Beyond the Size

Foam Boards: Pros Cons and Common Uses

Foam boards are a versatile and lightweight material that is used for a variety of purposes. From arts and crafts projects to professional applications, foam boards provide a stable and uniform surface that is easy to manipulate.

In this article, we will discuss the different sizes and thicknesses of foam boards, as well as their applications in picture frame backing and construction of architectural models.

Standard Foam Board Sizes

Foam boards come in a range of sizes and thicknesses, allowing for customization depending on the specific requirements of a project. The most common standard sizes for foam boards are 8×10 inches, 16×20 inches, 18×24 inches, 24×26 inches, and 26×48 inches.

These sizes are commonly used for printing and mounting purposes, as they fit standard ISO 216 printing paper sizes such as A0, A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, A7, and A8. The thicknesses range from 1/8 inch to 1 inch, providing options for both flexibility and stability.

Custom-sized Foam Boards

For projects that require sizes beyond the standard dimensions, custom-sized foam boards are available. These can be as large as 100 inches or more, depending on the manufacturer.

It is important to note that the stability of a custom-sized foam board depends on its thickness. A thicker foam board is more stable, while a thinner one is more flexible.

Uses of Foam Board

Backing for Picture Frames

Foam boards are commonly used as backing for picture frames. The foam board provides structure for the image, preventing the glass panel from coming into contact with the image.

It is ideal to use a double-sided tape to mount the image to the foam board, as this prevents moisture and dust from accumulating between the glass and the image. The foam board also creates a 3D effect, as it elevates the image from the wall.

Construction of 3D Architectural Models

Foam boards are essential tools for construction of 3D architectural models. They can be easily cut and shaped to create different structures, such as building facades, trees, and landscape features.

Foam boards are also lightweight, making it easy to move and manipulate the model during the construction process. They are commonly used in both amateur and professional settings, and can create a realistic and detailed model.


Foam boards are versatile materials that are commonly used in a wide range of projects. From picture frame backing to 3D architectural models, foam boards are a reliable and effective addition to any toolkit.

With customizable sizes and thicknesses, these boards are able to accommodate a range of projects and designs. With their easy-to-use and accessible features, foam boards continue to be a popular choice within the creative community.

Foam boards are widely beloved by artists, photographers, and other creative professionals for their versatility and flexibility. They are affordable, lightweight, and durable, making them extremely useful in a variety of different contexts.

However, like any material, foam boards have their upsides and downsides. In this article, we will take a closer look at the pros and cons of foam boards.



One of the biggest advantages of foam boards is their resistance to curling. Unlike paper and other materials that are prone to curling, foam boards remain straight, whether they are upright on metal shelves or leaned against a wall.

Additionally, foam boards are resistant to moisture and humidity, which makes them ideal for framing and mounting artworks. This resistance also means that foam boards have a longer lifespan than other materials and can be reused multiple times.


Another key benefit of foam boards is their lightweight nature. They are easy to carry and transport, which makes them an excellent choice for on-location work or in situations where you need to move them around.

Foam boards can also be used as temporary walls or shelves when propping up artwork for display.

Easy to Cut and Shape

Foam boards are incredibly easy to cut and shape, which makes them perfect for a range of arts and crafts projects. With the help of a pair of scissors or a template, you can easily create jagged edges, smooth curves, or other intricate shapes.

This makes foam boards an ideal choice for making cardboards, creating 3D objects, and building models.


Foam boards offer excellent printing options due to their glossy finish. They are perfect for printing photographs, as the colors are crisp and the images are vivid.

In addition, foam boards that have a matte finish provide a good contrast background for printed art pieces and other materials, and are a great alternative to glass for framing artworks.


Not for Outdoor Use

The main issue with foam boards is that they are highly sensitive to heat and UV rays. Therefore, they are not a good choice for outdoor use or prolonged exposure to sunlight, as they can fade and lose their brightness over time.

This means that foam boards should only be used indoors, where they will be protected from the elements.

Not Waterproof

Foam boards are not waterproof and are prone to curling and warping when exposed to moisture. This means they are not ideal for use in kitchens, bathrooms, or any other areas where water may be present.

In addition, foam boards are not recommended for long-term storage of artwork and other materials that are sensitive to moisture.


Foam boards are not environmentally friendly as they are non-recyclable. Once foam boards reach the end of their life, they typically end up in landfills, where they can take hundreds of years to break down.

This means that their use can have a negative impact on the environment, so it is important to dispose of them properly.

Breaks Easily

Lastly, foam boards are rigid materials that can break easily when dropped or bumped. Therefore, they should be handled with care to avoid any damage.

Although they are durable and long-lasting when properly handled, they are not as sturdy as other materials like wood or metal. In conclusion, foam boards are a versatile material that has many advantages such as being lightweight, sturdy, easy to cut and shape and printable.

But they also have some major downsides such as not being waterproof, non-recyclable, and susceptible to wear and tear. It is important to weigh the pros and cons before deciding whether foam boards are the best choice for your particular project.

In conclusion, foam boards are a valuable and versatile material that have both advantages and disadvantages to consider when deciding whether to use them for a project. Their sturdy and lightweight construction, easy cutting and printing capabilities, and affordability make them ideal for a variety of applications in various industries.

However, their lack of durability when exposed to moisture and UV rays, non-recyclability, and tendency to break easily are important considerations to bear in mind. The

FAQs below cover some of the most common questions that people have about foam boards.


Q: What are the standard sizes for foam boards? A: The most common foam board sizes are 8×10 inches, 16×20 inches, 18×24 inches, 24×36 inches, and 26×48 inches.

Q: Are foam boards waterproof? A: No, foam boards are not waterproof and are prone to curling and warping when exposed to moisture.

Q: Can foam boards be used outdoors? A: It is not recommended to use foam boards outdoors, as they are sensitive to UV rays and can fade over time.

Q: Are foam boards recyclable? A: No, foam boards are non-recyclable, and should not be disposed of in regular recycling bins.

Q: How can foam boards be printed on? A: Foam boards can be printed on using a glossy finish for photographs or a matte finish for contrast background for printed art pieces.

Q: How can foam boards be cut or shaped? A: Foam boards can be easily cut and shaped using a pair of scissors or a template to create smooth curves, jagged edges, or other intricate shapes.

Q: Are foam boards sturdy? A: Yes, foam boards are sturdy and provide resistance to curling, making them ideal for framing and mounting artworks.

However, they can break easily if not handled with care. Q: Are foam boards lightweight?

A: Yes, foam boards are lightweight, making them easy to carry and transport, and can be used temporarily as walls or shelves. Q: How long do foam boards last?

A: Foam boards have a longer lifespan than other materials and can be reused multiple times if looked after properly.

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