When you craft for a living or make unique gifts, it is important to have a mat you can use to cut out fabric scraps, greeting cards, or vinyl stickers. These mats are handy when you do a lot of sewing or want to cut several items at once. If you own a Silhouette or Cricut machine, then you may find one or more of the mats in this Best Cutting Mats Buyer’s Guide helpful and convenient.
We list a variety of cutting mats in this review because the products have numerous benefits. Each product offers a grip factor that is helpful when dealing with materials slipping. Too much grip and your lighter materials will tear, too little stickiness, and the sheet may not hold items in place while you cut.
Cricut Standardgrip Cutting 12-inch by 12-inch – Best Multi-purpose Cutting Mat Set
|Holds various materials||No self healing – top layer of material may cut and sheer from the surface|
|Comes as a trio pack||May require some experience to use the mat effectively|
|Made specifically for Cricut Explore and other brand specific cutting machines||–|
|Easy removal of vinyl and paper/td>||–|
Many consumers find the Cricut Standard mat an excellent option for home use. All ages can use this mat and it stores very easily with a one-foot by one-foot size fitting into any desk, envelope, or shelf.
Nicapa Cutting Mat for Silhouette Cameo 3 – Best Silhouette Cutting Mat
|Grid pattern||Requires a spatula and scraper to remove materials|
|May use other brand materials on this cutting mat||Attracts dust|
|Medium grip strength to work with window clings, stickers, light fabrics, thin cardstock, and vellum/td>||–|
Since this product is not self-healing, the manufacturer recommends being careful of pushing down too hard when cutting out patterns. You may want to use the thin cover to prevent dust from adhering to the sticky texture of the mat.
Cricut Standard Grip Mat 12-inch by 24-inch – Best Cricut Cutting Mats
|Useful for items with a pattern or embossing||Might want to use plastic covers when sitting|
|Rubber material stays in place||Works best when using Cricut tools like spatulas to remove items|
|Thin width||Not self-repairing|
This product comes with two mats. You may find the product works best in a specific craft area. The size might make the mats difficult to store when traveling.
OLFA 17-inch Rotating Self-Healing Mat – Best Overall Cutting Mat
|360-degree grid||Must store flat|
|Quarter and center marks||Needs to be out of the sun when not in use|
|Inch grid lines along the side||Two piece mat|
|Heat welding construction||–|
|Rotating top layer||–|
This cutting mat may be excellent if you are a quilter. The grid marks make it easy to cut straight lines. When you need to trim up edges and constantly turn your material, then you may find this cutting surface a great help.
Silhouette America Cut Mat 12-inch – Best Thin Cutting Mat
|Small size and weight||Specific to the Silhouette Cameo 3|
|Easy grid pattern for cutting various line sizes||Not self-healing|
|Medium tack will hold various craft materials without tearing when removing||Not self-repairing|
When you have a specific spot for your craft materials, then this cutting mat might be a leading pick to keep around. The cutting surface does not repair itself, but with careful use only using a rotary cutter and proper storage, this product may last quite some time.
Cricut Lightgrip Cutting Mat 12-inch by 12-inch Triple Pack – Best Light Grip Mat
|Small size convenient for storage||Thin mat|
|Works with other brands calling for 12-inch by 12-inch mats||Does not show inch breakdown with half, quarter, eight, or sixteenth marks|
|Quick surface removal||Does not repair itself|
|No offensive odor like previous mats||–|
The lightweight Cricut may be a great option when you need to line up paper edges. The pattern goes across the mat instead of sitting along the sides. You can make several cuts at the same time when you are cutting strips.
Fiskars 12-83727097J – Best Large Cutting Mat
|Dual sides||Weighs almost three pounds|
|Bias lines at 30, 45, and 60 degrees for creating triangles and other shapes like stars||–|
When you use bolts of fabric a lot, you may find this cutting mat beneficial. The grid numbers contrast with the lines making them more recognizable.
Fiskars Crafts 95237097J – Best Cutting Mat Set
|Self-repairing||Must store away from heat, light, extreme cold, and cover when not in use|
|Dual side use||–|
|Ruler shows seam allowance||–|
|Rotary cutter works for cutting through multiple layers||–|
If you do a lot of sewing and hemming, then you may find this cutting mat the most useful. The extra-long and wide mat allows for work on larger projects. Grid markings cover the entire mat. Bias lines on the ruler may help with pleating.
US Art Supply 24-inch by 36-inch – Best PVC Cutting Mat
|Large size||Weighs five pounds|
|Half and eighth inch markings||–|
|Double side use||–|
Three millimeters thick may be what you need when you do a lot of cutting. When you are trimming large or thick pieces of material, this large mat is excellent for protecting your table and other surfaces.
OLFA 24-inch by 36-inch – Best Cutting Mat for Numerous Cuts
|Self-repairing top||Needs to stay room temperature and away from irons|
|Makes squaring easy with a grid block||–|
|Bias lines and circular degrees for cutting various shapes||–|
Using this mat may keep your rotary cutter sharper for a longer time. Dual side markings let you get extra use out of the mat. Only use with a rotary cutter.
Best Cutting Mats – Buyer’s Guide
You may choose the right product from our Best Cutting Mats Buyer’s Guide by selecting mats by function, size, and durability. There is no right or wrong product. We suggest choosing a variety of mats to give you options.
The Cricut Standardgrip Cutting 12-inch by 12-inch triple pack and the Cricut Standard Grip Mat 12-inch by 24-inch double pack might work well for people who want to make several items at the same time. The Nicapa Cutting Mats may also be a good choice.
Use and Care
When using a rotary cutter, you should always be using a self-healing cutting mat. Rotary blades are extremely sharp and designed to cut through multiple layers of fabric at one time. This means if you’re not using a mat, you’re cutting through your fabric or leather into your work surface, damaging both your work surface and your blade.
Self-healing cutting mats are allowing for a continuously smooth work surface. This feature is also what helps prolong the life of your blade. Cutting mats are somewhat soft and absorb the blade while you’re cutting, as opposed to a hard mat and the blade is just rolling across the surface. This is much like using your kitchen knives on a glass cutting board will dull your kitchen knives, using your rotary cutter on a hard mat will dull your rotary blades, causing you to change them more often.
For example, OLFA mats are double-sided. There are grid lines on one side for accurate measurements and solid green on the other side for general use. To prolong the life of your rotary mats, please follow all general care instructions printed on the label. You want to make sure and always store your mat flat on your table, on the floor, under your bed, anywhere that allows you to lay it flat. You don’t want to prop it up against the wall because this could cause it to droop or warp, so you don’t want to do that. Always lay it flat. In general, keep your mat away from heat as this can also cause your mat to droop or warp. You don’t want to leave it in the trunk of your car. Don’t iron on it and place your hot cup of coffee somewhere else.
If you’re doing a lot of repetitive cuts, you may want to vary how you lay out your leather or fabric. For example, if you’re cutting a lot of three-inch strips, you may want to lay your fabric out so that now and then you’re putting on the four-inch line or the five-inch line. This will allow your mat to self-heal and will eliminate the possibility for a groove forming in any one area.
Lastly, if you’re cutting a lot of fleece or cuddle or batting, you may notice some fibers starting to gather on your mat. An easy way to get rid of those is with an art gum eraser. These can be found at any art supply or office supply store, and all you have to do is erase those fibers away. It’s just as easy as that.
Heavy use or business applications
Self-healing mats may be your best friend when you are constantly cutting out lettering or creating cute decals. Window clings, fun decorations, and cards are other items you may want to cut out on a mat that repairs itself immediately. These surfaces hold up longer and allow you to use them for a variety of materials and thicknesses. The Fiskars 12-83727097J and US Art Supply mats are two of our top picks for long-term use.
Video Guide: Cleaning Self Healing Cutting Mat Using Eraser
Requires tools or special care and handling
The Nicapa Cutting Mat for Silhouette Cameo 3/2/1 may last longest when you use the tools the manufacturer suggests. Brand name Cricut and Silhouette cutting mats also use scrapers and removers and come with dust covers to maintain the mat grip and reduce dust.
If you have a small craft area, then it may be best to go with one of our smaller mat options. We think the OLFA 17-inch Rotating Mat is a great pick if we have to choose just one. We hope this guide helps you find a cutting mat to protect your furniture and help you create fun, exciting items.
What are self healing cutting mats?
Self healing mats are thin pieces of material useful for cutting objects without damaging tables and desks. These items are common in crafting stores, art shops, fabric stops, and hobby stores. People use these mats to cut materials like cloth into strips or squares for sewing and other projects.
These mats make use of tiny incisions to let the material flex and move out of the way of the blade. After use, the mat closes back and leaves an even surface for the next use. Many rocket makers use these mats to cut small pieces of plastic to size for custom rocket pieces. These boards are protective items allowing people to use sharp blades without tearing up the surface beneath.
What is a self healing cutting mat made of?
These mats use a polyurethane rubber for their primary construction. The word poly means more than one ingredient. The rubber is a combination of urethane and organic materials. The materials combine to create a pliable yet durable surface that many people use for cutting items for crafts like making clothes or small objects like balsa wood for miniature creations.
The mix of items forms a sturdy surface that will separate when using a rotary cutter or other blades. These mats come in a variety of sizes. The self-healing feature means the surface of the material opens and closes to allow the blade to penetrate the item for cutting without damaging the mat.
How does a cutting mat self heal?
Although the name implies the mat reseals itself, the technology behind the design is a bit more complex. Polyurethane mats use small squares of material put together with openings that let the mat flex and move out of the way of the blade when cutting. The mat heals itself by moving apart as the person applies pressure. After cutting, the mat closes back to form a solid surface that is ready for use again.
How do you straighten a self healing mat?
Cutting mats are susceptible to warping and bending. Heat, excessive use, and ironing will cause the material to change shape. Over time, rubber materials can also dry out and lose shape. To fix this problem, you can attempt one of two solutions.
First, try using an iron on the lowest setting. You will want to use a couple of towels to protect the surface of the mat as you work. It may take extra time in the area where the warping is the worst.
Another method of repairing self healing mats is to use the heat of the sun. Place the item on a flat surface. You may want to choose a dark item like a table that absorbs the sunlight. Use a thick piece of glass to cover the mat and place a brick on the area with the most flex. It will take a few hours to see if this method works. You might want to leave the material under the glass during the hottest part of the day if the bending is severe.
If these two methods of repairing the damage to your cutting mat do not work, then you may still salvage part of the mat. You can cut off the portion of the mat that will not lay down flat. The smaller, flatter part of the urethane mat is still usable for cutting little items.
What is a rotary mat?
A rotary mat is a self-healing mat that helps you get the most life out of your rotary cutters. These mats are often dual-sided with lines to help the user cut a straighter line. Many rotary mats come with inch or centimeter marks making measuring quilt pieces or multiple objects easier. Using these mats helps extend the life of the blade because the self-healing feature means the mat moves out of the way of the blade letting it fully penetrate the item you are cutting. The inside of these mats consists of a durable layer that will not let the blade cut through the entire board.
What to do with old cutting mats?
Old cutting mats have a variety of uses. One idea is to use the mats as coasters for drinks, pitchers, and plants. You can also use these mats to create templates for common projects. For example, to create pillows, you can cut the old mat to the size you need for your fabric pieces. These templates make it easier to cut shapes to the same dimensions each time.
Another idea is to use the material to make purse and bag bottoms. You may want to sand the material a little to soften the edges before you sew it into the liner to make sure it does not penetrate the purse interior.
How do I restore my Olfa cutting mat?
You might want to soak your Olfa cutting mat from time to time. All you need is a bathtub filled with cool water. These mats will warp when you use hot or warm water, so remember to let the water come to room temperature or let it cool before use. Use a soft brush to remove little pieces of rubber along the seams. Soak the mats for up to an hour in the water and let air dry. It is best to use a container or bathtub to allow the mat to remain flat until fully dry.
Can you iron on a cutting mat?
Self healing and rotary mats will flex and bend with heat. To prevent this from happening, the manufacturers recommend caution if ironing on a cutting mat. If you must iron on the mat, then putting a few towels on the surface is one way to minimize any flexing. You can use this technique, however, to fix a mat with a curl or bend as long as you use towels and the lowest temperature setting.
What size cutting mat do I need for quilting?
If you are a new quilter, then you may want to start with an 18-inch by 24-inch board. This size is ideal for most quilting projects. However, if you plan to use the mat to create a border for the quilt, then you might want to use a larger mat like a 24-inch by 48-inch size. For smaller projects like creating appliques, it is best to use a smaller size like the 12-inch by 12-inch version. You might also want to purchase a variety pack or several size mats if quilting is something you will do often.