EVA Foam has become the go-to crafting material for a lot of crafters and especially for cosplayers and prop makers. And it is no surprise why, it is quite cheap, easy to use, very versatile and lightweight. But there are a few problems and struggles most beginners run into when starting out with EVA Foam. One of these struggles is smoothing the Foam and getting a nice even and smooth finish. After reading this article you will know everything, that you need to know in order to get smooth edges on all of your EVA Foam Projects.
So how do you smooth edges on EVA Foam? The short answer is, by sanding it. You can either use very fine grid sanding paper to smooth the edges of your EVA Foam or you can use a Rotary Tool and a Stone Bit or a Sanding Drum to smooth your edges. You can get rid of fuzzy leftover foam bits by going over the sanded area with a Heat Gun or a Blowtorch.
Getting Smooth Edges on EVA Foam Using a Rotary Tool
The fastest and probably easiest way to get smooth edges on EVA Foam is by using a Rotary Tool. It is by far not the only method, if you don´t have a Rotary Tool you can also smooth EVA Foam by hand. In the next section down below I will go over how to do that as well.
A Rotary Tool is a power tool with a rotary tip that can be equipped with a wide variety of attachments. Most rotary tools already come with a variety of tips right out of the box.
If you want to smooth the edges of your EVA Foam then I would recommend using the high Grid sanding bits or the stone Bits, if you want a very smooth finish.
Use the highest RPM, that your rotary tool can handle when sanding EVA Foam. This will ensure, that the Edges of the Foam will be smooth when you go over them with the sanding bit.
If you want an ultra-smooth finish, then I would recommend getting a stone bit. The stone bit will give your foam a very smooth finish and you can also use the stone bits for very fine details or engravings on your EVA Foam.
I personally prefer the stone bits when I am smoothing my EVA Foam. It’s by far the fastest and best-looking method for smoothing EVA Foam in my Opinion.
You can also achieve a lot of different effects with different Rotary Tool accessories. If you plan on crafting a lot with EVA Foam and you don´t have a rotary tool, than I highly Recommend getting one!
My Favorite Rotary Tool and the one I Recommend getting is the Dremel 3000. It is the best tool for the best price. I have my Dremel Rotary Tool for over two years and I have used it a lot and it still works perfectly.
If you want a good Rotary Tool Starter Kit, then you can get a really good Dremel right here on Amazon or at your local Hardware store.
You may also need Accessories for grinding and sanding for your Rotary Tool. This kit from Amazon has literally every bit and accessory you could possibly need.
The Link above is an affiliate link. You can support me by using the link above. It will not cost you anything more and I will get a small commission. I only recommend tools, that I truly like and also use.
Getting Smooth Edges On EVA Foam Without Power Tools
If you don´t have a Rotary Tool and you don´t want to use any power tools, then don´t be discouraged because there is still a way to smooth your EVA Foam.
Using a Rotary Tool will be a lot faster but you can also hand sand your Foam edges to get a smooth finish.
Start with a little rougher Sandpaper grit of around 240 grit to shape your EVA Foam. Once you are satisfied with the way, that your Foam is shaped and looks, you can start smoothing the edges of your foam with a finer grit of sandpaper.
Take 600 or 800 grit and start to sand the rough edges of your EVA Foam. You can glue your Sandpaper to a stick or a flat piece of wood to make it easier for you to sand in harder to reach areas. Try to not apply too much pressure in the beginning or you could end up with a very fuzzy endge instead of a smooth one.
Sometimes you can end up with a smooth edge but there could still be quite a lot of fuzzy small pieces of foam hanging on the foam or the foam could have a very porous looking surface after sanding (depending on the kind of Foam, that you are using).
If that is the case, then you can heat seal the surface of the foam by going over these areas with a torch or simply with a lighter. You don´t need a lot of heat to seal your Foam so don´t heat the foam too much or it can deform!
If you can´t seem to get smooth edges with these Methods, then you might be using a very soft EVA Foam, which can be hard to sand smooth sometimes.
The DIfferent Types of EVA Foam and The Best EVA Form for Smooth Edges
There are quite a lot of different EVA Foams out there. The most well-known type is probably the cheap floormat EVA -Foam. It is black, about 1 inch thick, and has a texture on one side.
This is the cheapest EVA Foam and also the most used one. Getting a smooth finish on this foam can be a little hard, however. This is mainly because the Foam is not as dense as other foams. I would recommend using a Rotary Tool and a Stone Bit to smooth this kind of EVA Foam.
My Favorite Kind of Foam and also the Foam I tend to work with almost always is the High-Density EVA Foam. This Foam is very dense. It comes in a lot of different Thicknesses and it can be sanded very easily. Getting a smooth edge on this type of foam is very easy. You can either use a Rotary Tool or you can easily hand sand this type of Foam as well.
If you are interested in High-Density EVA Foam, then you can buy them from Amazon right here.
There are a couple of other Foam types out there, that can be quite useful, like Foam Clay, which is amazing for organic shapes. But I mostly stick to the High-Density EVA Foam.
Can You Use Sandpaper on EVA Foam?
This is a question, that I am getting quite a lot. Some crafters tried to sand their EVA Foam and didn´t get good results, so I decided to answer this question separately and a little more in-depth.
So can you use Sandpaper on EVA Foam? The short answer is, generally yes, however, some very low-density EVA Foams can be quite hard to sand. If the Foam has a medium to high-Density, then the Foam can be easily sanded with regular Sanding Paper. If the Foam is a low-density Foam, then a Rotary Tool with a stone sanding bit can be used.
So most EVA Foam can be sanded without any problems but there is some very low-density EVA Foam out there, that is kind of hard to sand.
One such Foam is the LED EVA Foam. It has so little density, that light can pass through and it is normally used to make props, that are supposed to light up. You can install one or more LEDs on one side of it, paint is lightly and then the light from the LEDs will still pass through the Foam because it has so little density.
I would recommend sanding this kind of EVA Foam with a stone sanding bit and a Rotary tool. I used this type of Foam for an Escape Game Prop and it is kind of hard to work with. So if you are a beginner, then I would recommend not using it in the beginning. Or you will have a hard time working with it.
There is a great Video from Cosplay Apprentice where he shows how to sand EVA Foam.