What is Formica?

Formica is a brand name that - like Jell-O, Band-Aid and Plexiglas - has become synonymous with the product it represents. Created by the corporation of the same name in 1912, the original product was designed to serve as a substitute for mica, a mineral that can be used as electrical shielding. Though Formica created today shares some of the manufacturing processes used to make the original product, modern Formica can be created in a much greater variety of styles and is used typically as an affordable alternative to natural stone.

Originally, Formica was created by infusing sheets of Kraft paper with phenolic resin, which would be then be pressed together into the desired shape and cured to form a solid, glossy product. Today, the material is instead formed by pressing a paste of cellulose powder and phenolic resin between two sheets of specialized paper. The resulting product is shaped and cured much more quickly and inexpensively than Formica created through the original process.