How to Shape Upholstery Foam

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this city has brought to you by sailrite

visit for all your project

supplies tools and instructions in this

video we're gonna show you how to shape

foam the foam can be shaped in a variety

of ways professional upholsterers will

often use an angled die grinder or a

drill with an abrasive pad those

electric-powered tools make quick work

of shaping foam

however mistakes can easily be made and

all sudden you have a divot rather than

a smooth consistent surface if you want

to avoid those possibilities you may

want to consider making your own shaping

tool in this video we'll show you how to

cut your foam and shape it so we have

our old foam bookend to the new foam and

what I'm going to use is I'm going to

use my marker remember this is

compressed a little bit so I'm

especially at the end I'm gonna use my

marker and try to get a measurement that

it'll be a little bit bigger than you

know original piece if you're using old

foam as we are to cut the shape into the

new foam remember that the old foam

because it's been in the cover for years

may be compressed slightly so down the

length I'm going to strike a line that

way I can use that as a reference to

where to cut with my blade and then I'm

gonna put a line here as well so you put

a straight edge on here and just strike

this line all the way across making sure

that it's straight or parallel with the

foam and we'll do that same thing here

with this mark we need to cut away some

of this foam there's too much to shape

here okay if we were to cut from line to

line that I struck on there using this

ruler here that's clear you can see

we'll cut into the arch a little bit so

what we're gonna do is we're gonna cut

outside of that these two lines they're

used as a reference I believe it's the

same thing with this yep so you would be

cutting into the arch there so again

we're gonna cut to the outside of those

lines using them as a reference the

easiest way to cut the

a wedge from the two sides is to use the

sûreté blade foam saw here we're using

it with the base installed that base can

also be removed this keeps our cut line

nice and straight because you can easily

control it so you get the appropriate

angle down the length of our foam the

more consistent this cut is the easier

it will be to shape the foam an

alternative is to use a electric kitchen

knife that is used often for a

Thanksgiving dinners here it works

fairly well it's a little bit more

difficult to control the blade and it

doesn't cut nearly as well as the

sailrite laid foam saw but it does work

we're only gonna cut about two feet at

the phone with the electric kitchen

knife then we're gonna switch back to

the sarah blade foam saw because it does

a much better job here the base of the

sailrite foam saw has been removed so

depending on the wedge if that base gets

in the way you can operate it without it

if you like now let's compare the two

cuts so as you can see the electric

kitchen knife works fairly well but i've

got a lot more inconsistencies in the

foam and this will only work with the

medium density or lower it will not work

well with a high density foam whereas

the sailrite blade foam saw if you look

over here where we started it's so much

more consistent than the electric

kitchen knife and this works with medium

density high density low density foams

and you will get more consistent cuts

with it now it's time to shape the foam

for the DIY or a lid off of uh I believe

it's a spaghetti glass spaghetti

container works well as a sander and I'm

just gonna use a screw and punch some

holes in it to make a great shaping tool

for my foam so we found four di wires

that's a tool like this actually works

quite well because it you can't make a

mistake it is such a slow process

so all I'm gonna do is just come across

the foam and shape the edges so they are

round now a good cut makes this job much

easier because I don't have to worry

about all these gouges from the electric

kitchen knife that's over here I'm gonna

have to work on getting those out so

using a tool like this we can shape the

foam slowly and because it's it's not on

a tool it's nearly impossible to create

a gouge in your foam so you can shape

foam slowly this is almost like being an

expert carver or what do you call it

sculptor now that's basically all you're

doing here is you're sculpting the foam

making sure that you're not creating any

gouges or indents in the foam if you go

and giving it a rounded look this tool

actually works well with medium density

foams and high density foams as long as

they're a polyurethane foam and you can

make it yourself you'll find it the

sailrite website that we have a variety

of polyurethane foams from high density

to medium density and several with

antimicrobial treatments on them so they

work well for wet environments and that

the mold and mildew does not grow to the

foam you'll find that all at sailrite so

here's the side that was kind of the

electric kitchen type all the way to

here and you can see there's more gouges

so we're gonna have to try to work those

gouges out but i think we can do that

with the shaper as well definitely an

indent there we they have to smooth it

out or we have to shape the whole thing

so that that indent disappears

so we want to look down the length of

this and make sure that we don't have

any pits or any spots they're a little

bit larger than others at the ends it's

kind of hard to do because it's the ends

but we'll get those a little bit better

- I'm just looking over the overall

shape of it it looks pretty good on both

sides now this is a 60 grit grit sanding

block and you can use this to do your

final shaping it's not going to take off

much but it is going to take off all

those loose fibers it does take off a

little bit at a time so if you want to

do your final shaping and make sure

everything still looks good you can use

a sanding block like this okay we

vacuumed it and now we're gonna slow off

any excess that might be on the foam

this is so foam quarter-inch and all I'm

doing is kind of a little bit oversized

right now so if you there are any

inconsistencies this can help with that

and also because of the fact that we

need our foam a little bit thicker so

this so foam has a fabric backing on one

side meant to hold a stitch if you have

to sew through it for channeling and

then the other side the polyurethane

foam we're going to apply the glue to

the fabric side we're gonna glue it with

the foam lock spray adhesive from


so you want to apply the glue in one

direction down the entire length then

we'll apply it in the other direction

then for a permanent bond you want to

spray the foam on the top and the two

sides not these ends same process coat

it well okay the glue is now tacky we've

waited a few minutes and what I like to

do is lay this so foam on the tabletop

making sure that this is centered

because it's about the width of our foam

there we go now I'll start at the center

and pull it up applying a little bit of

pressure we do not need more thickness

than just this quarter-inch you could

use a half-inch if you needed more or

you could wrap to the underside as well

we don't need to do that and the same

thing with this one we'll cut off the

excess with scissors it can gum up your

scissors even if the glue becomes cured

all the way so you may want to use an

old pair of scissors rather than a good

bite they're really nice

this new rectangular piece of foam is

now shaped and ready for application in

our upholstery project for more free

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i'm eric grant and from all of us here

at sailrite thanks for watching