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Gator-Foam, Dick Blick


[3A Composites, formerly owned by International Paper Co.] A registered trademark for a laminated foamboard. GatorFoam® is made from a rigid polystyrene foam core laminated between two facing papers consisting of wood fiber impregnated with resin. The strong, flat panels are water-resistant and dimensionally stable. Direct sunlight will cause bleaching and degradation of any unprotected foam. GatorFoam® is not made as an archival product and may emit acidic vapors.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Gator-foam (sp); Gatorplast [Alcan Composites]; Gatorboard


Gatorfoam is used as a working surface for artist to support pastels, paintings and other media. It is commonly used to stretch water color paper. Gatorfoam is used in exhibition and displays as a backing board and mounting surface.

Personal risks

  • Under high heat can produce aromatic hydrocarbons including, styrene, ethyl benzene and other polymer fragments.
  • May contain minute amounts of Formaldehyde.
  • Skin and Eye Contact, Inhalation: Dust may cause irritation.

3A Composites: Safety Data Sheet

Collection Risks

May emit acidic vapors. Increased off-gassing can occur with high heat and moisture.

Oddy Testing Link:

Environmental Risks

Material Is not biodegradable.

Working Properties

Gatorfoam can be cut with a utility knife, saw or router.

Exhibit Construction Reviews/Tips/Case Studies

AIC Link about Backing Inserts ( )


Gator-Foam® is available in black and white colors in a range of sizes and thicknesses. Some available sizes include (Dick Blick):

  • 16” x 13” x ½”
  • 23 x 31” x ½”
  • 32 x 40” x 3/16”
  • 32 x 40 x ½”
  • 48 x 96” x ½”

Resources and Citations

  • Pam Hatchfield, Pollutants in the Museum Environment, Archetype Press, London, 2002

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