How to Make a Styrofoam Cutter

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How to Make a Styrofoam Cutter

Styrofoam is a great medium for a variety of projects. You can make everything from decorative pieces to crown moldings (Tips on how to install crown molding). It is not difficult to make your own Styrofoam cutter that can provide you with a quick and easy way to do all the projects you need without a lot of time, expense or experience. Materials will vary depending on the type of cutter you are attempting to make. The hot wire cutter is the one used most often. There are a number of ways to make one. These are also dependent on what you want to make with them. Larger cutters are used for larger products such as airplane models, while smaller cutters are used for finer detail and smaller work.

This guide is for a smaller cutter:

Required Materials

  • Wire
  • Power supply between 4-7 volts
  • Wood or other material to form the frame
  • Glue
  • Nails

Required Tools

  • Wire cutters
  • Tape
  • Glue gun
  • Drill
  • Hammer or screw driver


  1. Decide on the size of the cutter you want to make
  2. Take the wood or other material to form the base and create a solid flat piece cut to the appropriate dimensions for your particular project. You want something flat that will be able to hold the piece of foam you are working on adequately. It also needs to fit on the surface you are planning to use. Since this is a small cutter, for example something that is 1 ft by 1.5 ft may work for a larger application, whereas a 1 ft by six inch piece may work better for smaller applications
  3. Create the arm that will hold the wire by gluing a single upright piece to the base. This can also be nailed or screwed in depending on the type of material being used.
  4. Attach another piece parallel to the baseboard of the cutter. This forms the outward arm that will provide the top anchor for your wire. This piece can either be screwed in or glued depending on the type of materials being used
  5. Next, place a screw or nail into the arm and into the baseboard.
  6. Take a length of wire. (Length is dependent on the height of the arm, as well as how much wire it takes to create a tight straight line from top to bottom.)
  7. Now, attach the power supply. This can usually be done with alligator clips attached to a battery or other type of Power supply.
  8. Test

Tips and Warnings

  • Be careful when using the wire. Even the small voltage being used will create a large amount of heat on the wire that can cause burns
  • Test the voltage to find out which voltages and power supplies work best for which types of projects and foams
  • It is a good idea to use a lightweight but durable material for the base and arm of your cutter. This makes it easier to use materials such as hot glue, rather than screws and nails to put it together.

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