How To Cut Formica With A Utility Knife
Formica is a plastic laminate composite material that comes in different textures, colors, and finishes. What I love about it is its durability. Also, it’s quite easy to clean. I use it to cover my personal desk and kitchen counter. However, it can also be used in cabinet doors, cupboards, drawers, flooring, and more. If you want to use it as well, it’s good if you know how to cut Formica first. It’s not that difficult. In fact, you will only need to follow easy steps to achieve a professional installation job.
If you do the cutting yourself, you’ll be able to save time and money. Here’s the easiest way for you to do it:
What You’ll Need
Before you proceed in cutting the Formica, you need to gather all materials you need first. The things you need for this project are easy to find. In fact, you might even have them at home already.
Tape Measure - A tape measure is a flexible ruler that you can use in measuring and marking the length and width of any material. In this project, you’ll use it to measure the Formica. A self-retracting tape measure is recommended.
Pencil and Ruler - While you can use the tape measure in marking the Formica, it’s better if you prepare a ruler as well. A ruler is more stable than a tape measure, so it will not move so easily while you are making the necessary line. The pencil, of course, is used to make your markings visible.
Masking Tape - The masking tape is used to make the marking or line more visible. It also protects the edges of the Formica. Why do you have to use masking tape and not any other kind of adhesive? A masking tape does not damage the plastic laminate.
Piece of Plywood and Clamps - A piece of plywood and clamps are necessary to keep the Formica in place. You can also use an OSB or Oriented strand board. However, OSB is more expensive and not readily available. As long as you can secure the piece of plywood properly, it’ll be able to do a perfect job.
Utility Knife - In cutting the Formica, you have many options-- circular saw, laminate router bit, table saw, or a utility knife. Among the four of them, the latter is the cheapest and most readily available. With a utility knife, you only need a steady hand, and you’ll never go wrong.
Once you’ve gathered all the things you need, you can bring them all to your woodworking shop and start the process. Here’s what you should do.
Step 1: Prepare Your Formica
First of all, you need to get your Formica. If you have them in different sizes, take one that’s closer to the size of your table, countertop, or whatever furniture you want to cover with it. Lay down the Formica on your woodworking table.
Step 2: Measure the furniture
Using your measuring tape, take note of the furniture’s length and width. It’s essential that your information here is accurate. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a plastic laminate that’s too big or too small. Recheck the measurements if possible.
Step 3: Mark the Formica
Go back to your Formica. Using the measuring tape, ruler, and pencil, mark the lines where you will cut it. Again, check if the measurements you’ve made are accurate.
Step 4: Place a masking tape on the line
Get your masking tape. Then, trace the line you’ve made with a pencil with it. Use the extra layer of the tape at one of the edges. That is where you will start cutting later on. If you can’t see the pencil mark after you’ve put the masking tape, remeasure the Formica and remark it.
Step 5: Secure the Formica
You can secure the Formica by putting the piece of plywood on top of it. Make sure that the plywood is not within the marking. You just need to keep the Formica in place. Use two clamps to secure the piece of plywood on your working table.
Step 6: Cut the Formica
Using a utility knife, follow the markings you’ve made and make a clean cut. As long as possible, do not stop moving the utility knife once you’ve started cutting one side. Otherwise, you will not get a fine cut. If you don’t think your hand is stable enough, use the aid of a ruler. Once you’re done with one side, repeat this step with the other side of the Formica.
Step 7: Remove the excess parts
The best way to know whether or not you’ve made a clean cut is when the wasted area of the Formica breaks off easily when you lift it. However, if you notice that the excess parts don’t detach themselves smoothly, try cutting the Formica again.
A cut Formica is ready to be used. You can carefully use it on top of your chosen piece of furniture. Remember that if you do one step wrongly, you’ll end up damaging the Formica or getting one unfit for the furniture.
To ensure that your project is successful, here are more tips that you can use:
- The Formica is usually sold in a roll. Before you start cutting it, make sure that it is flat on a surface. Straighten the Formica using books, plywoods, or other weights.
- Make sure that there is no dust, grit, or dirt on the surface of the Formica before you begin measuring, marking, and masking it. Dirt can end up scratching the surface of the Formica.
- Measure the Formica twice and cut only once.
- A straight edge is a better alternative to a ruler. Use it if you have one.
- If you don’t have a piece of plywood, a better alternative is a book. Using wood or other materials with a sharp surface will only end up damaging the Formica.
- Protect your hand from the utility knife by wearing a glove. If you think that the glove will get in the way of cutting the plastic laminate, then you just have to be extra careful.
Do you think you can cut a Formica by yourself now? I hope that this guide has been helpful to you. If you are still having a problem with it, you can let me know in the comment section below. I’ll try to address any of your questions.