Materials like tiles, plywood, or glass are used for interior panels. But what makes Styrofoam a better option for the panels is that this material serves as a home insulation, too. A room with Styrofoam panel can also keep the outside noise away. No wonder why musicians choose Styrofoam over other panel materials. The only problem with this is cutting it cleanly.
Styrofoam is light but compact. However, these properties make it more difficult to cut. Maybe you have already tried cutting a Styrofoam for an arts and crafts project. Doing this with a regular cutter leaves uneven edges. Worse, it leaves crumbly portions. This should not be a problem if using Styrofoam with uneven edges and size is okay. But for panels, Styrofoam should have smooth finish and should have the same sizes.
The single most effective way to cut Styrofoam—whether it will be for a panel or not—is with a special hot wire. This works by melting the material so you can cut through it without problems. The end result? Smooth finish and less crumbly surface. Breakage is reduced, too. Follow the steps below on how to properly use a hot wire to cut Styrofoam panels:
Draw the desired Styrofoam shape. Do this on the back of the material, or the part, which will be hidden. Use a marker or pencil to draw the shape. The drawing will be your guide when cutting the Styrofoam.
Cut the Styrofoam with a hot wire cutter. Plug the tool and wait for it to become hot enough for cutting the material. Most of these cutters come with a dial for setting the temperature. Better read the tool’s manual before using it. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Once the cutter is ready, start cutting the Styrofoam. Follow the drawing you have made. If there are parts that need to be cut inside the drawing, do that after cutting the shape’s outline.
Check the Styrofoam’s size. After cutting the shape, check if it still needs more adjustment. Cut more from the outline or inside the drawing if you have to. Continue doing this until you get your desired shape.
Turn off the hotwire cutter and clean up the area. You may discard the left-over Styrofoam but it will be better to recycle it. If you can’t think of what to do with the crumbs and the left-over, keep them in a plastic bag and save them for future use. Maybe you can use these for a special arts and crafts project.
A hotwire cutter can be expensive especially if you will only use the tool once or twice. If you know someone who has one, consider borrowing the tool or renting it.
If not, try to ask a store that sells Styrofoam decoration. They must have a hotwire cutter for the material. Maybe they won’t mind if they will cut the Styrofoam to your desired shape. They might ask for some fee but that fee will be far way cheaper than buying your own hotwire cutter.
But if you will be cutting more Styrofoam panels in the future, better invest in a hotwire cutter now. Who knows, this tool might become your way to earn extra money.