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Cutting Mats

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Self Healing Cutting Mats

Self-Healing Cutting Mat Uses
The best uses for a self-healing cutting mat include: crafting, quilting, graphics design, hobbyist, card making, scrapbooking and several other uses.   

Self Healing Cutting Mats
Self Healing mat is one that heals itself.  These mats use a new technology called “smart materials”.  They repair the cuts in the mat as if by magic but it’s the scientific materials that act like our own biological system that promotes healing after something has been wounded.  They last longer because the cuts left by the blade automatically close and eliminate the need to replace the mat often.  Eventually you will have to replace the mat but it depends on a number of things.  See extending the life of your mat below.

Self Healing Cutting Mat Benefits
If you use a rotary blade or utility knife to cut your materials, you will want to use a self healing cutting mat to protect the cutting surface.  Any cuts made on the mat will automatically close.  As well, when using a self healing mat instead of a hard surface mat, it will prolong the life of your rotary blade and your utility knife.  You will not be required to replace your blades as often.  The self healing mats also allow for longer and straighter cuts limiting errors over their harder surface counterparts.

Cutting Mat Surface
Glare on a project can affect the consistency of your cuts.  Consider that the surface of the cutting mat has a matte finish and the texture is not smooth or your materials will slip off the surface.  Choose a cutting mat that has a medium texture and a matte finish for best results.

Cutting Mat Size
Cutting mats range in size, try and pick the largest mat that fits your work and storage areas.  If you are cutting pattern pieces, you will need a full size cutting table mat.  If you are quilting, a fabric cutting mat 24” in length or larger will provide greater accuracy by allowing you to cut strips across the fabric in one fold as the fabric size is 42” across and when folded is 21” which will fit nicely on your 24” mat.   However, if you are transporting your mat a lot or are a beginner starting with a 12”x18” mat may be a better option.   Oversize of large cutting mats are available up to 6 feet by 12 feet.

What Tools to Use?
A rotary cutter or a utility knife are often used to cut materials on a cutting mat.  A self healing mat aids in keeping your rotary cutter and utility knife sharp but remember to change the blades often.  A dull knife can leave a permanent knife mark in the surface of your mat.   

Cutting Mat Graduations
It is important to have a mat that is graduated and numbered on all four sides of the mat.  These graduations help with alignment.  If possible get one that has the hash lines extending past the mat board on all four sides.

Extending the Life of your Cutting Mat
Your cutting mat will eventually wear out but follow these few tips to extend the life of your mat.  Select a professional grade mat to ensure that it can take repeated cuts without gouging.  Always ensure that you are using a sharp cutting blade, change the blade often, as this minimizes the chance of leaving a permanent mark in the plastic surface.  To avoid making the same cuts on your mat, rotate your mat often.  Clean your cutting mat often.  Use an all-purpose cleaner or mild detergent with warm water.  Avoid abrasive cleaners they can scratch and remove the markings on your map.   

Do not roll them or store them rolled.  It is best to lay them flat to store.  Direct sunlight can warp your cutting mat as they are heat sensitive.  Also do not store in a cold room this can cause cracking.