How to Cut HDPE Sheets and Boards

When it comes to finding a durable and lightweight material with many uses, you can’t go wrong with HDPE sheets and boards. HDPE boasts high-impact strength, durability, and the ability to resist corrosion from weather, alcohol, and acids.

Once you figure out how you want to use them, you’ll also need to know how to cut HDPE sheets. Fortunately, it isn’t hard, but you do need to choose the right tools and keep safety precautions in mind.

Before you start, here’s a crash course on HDPE—and how to cut HDPE sheets.

What is HDPE?

HDPE stands for high-density polyethylene plastic. It’s created from a string of ethylene molecules, which makes the material both lightweight and strong. There are different types of HDPE sheets, including:


Matte HDPE sheeting is specially formulated for items such as cutting boards because it won’t dull knives. It’s also acid-resistant and is durable enough to last for years.

Smooth Sheet

Smooth HDPE sheeting is durable, as well as chemical, moisture, and impact resistant. So it’s typically used as a tank lining.

Pipe Grade

Pipe grade HDPE plastic features improved weight and performance, making it popular for outdoor applications.


Antiskid HDPE sheet was created for marine applications where a non-slip or skid surface is needed.

Benefits of HDPE Sheets

Some of the many pros of using HDPE sheets include the fact that the material is:

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Weather-resistant
  • Malleable
  • Sustainable

Tools and Equipment for Cutting HDPE Sheets 

It’s not hard to figure out how to cut HDPE sheets. In fact, the material can be cut using common tools you already have around the house. For thin HDPE sheets, you can use scissors, utility knives, and hand saws. You’ll also need a ruler, a scribe, and a long tail clip.

Need to learn how to cut thicker HDPE sheets? That can be done with a chainsaw and table saw. However, make sure to use a saw blade specially designed to cut plastic to prevent too much heat. Since HDPE is a thermoplastic, if too much heat is generated during cutting, it will melt and fuse the HDPE.

How to Cut Thin HDPE Sheets

  1. With a ruler, measure the size of the HDPE sheets to be cut and use a scribe to draw cutting lines on both sides.
  2. Use the long tail clip to fix the ruler along the cutting line to the HDPE sheet to be cut.
  3. A utility knife can be used to cut the board evenly along the edge of the ruler. You might have to cut several times and flip the HDPE sheets over to get all the way through.
  4. Fix the HDPE Sheets on the table and extend the part to be cut out of the table along the cutting groove.
  5. Break down the suspended part with force.