Craft rooms and workshops can quickly become one of the most used rooms in your business or even your home. Spending hours working on a project means that the workbench is your pride and joy, so you’ll want to protect it as much as possible.
Rotary cutters, craft knives and other sharp cutting tools can damage and scratch your workbench, leaving it with unsightly marks. By installing a self-healing cutting mat over the top of your workbench you can ensure long-lasting and durable protection for years to come.
Keep reading to find out more about self-healing cutting mats and how they work.
What exactly is a self-healing cutting mat?
Unlike basic work surface protectors, self-healing cutting mats do not show lines or marks caused by regular use. Instead they quickly ‘heal up’ to provide a smooth cutting surface with no marks or grooves.
They are made from unique composite PVC vinyl materials with solid plastic cores. These materials are then layered in multi-ply sections and painted to get them ready for cutting.
So when a knife or sharp object pierces the mat, the fibres part and then come together again when the object is removed, unlike a standard mat which is made of a single solid piece and is permanently damaged.
What are the different types of self-healing cutting mats?
Green self-healing cutting mat
This option is very popular with hobbyists and anyone working on crafts such as photography, quilting and other fabric crafts. It has an excellent anti-glare surface which is great for reducing eye strain and also rates highly on its ability to reduce tram-lining when cutting.
Available with a printed alignment grid, this type of cutting mat works well with most popular tools including rotary cutters, Stanley knives, power knives, scalpels and craft knives.
Heavy-duty white cutting mat
The semi-opaque mat scores best when it comes to durability and resistance against shocks and tears, anti-glare and razor straight cutting. It reduces tram-lining when cutting and is both solvent-proof and waterproof.
Ideal for commercial use by, for example, graphic designers, it is recommended for use with a scalpel or a Stanley knife and a rotary cutter or craft knife can also be used on it.
Clear self-healing cutting mat
This option can be used on either side and has excellent non-slip surfaces that hold both the cutting mat and your materials in place. Allowing 75% of light to pass through them, clear self-healing mats are best for use by graphic designers, flatbed laminators and professional printers.
Stanley knives, scalpels and craft knives work best on the clear surface and provide you with a clean and damage-free cut every time.
How long does a self-healing cutting mat last?
Generally speaking, these types of mats are very durable. However, all types of matting do eventually wear out.
If you find that the colouring of the lines and grids has worn down to a point where you can’t read the numbers or see the lines, or you have deep grooves carved in, it may be time for a replacement.
How can I maintain my self-healing cutting mat?
The way to keep your self-healing mat in top shape is to care for it before it starts to degrade, and the best way to do this is by keeping it moist.
First, brush the mat to get all the loose threads off. Then soak the mat in a solution of water, vinegar and washing up liquid for around 15 minutes. You only need 1/2 cup of vinegar per 4.5 litres of water. Make sure the water isn’t hot or the mat may warp.
Air-dry the mat and ensure it’s completely dry before using it again.