If you sew a lot, then you understand the importance of having a rotary cutter and that it is a must-have tool. If you do use one, then you will need a quality cutting mat to help keep your fingers safe, working surfaces intact, and to cut perfect lines.
When it comes to cutting mats, it is worth noting that they come in different sizes from small to big, industrial-size ones. Considering that there are so many options to work with, what are some of the things one should look for when looking to buy a cutting mat? Here are some questions you should consider asking yourself to ensure that you choose the right mat.
Is the Cutting Mat Self-Healing?
When shopping for a cutting mat, consider going for one that is self-healing. However, thick single-ply mats also work for extra-large mats.
What Thickness Should I Go for?
When choosing a cutting mat, consider going for one that is 3mm or thicker. Thin mats don’t last that long and usually have a plastic feel, which makes them unsuitable for cutting when using a straight-blade knife since the knife can cut through the mat.
How Thick Is Each Cutting Mat Ply and How Many Plies Are Used to Make the Mat?
Go for cutting mats that are at least three plies thick. The mat’s outer plies shouldn’t be too thin though. Also, make sure that the mat’s inner ply is thick, the thicker the ply, the better since it will keep the mat from being cut through and will prolong the life of your cutting blades.
What Surface Texture Should I Go for?
When thinking of the cutting mat’s surface texture, consider going for something with a medium tooth. If the surface is too smooth, then the material being worked on could slip; if it is too textured, making straight cuts could prove a bit tricky. Also, make sure that you go for a cutting mat with a non-glare surface. Reflective mat surfaces make it hard to see the material you are cutting.
What Type of Grid Should I Go For?
Consider going for a cutting mat that’s fully numbered or graduated on all four sides. If it has hash marks, the marks should extend past the mat’s grid border.
What Type of Tools Will I Be Using On the Mat?
When shopping for a cutting mat, take the time to consider the kind of tools you will be using on the mat. Consider going for something that you can use a straight-blade hobby knife and rotary knife on. Cutting mats thinner than 2mm don’t hold up very well with straight blade knives as they are too thin.
How Long Will It Last?
Each cutting mat, no matter how strong or unique it is, will eventually wear out. However, most are designed to last for years, but that is dependent on how they are used. Nevertheless, take the time to consider the kind of material used to make the mat, the type of materials you will be cutting on it, the type of knife you will be using, the blade’s sharpness, and cutting pressure since these are some of the factors that will determine the longevity of your mat.