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How to Cut Formica With a Utility Knife

Updated February 21, 2017

Formica brand plastic laminate is most commonly used to cover countertops, cabinet doors and drawer fronts. Formica is a leading brand whose name has been synonymous with laminate for decades. Since all plastic laminates are essentially the same, cutting Formica with a utility knife is identical to cutting most laminates. This method works well for one or two shorter cuts, but is too time consuming and inconsistent to use for larger projects.

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Measure your installation face side to side and front to back with a tape measure. Add one-half inch to each dimension to calculate the size of laminate needed for a standard installation.

Lay your laminate out on a stable work surface, with its backing face up for marking. Use a drywall square to mark off the size piece required. Work from a corner in to minimise the number of cuts required.

Set the square crosswise on the panel to cut the Formica across the width of the 4-by-8-foot sheet first. Install a fresh blade in the utility knife if it has been used for more than one or two cuts. Align the square dead on the cut line.

Stand at one end of the workspace so that the square is horizontal to you, to keep from drawing the knife toward yourself. Grasp the knife firmly in your dominant hand. Hold the square firmly in place with your other hand and draw the knife along its edge to score the back of the laminate. Repeat this action two or three times until the mark is fairly deep.

Move the laminate so that the score mark is aligned with one edge of your work table. Lift up on the end opposite the piece you will be using. Snap it downward to break the laminate along the score line. Set the unused portion of the laminate sheet aside.

Turn the laminate one-quarter turn and align the square along the next cut line. Draw the knife across the surface, applying firm pressure, two or three times. Shift the score line to the table edge and break the laminate again. Repeat for any additional cuts.

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Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Drywall square
  • Utility knife with fresh blade

About the Author

Mark Morris started writing professionally in 1995. He has published a novel and stage plays with SEEDS studio. Morris specializes in many topics and has 15 years of professional carpentry experience. He is a voice, acting and film teacher. He also teaches stage craft and lectures on playwriting for Oklahoma Christian University.

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