Cutting Mat: All You Need To Know About Self-Healing Cutting Mats

November 05, 2020 5 min read

Cutting Mat: All You Need To Know About Self-Healing Cutting Mats


You are an aspiring designer, into sewing or quilting, or a fan (or your kids) of art and craft projects, not damaging the working surface will be on top of your head. If that is the case, self-healing cutting mats are the perfect choice to enjoy your hobby or complete a project without ruining the working area.

So, you may have a lot of questions about this magical mat :

What is a self-healing cutting mat? Why use cutting mat? What is cutting mat used for? How self-healing cutting mat works?

These are a lot of questions but worry not, as we will give you an in-depth detail of why and how you can incorporate these cutting mats in your creative projects. If you are unaware of the amazing benefits that these cutting mats hold, let us enlighten you. 

What Is Cutting Mat?

The answer to this query is very simple; a cutting mat is used as a surface for various arts and crafts projects along with sewing.

Whenever you are doing any project using a rotary cutter or a utility knife, you will require a cutting mat. The purpose of the cutting mat is to safeguard the work surface from getting damaged and keep your knife from getting dull. They work great while sewing, printing, crafts, quilting, and several other projects.

They have a marking of a grid guide on one side for specific measurements. Thus, cutting mats are also used for providing you with an accurate measurement guideline for ensuring straight and clean cuts while protecting your work surface.


What Is Cutting Mat Made Of?

Mostly cutting mats are rectangular and are made of durable materials like rubber, vinyl, Polypropylene(PP) and even glass. Therefore, Cutting mats are available on hard-surfaces or soft surfaces (self-healing) depending to the surface hardness .
  • Hard-surface cutting mats are stiffer and more rugged and smooth, which made of glass, allowing the blade to skim over without cutting into the mat surface. 
  • Soft-surface cutting mats offer more flexibility and are thinner than hard-surface. They are usually a 3 or 5 layer structure and around 3 or 2.5 mm thickness. The grooves and marks made by the blade are leaving slight or invisible scratches. 

So, which cutting mat is best?Hard-surface cutting mats are suitable for electric knife cutting or fine cutting in thin paper. Soft-surface cutting mats are suitable for sewing, quilting and most of cutting works. It depends on your needs, project, and storage areas available. Just don't forget to get one nice rotary cutter or straight knives. 


Why Use A Cutting Mat?

A cutting mat protects your work surface so that it does not receive any marks from the rotary cutter's blade. It also prolongs the life of the blade by keeping it from becoming dull.

Many cutting mats also have grid lines or rulers, which helps you to measure as you cut. Once you get used to using sewing tools you'll be better able to decide if you prefer the mat's measuring guides, separate rulers, or both.


How Self-Healing Cutting Mat Heals?

So how exactly does a self-healing cutting mat actually heal? Is there some magic involved? Not at all, the truth of the matter is that these mats have an elastic surface and just like individual small pieces of material that are tightly pressed together to form the solid surface that we cut on. No matter what type of cutting mat you use, the blade will simply pass in between these small pieces. This process separates the pieces instead of cutting through them. Whenever a cut is made, the surface's memory retaining properties close it back. 


What Size Cutting Mat Do I Need For Sewing?

This is a question that many people who love to sew ask themselves regularly. People who sew a lot know the importance of having a rotary cutter. While using a rotary cutter, you need to be extra careful as it comes with a higher risk of damaging your beloved furniture.

Thus, you will need a top-quality rotary cutting mat to ensure that you have perfectly cut lines and that your fingers are safe.

Cutting mats in the market come in various sizes, so it's best to get one that fits your work area well. It is best to fully explore your options as they have different line/grid markups and colors.


  • Many people prefer cutting mats that have a size of 24" by 36". This size works best for many projects and allows you to get an idea of the yards of stashed fabric you have on hand.
  • 18" by 24" rotary cutting mats are also fit in the most crafts such as leathercraft, scrapbooking, sewing, fabric quilting, and patchwork.
  • Many newbie’s start with a 12" by 18" rotary cutting mat as they are convenient to use, and you can easily take them along if you wish to sew somewhere else.


Can A Warped Cutting Mat Be Fixed?

Be sure do not leave cutting mats in the car because the heat will make them warped.

If the accident happen, how to straighten warped cutting mat it back out?

The cutting mats made of PVC can reshape by heating the mats such as leaving the mat in direct sunlight or warm water for a period of time and it will resume its original shape. Placing on a hot driveway and weighted with planks, boards, or blocks until it lays flat again also an effective way to do. But here is an important thing to know -- Be sure to check the grid measurements with a ruler before using it as a dependable measuring device when cutting on it. The measurements on mats are likely no longer accurate after being straightened.

But if the cutting mats are made of PP or PE, once a mat has been warped, it can't be flattened again. 

Here comes an interesting question:

Why PVC cutting mats can be flattened but PP cutting mats can not?

The key point is Plasticizer. A plasticizer (UK: plasticiser) is a substance that is added to a material to make it softer and more flexible, to increase its plasticity, to decrease its viscosity, or to decrease friction during its handling in manufacture. PVC (polyvinyl chloride) contains a large amount of plasticizer to make the PVC material soft, and the plasticizer becomes unstable at higher temperatures, this feature allows it to be reshaped.


Where To Buy Cutting Mats?

So, now you know how does a self healing cutting mat work.  A self healing cutting matis the best investment that any arts and crafts lover can make. No matter what project you are doing, having a cutting mat by your side will make your experience worthwhile.

If you are interested in buying an eco-friendly cutting mat that is safe for the environment and your family, you can buy one from ecopecoart. Our self-healing cutting mats are non-toxic, graduated on all three sides, and are bound to make the perfect gift for your family and friends!

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