressure sensitive) or heat-activated coatings, which will make your task of mounting a cakewalk. 

Applying Adhesives

Although foam boards are quite convenient to work with, a common problem with certain foam boards such as the clay-coated foamcore is that it does not accept certain types of paint and some glues such as superglue, which is not suitable for bonding. Using such products to bind certain foam boards must be avoided as solvents used in some paints and glues can dissolve the foam center causing weakness and breakdown of the structural integrity of the foamboard.

Water-based glues if over saturated can warp the fibers in the outer layers upon drying causing warping. This can be addressed by adhering a layer to the reverse side. Best results are typically obtained by using double sided adhesive sheets or by using pre-coated self-adhesive foamboard, in case you want to dry mount your prints and photographs. After having mounted your photograph onto self-adhesive foamboard, make sure to allow some healing time during which you keep your mounted work flat to ensure it does not warp before you assemble the image in a picture frame. For temporary mounting applications, use a plain foam board and then apply re-positionable spray adhesive to one of the surfaces, either the back of the image or the front side of the board.
Whatever be the purpose, using foam boards will not only make your project look great but also ensure that it lasts long.

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