How to Cut Upholstery Foam

beige couch with throw pillows
  • 1-3 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-80
What You'll Need
Upholstery foam
Electric Knife or scissors
Utility knife
Tape measure or ruler

Cutting upholstery foam is a task that anyone can manage to do, not only a professional upholsterer. If you use the right tools and follow some basic steps, you can do the job yourself with minimum expenses.

Check Cushions

Check couch or chair cushions. If you notice that they have been starting to sag, appear a bit unsightly or are not as comfortable as they used to be, then you may need to change their foam.

tape measure


Take the necessary measurements of the cushions you will be changing the foam for. Make sure to add extra inches on each side to allow for errors, seams, and other alterations. The thickness is important since you will have to select foam which will accommodate the cushion cover, as otherwise, you would have to change the cushion covers as well.

Purchase the Foam

Once you have taken all the necessary measurements you can purchase the required amount of foam. Foam is available in craft stores, haberdashery, and upholstery shops. You need to select a type of foam that has the right thickness especially since the length and width will then be attained during the cutting process. Also, you need to take into consideration that at the store you will probably find several types of foam. Some foam may be softer than others. Hence, make sure you select the type which you prefer and which best suits the couch or chair where the foam will eventually be utilized. Also, keep in mind that since you will be cutting the foam yourself you should opt for foam which is not too dense in order to facilitate the cutting job.

Mark the Measurements

Mark the measurements which you had taken onto the foam you purchased using a marker. This will help you to cut the foam more accurately.

stacks of thick foam

Start Cutting the Foam

Place the foam on the floor or onto a hard, level surface and use an electric knife to cut along the lines you marked if the foam is not so thin. Move the knife slowly along the markings so that you can see your progress because you will need to cut accurately and linearly so as to ultimately have satisfying results. On the other hand, if the foam is relatively thin you may use scissors to do the cutting. Also, you could consider placing a piece of wood, such as plywood beneath the foam so that you will not mark or chip the underlying surface while cutting. During the cutting make sure to be as precise as possible. Take your time and exercise caution since you will be using a sharp tool.

Cut the Curved Edges

Some cushions might have curved edges. For these cases, it is best to use a utility knife.

By following these relatively simple guidelines you will manage to cut your upholstery foam yourself without much effort or expense.