There’s No Place Like “Foam” for the Holidays

There’s No Place Like “Foam” for the Holidays

I’ll admit it. That title may sound a little bit silly. However, making gifts such as pillows, cushions and other items using a foam pad for the filler can present serious problems.

It never fails that the polyfoam batting or formed foam that is available is never in the exact size that you need. For example, I recently made a cushion for a client’s wicker rocking chair. It needed to be 17″ by 18″ and the foam came in an 18″ by 18″ size.

Obviously, the pad needed to be cut. It was 4 inches in depth and a utility knife just wouldn’t cut it (pun intended).

The Thanksgiving Turkey Offered a Solution!

Whenever we carve the Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey, we always use an electric carving knife. Believe it or not, it makes a great tool for slicing foam as well.

custom pillow for wicker rocker

Custom pillow for wicker rocker

Marking the cut line carefully with a metal straightedge ruler, we pressed down lightly with the rule to stabilize the foam. Using the ruler for a guide, Steve carefully made the cut and the results were perfect. The electric knife makes a clean edge and the foam form was the correct size.

I made the cover from material the client brought and added a zipper so that the fabric could be washed. Her husband thought she had purchased the chair pad from a store. Always go the extra mile to keep your clients happy!

Be careful not to press down too hard or the resulting cut may have a bulge in it. Soon you will be able to make a straight, clean cut without using the steel ruler as a guide.

With practice, you will be able to cut more intricate edges by hand, such as diagonal cuts and curves.

I’ve used this technique on foam forms of different shapes. Cutting a “log” of foam created the perfect size for long cushions for beds or fireplace settings.

Please be careful while using the electric knife this way. I would suggest investing in a pair of cut-resistant gloves for this task.

Have a “Sew Good” day,

Mary Maurer

About Mary Maurer

I'm an experienced seamstress in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Along with mending and alterations, I design and make quilts, doggie vests and clothing for all occasions. I work with clients in Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville and all over Northwest Arkansas


  1. Hi Mary Just a tip for putting the foam in the cushion cover…if you use a piece of freezer paper around the foam block it will slide into the cover easily. The paper is also easily removed. Enjoying reading your blog! Kath

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