Foam boards can transform a space into an art gallery, they are easy to look and look great with photographs and artworks. If you’re not really keen on paying extra to get foam board prints done by a professional printer, then a quick DIY will not only cost you less, it also will bring out your creative side.
DIY foam board prints, however, can be very tricky. It is far better to do a little research on foam boards before you start working on your DIY project. Using the wrong glue on a foam board can result in disappointment and wasted cost and time. Pay careful attention so you can learn how to glue foam board the right way.
Foam board, also known as foam core board, is a signage and printing material that is made up of a dense foam core squashed between two sheets of matte paper. The foam core is made from polystyrene, which is one of the worlds most common types of plastic, used in the production of Styrofoam. Foam board is ultra lightweight because of the polystyrene core that is basically 95-98% air.
Foam board mounting
Before we get into the best types of glue for foam boards, it’s great to discuss what foam board mounting is and the two types available. Foam core mounting is a common technique used for displaying pictures. It involves adhering an image to a board with a foam core and a matte paper surface.
Mounting an image or poster on foam core is aesthetically pleasing and complements any image without overpowering it. Foam board mounting is affordable, lightweight and can last long, especially when it is shielded from the outside elements aka water and sun.
Foam board mounting is the method of affixing a printed image to a foam board for display. You can easily do this with glue, adhesive spray, or double-sided adhesive sheets. However, most foam boards come with self-adhesive coatings.
DIY’s are quite easy to attempt if you have very steady hands. A lack of steadiness will cause air bubbles and wrongly affixed picture. However, if the print is on the larger side, it might be better to leave the mounting to a professional mounting service, which is typically affordable, fast, and leaves you less frustrated. Working with larger prints require proper tools and a spacious workspace.
Using the wrong materials and techniques can cause bubbles, wrinkles, and warping. An essential rule of thumb is: if you’d need to take the foam board to a print shop to print the image you’re about to mount, its best to leave the foam core mounting for the print shop as well.
Advantages of Foam board Mounting
If you’re trying to spend within your budget, but still make your space look like you spent a ton of cash on décor, foam core mounting is your best friend. Because it is affordable, you can buy as many as you want and affix it around your walls. Foam core is super lightweight, which makes it easy to hang large images such as photos on the walls or suspended from ceilings without worries.
The lightweight foam board is also easy to transport from one space to another.
Although foam board is susceptible to wear and tear, it is incredibly affordable and can be replaced without shedding a tear.
Disadvantages of Foam Board Mounting
As mentioned earlier, foam boards do not take well to all adhesives, and they can be picky! Some glues and paints can interact with the foam, causing it to dissolve or melt… yikes. Water-based glues can also affect the integrity of the print, causing the out layers to warp as it dries. Hence, dry mounting techniques are the best route.
Some foam boards have a slightly acidic surface, which means you that they are not compatible with archival images.
Fortunately, acid-free, foam core glue options are available in the market for use with fine art and photographs that require framing.
Just like with water-based glues, foam boards are prone to water damage. Photos and posters mounted on foam boards can be damaged once they get in contact with moisture. So, it is best to keep foam board mounted pictures and arts indoors for preservation. Also, avoid damp places such as the kitchen or the bathroom.
Mounting on Foam Board Vs. Printing on Foam Board
Foam board mounting is when you adhere a preprinted image to a foam board. On the other hand, foam board printing skips the affixing process and prints the image directly onto foam board with the use of high-quality printing machine.
Foam board printing has excellent advantages, which include incredibly vibrant images, prolonged picture life, and you also get the option of cutting the artwork into four sections for display. Foam board printing or direct printing can be laminated to form a moisture barrier.
By laminating the print, the image will be less likely to warp, meaning the display can stay outdoors without getting affected by the elements. Mounted photos, however, should never be left outdoors for prolonged hours.
What Glues to use on Foam boards | Best for foam sheets and boards
Not all glues and adhesives can be used on foam boards. So, we’ve rounded up some of the best glues you can find in your local crafts store.
Original Gorilla Glue: This glue is sold at most stores and comes in either brown or clear. It's great for gluing foam boards together since you can either brush or roll the glue on both surfaces. Wait for about 15 minutes for the surface to dry out before sticking the surfaces together.
3M 30NF Green Fastbond Contact Adhesive: This glue is also referred to as the Green Glue, the 30NF Green Fastbond Contact Adhesive is a reliable brand. It is a water-based contact Foam board adhesive with low VOCs (volatile organic compounds). This craft foam glue will cost you a bit, but it adheres properly to several materials and does not eat away at the foam. Apply the glue on the foam board and allow it to dry completely, then place your print on the foam board, it will bond on contact.
Construction adhesives: There’re a ton of constriction adhesives specified for foam use. Glues such as Loctite PL 300 Foam board VOC Latex Construction Adhesive, Loctite Power Grab All Purpose Construction Adhesive, or Liquid Nails LN604 Projects & Foamboard Adhesive. You’ll need a standard caulk gun to dispense this glue. You can buy a pressurized applicator equipped with a trigger for easy dispensing when buying the Loctite Power Grab.
Spray adhesives: 3M 78 Polystyrene Foam Insulation Spray Adhesive comes in an aerosol can and dries pretty fast. This spray is designed precisely for insulation foam and does not eat away at the foam. 3M Foam Fast 74 Spray Adhesive Clear and 3M 90-24 Hi-Strength 90 Spray Adhesive both come in aerosol cans and bond foam and fabric. It's effective on different mediums s0 if you want to glue foam to wood or other materials such as paper, cardboard, plastic, metal, and more then this is the one for you. Hands down it is the best adhesive for foamboard to concrete.
Wood glue or carpenters glue: Elmer’s E7330 Carpenter’s Wood Glue Max is a versatile glue that adheres to most surfaces. Spread evenly on the surface to use and join together, put pressure, and leave to dry. It is non-toxic and cleans up easily.
Hot glue: Before using hot glue on foam board, you’ll need to paint the foam with latex paint first. With hot glue, you’ll have to the workplace the piece as quickly as possible because hot glue cools quickly, leaving little time to make any adjustments to your project.
Hopefully, this guide on the 6 best glues for foam core was helpful! We highly recommend the original gorilla glue as it's consistent and strong, but all of the above will work ( just be careful with the hot glue).