How Do You Cut Mattress Foam

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How to Cut Memory Foam without Messing Up the Whole Process

April 12, 2017 by Maria

A high quality material used in the preparation of mattresses, best memory foam mattress toppers, and pillows, memory foam is essentially a polyurethane material that comprises of extra chemicals to enhance the viscosity and density. Memory foam tends to soften up when brought in close contact with the heat of the body. As a result it wraps around a warm body and gives it a greater degree of comfort. Upon removal of weight, it recovers to the original shape with the recovery process being a very quick one. This is one of the main reasons why memory foam is highly rated as a bedding material. However, when it comes to cutting or shaping memory foam it can be a very challenging process. With the right kind of equipment your disposal, you can overcome this challenge and go about cutting memory foam down to the required size.

Getting a clean edge is where you need to start

One of the most common issues faced when it comes to cutting memory foam is that it does not give you a clean edge. Being too aggressive with the right tool or starting out with the wrong tool altogether contributes towards the foam becoming rough and jagged along the edges. You should use the right tool with care to ensure a smooth and clean cut for your memory foam.

Carving knife

A carving knife comes with a serrated blade compared to those knives that have a smooth blade on them. There are tiny points on these serrated tips which are crucial to providing a straight, clean cut on the memory foam. With the help of gentle, short back and forth motions you can saw through the foam. It is important to ensure that the foam is not compressed.

Electric knife

An electric knife that is commonly available is another option. This too comes with a serrated blade similar to what you get in a carving knife. This is especially useful if you are cutting foam with the help of a template. The edge could be your guide as you slide the knife along the template to get the cut.

Utility knife

Craft knives or utility knives are surgically sharp and this makes them a good choice for cutting memory foam. The secret to using this equipment lies in making a number of easy passes over the memory foam material. Rather than sawing through the foam – something you would usually do while using a serrated blade – start by making a shallow cut-line before eventually deepening it till you finally manage to cut through the foam.

Heavy-duty scissors

You can make use of heavy-duty scissors for cutting thinner quality memory foam. Short chops are helpful in getting the right kind of cut especially when you are using the part of the blades that meet near the handles.

Additional tools to put to use

Apart from the usual knives and cutters, there are a number of other tools that you can use for cutting and shaping memory foam – marking pens, straightedge, Drywall square. All of these will help you in getting lines to give an accurate cut to your memory foam.

Drywall square

These are ideal for cutting long and straight pieces of foam. Take the necessary measurements and place the implement on the foam to square it up. Keep your knees on top so that the square remains steady. The side of the square will act as your guide with a utility knife running along the edge to give you a nice, clean cut.

An alternative to a conventional Drywall square would be a chunk of plywood with straight edges. You can use it in a manner similar to that of a Drywall square set.

Secure it down if necessary

Large pieces of memory foam have sufficient magnitude of friction that helps in keeping the object in place when you are cutting it. When dealing with smaller pieces, it is recommended that you have some heavy object placed along the edge or clamp it down if necessary. This will prevent your cut from going awry.

Some advice with the cutting

It is important that the memory foam is kept on a hard surface with the cutting edges hanging out of the surface. Hold it in place with one hand and have your cutter in the other to cut the foam along the required lines and surfaces.

Also if you are using an electric knife ensure that your fingers or the electrical cord is kept away from the cutting blade. You also need to be in a comfortable position before starting to use a cutter for cutting memory foam. Last but not the least you need to be cautious with everything while cutting the memory foam because all of it can prove to be very lethal.

How To Cut A Mattress In Half

Mattresses are a common household item and can be costly depending on the type purchased. Once used most people dispose of it rather than recycle the mattress. With a little effort, you can convert them into other useful items in the house. For example, the most common types such as viscoelastic memory foam can be cut to smaller pieces and the resulting cushions used as smaller beds for the kids, car seats and used in the kernels as sleeping mats for the dogs. Not only is it an idea to dissect to recycle into other goods, but can also help in the disposal process in order to perhaps fit into your vehicle.

Mattresses range in size and density depending on their composition. From pocket spring to organic latex mattresses the ease of cutting through it depends on its structure. For example, an innerspring is relatively harder to cut through, but given the right tools and procedure, you can easily cut them into half too. The other foam mattresses are made of relatively soft and easy material to cut through.

For the purpose of this exercise, we decided to split ours into two, not to recycle or dispose of, but simply to reduce it in size and gain two from one. Below is the description of how we did it; your type might be a little different from the one whose description is given below but the steps followed should be relatively similar. The one cut into half below is an innerspring; therefore it is essential to know your mattress type before trying to cut it in half. Knowing that will help you identify the tools required and amount of labor needed.

Table of Contents

Step By Step Instructions

Tools Needed

  • A pair of scissors
  • A pair of pliers
  • A sewing machine or needle
  • Thimble
  • Dremel tool with a fiberglass reinforced cutting wheel
  • Strong sewing thread
  • A lot of straight pins
  • Wax
  • Staple gun
  • Sharp scalpel
  • Tape measure

Step 1: Cut Through The Outer Covering

With the help of the sharp scalpel make an incision on the softer outer covering and cut the cover right down the center of the mattress using the pair of scissors to expose the inner layer of springs. Using the tape measure, measure the midpoint and mark the springs to be cut through using the sharp scalpel. Make the marks conspicuous enough.

Step 2: Cut Through Springs

Use the Dremel tool to cut down the line of springs marked earlier with the scalpel. Be careful when doing this in order to avoid injury to the finger. Hold the tool steady because any jerky movement will break the wheel. Use the pliers to clip off any hard remnants of the spring that the Dremel can’t cut off.

Step 3: Fold Sharp Spring Ends

Using the pair of pliers carefully fold the sharp protruding ends of the metallic springs to form a new section of the cut mattress. The springs should be folded inwards to avoid injury when someone sits on it. Using a piece of cloth or rope, tie the springs of the new section together – this is for support.

Step 4: Close Up The Ends

Close the new ends of the mattress using the spare cover. You can either buy a new cover or use an old one depending on availability. Using the sewing needle cover the mattress end. Use the thimble while doing this to avoid injury to your finger. Use the wax to soften the thread and as a lubricant to make the sewing easy. Staple thoroughly the ends and trim the excess cover. Repeat the procedure to the other half of the mattress. You should now have two halves of the original mattress.

How to Cut Natural Latex

Perhaps you happened upon a piece of latex in our Clearance section that is just about the right size for your projects or maybe you have an old couch made of latex that you are ready to part with but you realize there is still life left in the foam, so you get creative. Your new project could use some natural latex but you want to save a few dollars by cutting it yourself and not paying us to cut it. Here is how you DIY a latex cut.


  • Electric Knife
  • Two Tables the same Height
  • Your Natural Latex Slab


The best tip I can give you is to use a slow, steady hand, not pulling the latex apart as you cut, but letting it sit still.

  1. Draw your cut on the latex with an extra fine tip permanent marker and a yardstick or an upside down tape measure. Make sure your line is straight as you will be watching it very closely when you are cutting. Do not draw your line according to the pinholes on the latex as they do not always line up vertically and horizontally to the edges of the latex. Rather measure from the actual edges of the latex.
  2. Place your two tables next to each order with a 5″ or so gap between them. Place the latex on the tables with the cut line in the space between the tables.
  3. An optional step, but perhaps beneficial step is lubricating your blades. If you have a silicone spray lubricant around, spray both sides of the blades to provide an easy cut.
  4. Position yourself in a comfortable position, accessible to the cut. Depending on how large your piece is, you may find it easiest to cut the latex if you crawl on top of it. If you do so, make sure your knees are not pulling on the area of latex around the cut.
  5. Position the cord of your knife so that it is not in your way as you move backward along the cut or in the cut’s way.
  6. Align your knife on the line, turn the blades on and very slowly, cut down your line. It is easiest to pull the knife toward you rather than to push it away from you. Keep your knife hand over the line so that you do not end up with a cut inches to the side of the line on the bottom of the piece. If you need to shift your position, turn the knife off first, adjust and resume. Do not stretch the latex when cutting. It is a very flexible foam and stretching or pulling it during your cutting will give you a wobbly cut line. The holes in the latex may give you a slightly wobbly drawn line; you may have to eyeball a straight line from each hole.
  7. Just like when you cut wood and leave behind sawdust, there will be a little shredded latex on the ground to sweep up.

Of course, if after reading this you have changed your mind about DIYing your cut, give us a call and we’ll cut it for you. To get a quote on a custom cut piece of latex, visit our Custom Cut Latex Calculator.

20 thoughts on “ How to Cut Natural Latex ”

Any tips on cutting latex for thickness rather than length or width? I have a 3″ thick slab that I will need to cut to different thicknesses to reupholster a chair…the seat cushion needs to be 4″ thick, and the back, arms and wings will be 1-2″, not including the wool batting. I have an electric knife, but as I’m effectively cutting “blind” I won’t know if I’m holding the knife level until the cut is done. I’m thinking of using a thin wooden (lauan) board to help keep the blade level, but I don’t know how helpful this will be. Thoughts?

Ah, cutting horizontally is quite tricky as you describe. Your idea of the wooden board is probably the same idea that I’m having: using a support for your blade or handle to help you keep it level. Say you wanted a 1″ deep cut and you had a 1″ x 1″ stripe of wood that you placed just on the edge of the latex under your blade. Note though, the wood’s presence would shorten your cut as it would remove the 1″ or so of usable blade resting on it. When we have angled cuts that are shorter than our blade, we draw lines on both sides of the foam. Then one person guides the bottom of the blade and another person operates the saw. Usually our horizontal cuts are made with a saw the size of two cars. The latex lays flat on the table and the long blade cuts the entire piece in seconds.
Don’t try a hot wire on latex. It will create quite a stench and break your wire.

I was wondering if a wire – e.g., a long piece of metal twine, but not a hot one – would be better as it would be more like one of those long, crosscut saws used on old-growth trees. I’ve made some headway with the electric knife, but as this is a twin-sized mattress that I’m cutting the top 3″ off (as the rest is memory foam) I still have a ways to go. I managed to cut it reasonably level around the edges, to the depth of the blade(8-10″), and now I’m using a 3″ wide board to insert between the layers and cut farther and farther underneath. I have to stop and let the knife’s motor cool off and my shoulder rest (from holding up the top layer as I cut) after several minutes. It won’t be perfect as I keep making hacks and slices into the lower layer, which affects the leveling of the board. Hopefully once I’ve freed the latex and cut it vertically(!) into smaller pieces, splitting them horizontally won’t be as much of a challenge.

Perhaps a cool wire would work, the trick would be getting it stiff enough while being sharp and thin. I know an upholster in town who uses a piano wire as his hot wire. I can’t quite imagine it working cold, but it is worth a shot. I’ve even used a sharp serrated knife that didn’t leave a smooth cut but it was sufficient. I’ve tried the method you’re describing with similar results, not exactly a smooth cut but perhaps manageable if the piece is for yourself.

So now that I’m done removing the latex layer (it was a hack job but I more or less got what I wanted), my electric knife has pooped out in the middle of cutting the sheet into smaller sections – the easiest part of the task. The knife was by Hamilton Beach, given to me from someone who was downsizing, so it’s no real loss; but I need to replace it now with something that doesn’t overheat so easily. (I did notice it heating up during the horizontal cutting but stopped several times to let it cool down for a few hours before resuming.) I’ve looked at a couple of filleting knives, which appear to be more durable; do you have any recommendations? As I imagine you do this on a regular basis I doubt you tolerate having to run to the big-box store every week to buy another cheap electric knife.

Yes, that is the way of kitchen electric knives. They can overheat. I use a Bosch foam cutter for my hand cuts but that will run you around $600+ for all the parts (blades and foot are sold separately). I had luck with this Oster knife for a few years before I upgraded. I have never tried a fillet knife, but in a pinch once, I used a very sharp serrated bread knife but I did have to saw through the piece. Electric knives leave a smoother cut, especially the Bosch with its extra fine teeth.

Well I decided on a Heavy Duty Electric Fillet Knife by Rapala, based upon reviews – one person even specifically recommended it for cutting foam. It has a heftier motor than typical electric knives, it never has to be oiled (according to the instruction manual) and longer blades can even be ordered. It even has a safety lock on the switch. I ordered it through Amazon Prime for $50, and when it arrived (and after I wrestled it out of the plastic packaging) it made short work of my remaining cuts. My dog’s bed is now assembled (I’ll try to send a pic along soon) and the other pieces are awaiting their wool batting wraps (protected by the mattress cover in the meantime). I should be able to shave off the remaining memory foam now that the pieces are smaller, and I’ll be making more horizontal cuts as 3″ will be overkill for most of the chair’s surfaces.

Thanks much for sharing. I’m glad that new knife worked out well for you. I’ll keep your success around to share with others as needed.

We would love a picture of your DIY dog bed! It is inspiring to see everyone’s projects. It sounds like you are going to have a plush, comfortable build. Happy cushion making.

Honestly, the use of a little saw or knife is a bit silly, and not needful at all. I just took a 96″ long 1/2″ wide bandsaw blade (available at most hardware stores…I just used an old one I already had) break it at the weld, then whipped up a crude horizontal buck saw something like this . Horizontal means I mounted the blade sideways instead of vertical. Basically it is just a typical 2×4 stud with two pieces mounted on either end to make a long low “H” shape, the blade clamped to the bottom part, and a string on the top that tensions the blade by means of twisting (‘spanish windlass’). By not mounting the blade on the very bottom, I could have that distance determine the height of the cut. An 8″ latex mattress does not move around very much, so, by laying the mattress on the concrete floor, and sliding the saw back and forth (helper on the other end), I was able to rapidly and accurately cut 1″ slabs off of the *bottom* of the mattress. After each cut, you just flop the whole mess around to get the cut piece off the bottom, and you are ready to go again. I cut off three layers, and there is very good accuracy in each cut. Not as quick as a giant horizontal bandsaw at a mill, but not a long-term exhausting project either. A queen-size mattress was 60″ wide, but we still had more than a 20″ stroke per cut that moved through the material pretty darn quick. I had originally planned to make a big jig with slide rails and all that junk to keep everything aligned, but the real tool turned out to be very very simple. Now I have an 8 foot-long saw standing in the corner, instead of a big mess and a giant useless and overly hard, over-thick latex mattress.
The next goal is to take a 1/2 hole punch used for grommets and leatherworking to make the perforations larger, and hopefully soften this stuff up some!
The blade I used was a fairly worn 4TPI (four teeth per inch).

Now there are some DIY skills. Thank you for sharing.

DIY skills indeed! This post inspired me to build a 93″ horizontal saw myself, using a 2×4, a band saw blade (6 TPI) from Home Depot, and some misc. bolts and brackets. I needed to make a cut in 3-part foam RV mattress that was 4.5″ thick, and I wanted to cut it at 2″ up from the bottom where the first layer was glued to the 2nd layer. It worked OK, but the saw created a lot of little foam “sawdust” that took a long time to vacuum up. I used twine to tension the saw blade. If I used the saw again I might try something I could cinch even tighter, as the blade did ride up and down a bit, leaving little waves in the cut surface.

Sounds like a great build and good use of creativity. I hope your RV bed is very comfy now.

Can You Cut a Gel Memory Foam Mattress? How to Guide

Posted By: admin October 21, 2019

So a lot of people have been asking online if can you cut a gel memory foam mattress. So we wanted to provide the best answer we could in the form of this article.

Given the fact that foam mattresses are one of the most popular in beds for kids or toddlers, it’s no surprise that many people are wondering just that. In this article we will try and help you figure out if you can slice a gel memory foam mattress and how you should actually do it.

Can you cut a gel memory foam mattress? YES? No? Maybe?

Before diving in on how can you cut a memory foam mattress, let’s understand first what exactly is this mattress and why is it so popular. The most obvious reason will be because foam is soft and nice to sleep on right? Let’s get dipper.

What is a gel memory foam mattress

A gel memory foam mattress is very similar to a regular foam mattress, the only difference is that it was injected with gel that provides it another layer of flexibility, it also helps with the mattress pressure relief.

This means that when you apply pressure, like laying down on the bed for a long time like a full night, that’s applying pressure for a long period of time right? So when you get up, the mattress can react faster, and regain it shape faster and better than regular foam mattresses.

Why are gel memory foam mattresses so popular

In general, foam mattresses are really popular because they cancel movements, they provide full body support and they can actually last you for years.

Before we had memory foam mattresses, we slept on very uncomfortable mattresses made from non reactive materials that pretty much meant you were sucked into the bed, and when you got up, the mattress never really returned to its original shape, think of an old couch you used to have, after a while, it’s not staying in the same shape right? That’s the same idea here.

So obviously, when manufacturers introduced the gel memory foam or even the regular foam memory mattress, people were hooked, and pretty much no one buys and other mattress in these days. So here is a recap of why memory foams are so poopular:

  1. They are very comfortable
  2. They are much better at regaining their original shape
  3. They provide full body support
  4. They cancel motions

Biggest gel memory foam advantage

The biggest advantage of sleeping on a gel memory foam mattress is the fact that the mattress does not run hot so much during the night. With a foam mattress, your body heat is trapped causing issues for the person sleeping, but with gel foam mattresses, the gel actually increases air circulation so the hot air is able to escape and the person sleeping gets to have a much cooler sleep.

Are there any down sides for gel memory foam mattresses?

Well, gel foam memory mattresses tend to be a little bit more expansive, they also tend to last less time than foam mattresses because of the density of the gel beads.

Also, if you are a heavy person, you probably need a much more dense mattress so that it won’t break or give up on you after a short period of time.

What’s the difference between foam memory mattress and gel memory mattress

There are usuallytwotypes of foam mattresses everyone buys, that’s the memory foam and gel foam. The difference is obviously in the materials the two are made of.

Memory foam mattresses are made from a materials called Viscoelastic, the way this materials works is by ” having both viscous and elastic characteristics when undergoing deformation. ” The best way to explain how this material reacts to pressure is to think of honey. When you apply pressure to honey, it reacts, resists the flow and with time strain linearly when stress is pushed.

We all know it’s very comfortable because it made its way into most people bedrooms and you sleep on it every night.

Gel foam mattress is made from the same material but the difference here is that it was injected with gel. The gel helps to provide cooler sleep and also help with pressure relief.

So, getting back on point of cutting a gel memory foam mattress

Let’s see how it’s done shall we? You can definitely cut a gel memory foam mattress with the right tools, the right attitude and some guidance, so follow the steps below and good luck:

Step 1 – Decide on the size of the mattress

Most mattresses come in specific sizes, so your first move will be to decide what size you really need, so you will know where to cut. The standard sizes are usually:

Mattress typeWidth in inchesHeight in inchesWidth in cmHeight in cm
Long twin398099203
California king7284183214

Once you know the size of the mattress you need, it’s easy to decide where to cut.

Step 2 – Place the mattress in a comfortable space

Now take the mattress and place it raised from the ground, either on the kitchen table or counter, or any other area that will give you a raised level so that it won’t sit on the floor.

Important Note
Make sure the area you are cutting is hanging off the counter and in the air so you won’t damage your kitchen or surface when cutting

Step 3 – Mark a line on the mattress

You need to mark a line on the mattress where you want to cut it, you can either use a marker, or even better, use blue painters tape so that the cut will be cleaner.

Step 4 – Cut the mattress

Use an electric knife a scissors fitting to cut thick materials and start cutting along the lines of the marked area. Try and stop every once in a while to make sure you make a clean cut as possible and continue cutting until the end of the mattress.

You can also use a carving knife, which is very similar to the electric knife, the only difference is that you will need to produce the cutting motion by hand. Gently move the knife back and forth and start cutting away trying to get a clean edge as possible.

Here’s a short video showing you how to cut a gel foam memory mattress:

That’s pretty much it for this guide on how to cut a gel memory foam mattress. We hope you got what you need and did it correctly. Check out some of our other guide on exercising during pregnancy and more

How to Cut Memory Foam

Updated: July 26, 2019 | References

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Memory foam is a common material used for mattresses and pillows since it’s comfortable and it conforms to your body. If you have a piece of memory foam that’s too large, you can easily cut it at home with an electric carving knife. Be sure to double check your measurements before you make your cut so you don’t make a mistake. When you’re finished, you’ll have a piece of memory foam that’s the perfect size!

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\u00a9 2020 wikiHow, Inc. All rights reserved. wikiHow, Inc. is the copyright holder of this image under U.S. and international copyright laws. This image isnot licensed under the Creative Commons license applied to text content and some other images posted to the wikiHow website. This image may not be used by other entities without the express written consent of wikiHow, Inc.

\u00a9 2020 wikiHow, Inc. All rights reserved. wikiHow, Inc. is the copyright holder of this image under U.S. and international copyright laws. This image isnot licensed under the Creative Commons license applied to text content and some other images posted to the wikiHow website. This image may not be used by other entities without the express written consent of wikiHow, Inc.

Warning:Be careful not to compress the memory foam while you’re taking your measurements, or else they may not be accurate.

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