Manning Makes Stuff - Halloween decorations, paper mache masks, costumes, party ideas, and more

Manning Makes Stuff - Halloween decorations, paper mache masks, costumes, party ideas, and more

Best deal I’ve found for buying foam board: Deals/Dollar Tree

Published by Manning on June 22nd, 2015

I use foam board (aka foam core) for the base of almost all my big art projects: my paper maché masks, Halloween decorations, etc. I go through tons of this stuff, and I’ve finally found a really great deal for buying it in bulk.

I have a Deals store (aka Deal$) near me, and they used to carry foam board in their store for just a dollar per 20″x30″ sheet; this was an amazing deal, as the art store near my house charges $2.41 per sheet, according to their website. I was bummed that my local Deals store stopped carrying the stuff, but I later found out you can order it on their site, in boxes of 25 sheets, for $25! And you can choose the “pick up in store” option so there’s no shipping charge! Fantastic.

Here’s the link to order 25 sheets of foam board on the Deals website. They’re apparently the same company as Dollar Tree, and you can find the same exact deal on the Dollar Tree website. Who knows, if it shows up as out of stock on one site it might still be available on the other.

If those links no longer work, just go to the Deals or Dollar Tree website and search for foam board; that’s what I did.

Anyway, I bought a box last year for my Mardi Gras and Halloween projects, used all of it, and just bought another box for this year’s projects. The foam board sheets are 20″x30″, and they’re 3/16″ thick (this is the standard width for most foam board you’ll find in art stores or whatever). The site only lists them as being available in black, which is fine. Black is actually better for most of my Halloween projects, however, you’ll need a white China marker or grease pencil or something along those lines when you’re drawing/measuring/etc. No big deal. Fyi, they sheets are black on the front and back, but the edges and interior are white.

Weirdly, the second time I ordered a box of 25 sheets, the site still listed them as black, but when I received them they were white! No big deal, just something to be aware of. For my projects the foam board always gets covered with paper maché or paint or whatever, so the color really doesn’t matter.

This cheap foam board is of lower quality than what you’d find in an art store, but I have no complaints. I’m able to cut very precise shapes with an X-acto knife, and that’s really all I need. It’s sturdy and lightweight and great for all kinds of projects. I’ll probably keep ordering and working my way through a box of 25 sheets per year as long as I can get the stuff.

A ton of foam board went into my violin skull mask. See more work-in-progress pics here.

Update: I recently ran out of my beloved cheap foam board and bought two higher-quality boards from a nice art store. The difference was very noticeable! The high quality foam board was much harder to cut; it’s a much tougher material, and it’s also smoother, sturdier, and a bit heavier. The cheap stuff sometimes has little dense blobs inside that make it hard to cut a straight line, and the high quality stuff did not have this. The cheap boards are much softer and easier to drag an X-acto through. And let’s not forget they’re less than half the price of the good stuff! After using both cheap and fancy boards on some recent projects, I can say I definitely prefer the cheap ones. I just ordered another box of 25!

See my article about working with foam board — cutting, painting, and more.

4 Responses to “Best deal I’ve found for buying foam board: Deals/Dollar Tree”

  1. Dwanda Says:

    Thanks for good information. Do you think the foam board can used as ceiling or wall coverings?

  2. manning Says:

    Hi! If you’re making decorations, this kind of cheap foam board can definitely be used for ceiling or wall coverings; I’ve done this for some of my Halloween parties. I don’t think the quality would be good enough for real home decoration; the boards are often slightly warped so they wouldn’t sit perfectly flat on ceilings/walls.

  3. Victoria Says:

    You said you used 3/16? I found some that are 1/16 and I’m wondering how thick that would be

  4. manning Says:

    Hi Victoria! 1/16″ would be very thin — like maybe about the thickness of a plastic ruler. Could be fun to work with! But it almost definitely wouldn’t be as sturdy as the 3/16″ stuff; it’s about the thickness of a pencil. I bet the 1/16″ sheets would be so easy to cut, though.

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