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Using Foamcore: Part 4

With those numbers, the room should be safe.

Watch me make a foamcore insert for CMON’s Rising Sun, learning as you go.

One of the slightly obsessive things I do as part of my hobby is making foamcore inserts for my games. I’ve made hundreds and hundreds of them over the years—almost every game in my collection has one—and there are many advantages to putting in the effort. Most obviously, they organise your game components and make setup and packup much, much faster and easier. They keep your game in great condition. Often you can incorporate trays which hold counters and cards as you play. But there’s also something else, which is harder to define: once I’ve made an insert and organised the components for a game, it makes me want to play it more.

Yep, that’s a bit weird but it’s true. There’s something about opening a game box and seeing the bits all laid out in order, easily accessible, that makes me more interested and excited about playing it, as it removes a whole level of hassle and confusion. I’m not confronted with a jumbled mess of zip-lok bags that have to be sorted out; it’s a collection of neat file drawers of carefully organised components awaiting its next outing.

So, if you’ve ever thought about making your own foamcore inserts, sure, you can use some of the ready-made plans I’ve made available on this site (and there are lots more to come in the future as I’ve enlisted some aid in that department), or you can watch this series of videos, where you’ll learn everything you need to know about designing and making them yourself. The first three in this series are my most popular videos ever, garnering an amazing 102,000 views between them (sadly, before I was forced to enable monetization on my YouTube channel!) Here, finally, is part 4, where you can watch me make an insert for Rising Sun and finetune your skills as you go. Be sure to watch (or re-watch) parts 1, 2, and 3 which will teach you the basics. It really is easy once you get the hang of it—give it a go!


  • qkershner says:

    I love building foamcore inserts. There’s some real creativity involved and usually I’m more pleased with the insert than the paintjob on the minis. (Especially after being burned by several over-priced purchases online.) However, if you don’t mind me asking, does ‘eye-balling’ the dividers based on the components ever cause you headaches? I usually measure and mark for proper alignment and sizing. Which can be tedious, but improves my overall accuracy on the final product. Thoughts?

    Also, a personal tip: I have precut foam templates for each card size, so when I need a slot for, say “Standard American Boardgame” sized cards, I just drop the template into the box and build around it. It helps guarantee that width/height of my sections, but horizontally and vertically.

    • Not really; in fact I think working it all out and measuring everything would cause me more headaches. Very, very occasionally I design myself into a corner so to speak, and run out of room, but that’s a rare occurrence. Measuring probably does give you a more accurate result, but the difference doesn’t bother me, and I get the insert done faster. But whatever method you prefer is best!

      The pre-cut templates idea is brilliant—nice one!

  • Tim says:

    I love the ready-made plans a great deal. My problem is in accurate measuring and getting a good, straight cut. I measure 10,000 times and still manage to either cut too long (not so bad, I can trim) or too short (sometimes wasting the foam core). As for cutting the stuff, even new blades seem to have trouble cutting through all the layers the first time without having to strain my wrist. Multiple tries tend to jack up the cut so the end result is quite ragged. You seem to be able to cut the damn stuff like slicing through butter. I’ve tried utility knives and X-acto knives. Any advice to improve the results?

    • That’s a bit strange – a new blade on a simple cheap craft knife should slice through this stuff easily. Cut once through the card, and then again through the rest; you shouldn’t need to put effort behind it.

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