September 22, 2017
| Sewing Room
Great Tips For Cutting Mats
The first thought on storing a self healing cutting mat is to store the mat in a dry area. Most people don’t realise that mats need any maintenance at all, but with a few simple tasks, you’ll get many more years use. If you’ve never taken care of your mat you’ll find tons of lint and debris on the surface.
Keep out of direct sunlight. Keep a self healing mat moist and clean, flat and no heat. Just like your hands get dry and benefit greatly from a moisturizer, so do your cutting mats. With constant use fabric draws moisture from the mat shortening their life expectancy. Self healing mats love moisture and Olfa suggests soaking your cutting mat about once a year. Mix up a quarter cup (60 mls.) white vinegar with 4 litres of cool water. Soak in a bathtub or large container, as it must remain flat while soaking, for about 15 to 20 minutes.
For general and regular cleaning, if experiencing difficulty wiping off fabric threads and debris, use Rotary Mat Smoother, a quick short cut to clean off the mat without having to use wet rags or towels. A lint magnet also works well. Or else, soak a soft cloth in mild dishwashing detergent, wring out and wipe the mat. Wipe dry before restoring.
If your mat has warped, generally the only fix is a new one, or try these tips:
Lay it in the sun on a flat sidewalk until it feels quite warm
Soak in very hot water while keeping it flat
If a small mat place in a low temp oven for a few minutes until it feels warm. (200 Fahrenheit)
Store in between the mattress and base of the bed. No guarantees, but worth a try.
Using the right size mat depends on the projects they’re used for, templates or strips. Usually two sizes suffice based on your choice of need. A small mat is ideal for cutting template shapes, small strips and taking to class. A medium mat is the most popular, and if you love miniatures a tiny 6 inch is available.
For bigger quilting projects consider the largest mat that will fit your cutting table. Available in metric or imperial. You might also consider the ease of a rotating cutting mat, providing an easy way to cut around templates. The squares seem better than the round as they are more versatile for squaring up blocks and cutting strips.
June Tailor Inc. have a range of Cut’n’Press cutting mats that have a cushioned padded ironing surface on the reverse side. It can even be used on a wooden table and the iron heat won’t come through.
Tip: Always use a self healing mat for quilting. Mats that are not self healing are used for crafts, and will dull the rotary blade quickly. A craft mat will shows cuts very quickly, whereas a self healing mat is more durable, and cuts become undetectable almost immediately.