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"Foam Core Without Paper Backing?" Topic

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Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP10 Aug 2019 4:28 p.m. PST

Just curious if "Foam Core" can be purchased without the paper backing, in the USA?

I suspect it is called something else, without that, but am not sure what type of foam it is.

I see it appears to be available in the following thicknesses:

1/8" 3mm
3/16" 5mm
1/2" 13mm

Also, anyone know of craft shops or other major retailers carrying this stuff in the USA, or that is a low-cost shipper for small mail order purchases?

I'm primarily interested in the thicker sizes for trying to make a 15mm spacecraft or two out of it, so would like to avoid the need for too much layering of the really thin stuff.

Can it be filed and sanded to shape after cutting?

I'm aware you can remove the paper backing, but I'd rather not have to do that if I can avoid it.

Anyone know the technical name, while we're at it, of the type of foam I need (appears to be somewhat flexible, and is sold in sheets white, and other colors)?

Also, what type of glues are good for attaching the foam to itself, as well as perhaps a styrene or other plastic sheeting to the exterior, as well?

Dervel Fezian10 Aug 2019 4:42 p.m. PST

If you want to sand and shape it you are better of with something like this:


Or the blue foam equivalent.

redmist112210 Aug 2019 4:43 p.m. PST

Do you mean foam board used in housing construction? I find it in big sheet in 1" thickness at Home Depot. Typically comes in pink or blue in color.


leidang10 Aug 2019 6:03 p.m. PST

As stated above you can get it at any of the bog box home DIY stores. Usually in 1.2", 1", and 2".

If you want the thin stuff the cheap, dollar store brand of foam core has a paper coating that can very easily be peeled off.

Personal logo Dye4minis Supporting Member of TMP10 Aug 2019 6:54 p.m. PST

Dollar Tree ( verses Dollar General) sells foam core and their "USA" brand has the easiest paper to remove. It comes off clean and easy. Best of all, a 30 by 30 inch sheet is only a buck! It is about 1/4 inch thick. Hard to find foam cut that thin consistently. (in my experience.)

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP10 Aug 2019 7:58 p.m. PST

Thanks for all the replies and info.

No, I'm aware of the Extruded Polystyrene Foam used for homes, and have some of it. Seems like a decent choice as well.

I did pick up a square of it today, since Home Depot is finally carrying it in my neighborhood. They didn't previously. You can get the small 2'x 2' x 1" project panels for $6 USD, or the larger 4' x 8' x 1" for $23. USD $35 USD if you want the 2" thick, 4' x 8' sheet.

Want to get a proper wire cutting table, before I start playing with that stuff. Also need to look up again, which glue(s) to use for applying a styrene skin, and/or details to it, should I decide to do that, in order to protect it from damage during use and transport.

On the Traveller Facebook group, a guy has made a few 15mm spacecraft out of the other type of foam material, which appears to be semi-rigid, but also somewhat flexible too.

I called Joann's tonight, asking them this same question, and it appears to be called EVA Foam, if the person I spoke with is correct. Apparently, it's used by Cosplay people to make their outfits, and comes in 1/8", 3/16", and 1/2", or their metric equivalents. It doesn't have the paper skin, which is a plus as well, but runs a lot more than the cheap foam core material.

Given its flexibility, it appears it might be easier to work with – can be cut with a scalpel, razor knife, or even scissors, apparently. Don't know if it can be filed or sanded, but seems like that might work, given his nicely shaped models.

The guy making the scout-like vessel (perhaps its meant to be a gig instead), was even able to apply panel line detailing on the blue foam with a ballpoint pen.

Once painted, the models look superb. Even unpainted, in the blue foam, they look quite nice.

The Dollar Tree, and/or Dollar Store foam core is certainly very affordable, but I don't relish building up a 2" – 3"+ thick vessel by gluing that many layers together, hence my desire for the thicker stuff.

The thin stuff might work as a skin for a scout, with bulkheads inside to create the right shape, but I don't want to try using it on thicker, or more rounded models. Even the latter might work, if I had a heat gun, and/or glue that I could depend on, but I don't want to try that to start.

I suspect it will be much easier to make a solid-hulled, foam model, which will no doubt be more robust as well.

Wish there was a way to post a photo, or photos here, from my PC, since I can't seem to find the images he posted on FB on Google Images yet.

I'll try this from FB, but you probably have to log in to see the images at the link provided:


leidang10 Aug 2019 8:26 p.m. PST

I'd recommend the Proxxon table foam cutter when you get around to getting one. I got mine about 6 months ago and I don't know how I did anything without it before that.

You can even get jigs and fences from a company called shifting lands that makes it even more versatile.

Super 77 is a spray glue made for foam. Works really well if you follow the directions and treat it like contact cement (Spray both sides, let set for a few minutes and then put together).

Another option is the Gorilla Construction Adhesive. For some reason that brand thoroughly dries on foam when other construction adhesive doesn't. Best of luck with your project.

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP11 Aug 2019 3:35 a.m. PST

Terrain Tutor has a nice vid on PVC foamboard, it's uses, strengths, weaknesses, etc: YouTube link

Schogun11 Aug 2019 7:37 a.m. PST

The paper on foam core can be removed by simply soaking it in water for a while. Easy! I do it all the time when making buildings so I can etch the exposed side with a stone or brick texture.

CeruLucifus11 Aug 2019 1:45 p.m. PST

Some modelmakers source their thin foam from picnic plates.

I've experimented with cutting the flat middles out of foam picnic plates, to clad 28mm fantasy scenery with, but for that project I ultimately went with painted on texture, so at this point I haven't actually used the material.

Thanks for identifying EVA foam; I hadn't heard of that material before. I was wondering how to source a thin equivalent of EPS foam.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP11 Aug 2019 4:56 p.m. PST

I'm not sure now on the thinner Extruded Poly Foam, unless you special order it. Looks like my local HD only has the 1" thick stuff as their thinnest option.

It comes in 1/2" and 3/4" thick sizes from Corning (Pink Foam, if IIRC; Blue is for DOW). I've special ordered that in the past, but it wasn't easy, and I can't recall where I got it now. Probably Home Depot, I suspect, since they list a 3/4", 4' x 8' sheet, but that's not stocked in my area. You might be able to special order it. That's what I had to do.

I called both DOW and Corning directly, but they weren't a lot of help, back in the day (15 years, or so ago). Might be better equipped now to provide a list of retailers in your area. Perhaps a detailed internet search might work too.

I did come up with this offer from Amazon, for 4 x 12" x 12" sheets of the extruded stuff for $20 USD, which isn't too bad (does seem to be a bit high in price to me though, for the thin stuff), though I suspect if you order larger sheets it should be a lot less expensive for that thickness.


$23 USD for 1" thick at HD, for a 4' x 8' sheet, by comparison.

Sloth1963 Supporting Member of TMP13 Aug 2019 6:39 p.m. PST

Using the Jig from Shifting Lands and a Proxxon table you can get very thin sheets out of pink or blue foam. Shaving 1/8" slices is quite easily accomplished.

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