self-healing cutting mats

Self-healing Cutting Mats: How do they Work?

Self-healing cutting mats. Have you heard of them? If you are a keen crafter or hobbyist who frequently indulges in art and crafts projects, you may use a craft knife or a rotary cutter for your projects. Not damaging the surface on which you work may be something that may concern you deeply (apart from your task coming out extraordinary well, of course!).

Self-healing cutting mats are absolutely indispensable to enjoy your hobby or task without ruining your working surface. If your working surface is made of wood or glass, cutting mats are an effective way to protect and safeguard your precious furniture. No matter how careful you work, you must have had moments where the scissors or knife you used slipped and disfigured your tabletop. A rotary cutter will cause even more damage.

If you have buttery fingers or you frequently indulge in arts and crafts, sewing, or quilting, a self-healing cutting mat may be just what you are looking for! 

What are Self-healing Cutting Mats?

Cutting mats are categorized into hard-surface or soft-surface( self-healing). They are mostly made of durable rubber, glass, or Polypropylene(PP). Cutting mats are available on either of the two surfaces: hard or soft.

  • Hard-surface cutting mats: These are rougher, stiff, and more rugged. This enables the blade to skim over the mat surface without cutting into it.
  • Soft-surface cutting mats: These are thinner and more flexible than hard-surface. The thickness of these mats is around 2 or 3 mm.

Why use them?

self-healing cutting mats useCutting mats don’t just protect your surface. It also prolongs the durability of your blade by preventing it from becoming dull and blunt.

Moreover, it also gives you lines to guide your cuts when accuracy is an important factor. If you use a regular mat for cutting, grooves will be created.

The next time you use your mat for cutting, you would be dismayed to notice inaccurate cuts have occurred. Since these grooves are closed if you use a self-healing mat, you can cut with precision time and time again.

How does a Self-healing Cutting Mat work?

how it worksSelf-healing mats are called so because they leave no marks on the mat even after a blade cuts through. Unique materials go into the production of these mats. As a result, the groove left by the blades will automatically close, leaving no visible marks behind. 

Manufactured from tiny and distinct pieces of material pressed together to form a solid surface to cut on, they work for most cutting equipment. The blade you use will go between these tiny pieces, merely separating them instead of cutting into the entire surface of the mat. Once a cut is made, the memory-retaining properties of the mat’s surface will enable it to “heal” or close back together once more.

Do they work with all kinds of blades?

While self-healing mats work with a wide array of blades, the blade you use must be sharp, or you will risk slicing through the mat.

If you use a blunt blade, it cannot make an accurate or thin cut, and the groove formed may not fasten completely. 

You should use your cutting equipment at a 90-degree angle. This way, you avoid cutting through the material/surface of the mat. What you want to do is to separate the tiny pieces that would leave a groove in its surface. Not cut through the surface and leave behind an ungainly gash!

How long will it last?

Your cutting mat will wear out eventually; it is not going to last forever! The longevity depends on:

  • The sharpness of the blades you use.
  • The amount of pressure you exert while cutting.
  • Type of material being cut and the type of knife used.

how long it lastsEnsure to use sharp blades, do not apply too much pressure on your knife while cutting, do not cut too many layers of material at any given point, and rotate your mat regularly to avoid cutting at the same spot repeatedly.

Store your mats flat, do not roll them over! Improper storage will lead to warping. Also, keep them away from direct sunlight to avoid warping. Extreme cold is also bad and may lead to brittleness or cracking. Once warped, the mats will be almost impossible to repair.

Avoid abrasive cleaners, solvents, or harsh chemicals that could damage your mat and remove the surface alignment grid markings.

You can use any all-purpose household spray cleaner or warm water and mild detergent. It is also advisable to use a microfiber cleaning cloth or towel to remove tiny fibers from the knife cuts. (avoid using cotton cloth).

After each use, use a lint roller or a lint brush to remove unseen fibers, surface lint, and fabric crumbs. If these are not removed, they will be pushed into the material of your cutting mat.

So, keep your mat clean!

Final Note

Self-healing mats are a highly effective and cost-saving option that ensures accuracy and provides a long-lasting alternative to regular mats.

Just take care of them properly, and they will give you years of enjoyment for your printing, designing, sewing, quilting, and arts and crafts activity.

Happy crafting!

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