How to Cut Formica Countertop with Backsplash

Formica countertops with a backsplash can give your kitchen a stylish, durable, and easy-to-maintain surface. However, cutting formica properly is important for getting a clean edge and smooth cut. With the right tools and techniques, you can get professional-looking results when cutting formica countertops yourself.

Gather the Necessary Materials

Cutting formica requires having the right tools on hand. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Formica sheeting – Make sure you have enough formica to cover your countertop, plus extra in case mistakes happen.
  • Straight edge – A perfectly straight piece of wood or metal to guide your cuts.
  • Utility knife – Use a sharp blade for clean cuts.
  • Jigsaw – For curved or intricate cuts. Use a fine-tooth blade.
  • Drill – For drilling holes to start jigsaw cuts.
  • Eye protection – Safety glasses to protect your eyes from debris.
  • Respirator – To minimize inhaling formica dust.
  • Painter’s tape – To help hold formica when making cuts.
  • Sandpaper – For smoothing cut edges. Start with 150 grit and go up to 220 grit.
  • Rags and acetone – For cleaning up excess formica residue and adhesive.

Plan Your Cuts

Before starting to cut, take measurements and plan where you need to make straight cuts or curved/irregular cuts. Mark your measurements with a pencil directly on the back of the formica. This allows you to cut precisely along your lines.

Also plan how you will cut out areas for sinks, faucets, electrical outlets, and any other elements in your countertop. Make small starter holes with a drill to insert the jigsaw blade.

Leave a 1/8″ overhang around walls or edges to allow for adjustments. You can trim this later once the formica is installed.

Make Straight Cuts with a Utility Knife

For straight cuts along the length or width of the formica:

  1. Lay the formica on a flat work surface with the pattern side facing down. Tape down the edges so it doesn’t move.
  2. Align your straight edge with your cut line. Hold it firmly in place.
  3. Score the formica several times with the utility knife, applying firm pressure while you drag the blade along the straight edge.
  4. Go over the score mark repeatedly until the formica is cut through. You may need to apply more pressure near the edges since they are typically harder to cut through.
  5. Sand the cut edge lightly with 150 grit sandpaper to remove any rough areas. Be careful not to round over the edge.

Cut Out Curves and Holes with a Jigsaw

For curved cuts and openings like for sinks:

  1. Mark the lines for your cuts on the back of the formica.
  2. Drill a starter hole just inside the line. Insert the jigsaw blade into this hole to start your cut.
  3. Cut slowly and steadily along the line. Let the tool do the work. Forcing it can cause cracks or chips.
  4. Use a fine-tooth blade and keep the blade perpendicular to the formica, especially around tight curves.
  5. Sand curved edges smooth with 150 followed by 220 grit sandpaper.

Follow Safety Precautions

Cutting formica produces fine dust that shouldn’t be inhaled. Always wear eye and respiratory protection.

Work in a well-ventilated area and take steps to minimize dust, like putting plastic sheeting under your workspace.

Go slowly and be cautious handling sharp blades. Don’t force tools, which can cause them to jump suddenly.

Test Fit on Countertop

Once your formica pieces are cut, do a dry fit on your countertop base before final installation. Ensure there are no gaps and the edges align properly.

Use painter’s tape to hold the formica in place temporarily. Make any final tweaks for a perfect fit.

Now your custom cut formica is ready for attachment to your countertops!

Frequently Asked Questions

How thick should formica be for countertops?

The standard thickness is 1/16 inch, though 1/8 inch formica is also used for extra durability. Avoid thinner or thicker formica that may not hold up well.

What’s the easiest way to cut formica straight?

Scoring repeatedly with a sharp utility knife along a straight edge guide gives clean straight cuts in formica. Take it slow and steady.

Can I cut formica with scissors?

It’s not recommended. Scissors tend to crush the formica edge rather than cutting it cleanly. Use a utility knife and straight edge for straight cuts instead.

What blade should I use in my jigsaw to cut formica?

A fine-tooth jigsaw blade (around 14 to 20 teeth per inch) works best on formica to give you a smooth cut edge.

How do I round the corners of formica?

Use a router with a rounding bit to smoothly round over the formica corners. Go slowly to avoid chipping. Sand to remove any rough spots after routing.

What should I use to drill holes in formica?

Use standard twist drill bits for clean hole cuts in formica. Press softly and let the drill do the work, avoiding high drill speeds that could cause cracking around holes.


Cutting formica countertops with a backsplash is doable with some careful planning and the right tools. Always measure twice and cut once for the most precise results. Sanding the cut edges helps remove rough areas and prevent injury. Follow safety practices to avoid inhaling formica dust. With precision and patience, you can get professional-looking custom-cut formica countertops.