Can you use an iron on a cutting mat?
Cutting mats are not generally designed to be ironed on. Unless you have a cutting mat specifically designed to withstand high temperatures, you shouldn’t iron on it. If you want to iron crafts, you need a special mat that won’t damage your surfaces.
Knowing what is and isn’t okay for hot crafts can be challenging. Some surfaces that seem like they should withstand heat are actually damaged by it. With that in mind, let’s look at can you iron on a cutting mat?
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Can You Use An Iron On Your Cutting Mat?
Placing an iron on your cutting mat could easily damage it. Most cutting mats will warp or melt if they are heated. This spoils their surface and stops them from working well when you cut on them.
Cutting mats are usually carefully designed to ensure that you can cut on them without blunting your knife’s blades.
For example, self-healing cutting mats are made up of many individual pieces of plastic. Your blade goes between the plastic pieces, reducing wear on the sharp edges. This also allows the mat to self-heal when you use it for cutting.
It doesn’t cut these pieces when you press down with a knife. Instead, it pushes them apart so the blade does not get blunt, and the mat does not get damaged. However, this plastic is not likely to be heat resistant.
The chances of an iron damaging your cutting mat are high. Do not place hot items on a mat that was designed for cutting. If you heat the plastic and it melts, this will ruin its self-healing properties.
Often, heat damage will be permanent, so it is essential to be careful. Please don’t leave your cutting mat somewhere that it’s likely to get damaged by heat or use hot tools on it.
Are Cutting Mats Heat Resistant?
Many cutting mats are heat resistant, but you should still avoid applying heat to them. Heat resistance is not the same as heat proofing, and your mat may get warped or melted. It is likely to melt if you put an iron on the cutting mat.
However, if you have bought a specifically designed cutting mat, it may have a high heat tolerance. If so, it should tell you what temperatures it can withstand. Don’t use any tools that get any hotter than this.
It’s generally advised that you don’t set hot cups or hot tools on a standard cutting mat. Even a hot cup could damage the plastic pieces and fuse them. Keep a good coaster on your table for any hot drinks and a heat mat for your tools.
What If I Have Damaged My Cutting Mat?
You can sometimes restore a warped cutting mat. Many people roll their cutting mats or store them upright, which can lead to bending. Fortunately, you can often fix these mats.
Interestingly, a popular method for fixing them involves ironing them. However, you will not be applying the iron straight to the surface. The heat should therefore not melt the plastic pieces.
To fix a warped cutting mat:
- Start by placing your cutting mat on a flat, heat proof surface. Make sure it is as flat as you can make it.
- Next, take a damp towel and spread it over the surface of the cutting mat. Turn your iron onto its low setting and allow it to get warm.
- Use the iron on the damp towel, pressing the mat flat. The heat and steam created by the damp towel should warm and soften the plastic of the mat. This will make it more malleable and encourage it to spring back into its original shape.
You should spend about ten minutes ironing the mat and check if it has worked. It’s a good idea to leave the mat on a flat surface until it is cool. Moving it while it’s still warm could cause it to warp again.
Sometimes, wetting your craft mat a little before ironing it will also help. It would be best to protect it with a towel still so that the iron doesn’t melt the surface. The water will revitalize a dried-out mat and help it regain its original shape.
What Craft Surfaces Are Suitable For Ironing On?
If you want to use an iron for crafting, make sure you choose a specifically iron-safe surface. Just heat resistance may not be sufficient. Choose mats or sheets that have been designed to withstand the heat of an iron.
For example, Teflon sheets are a good option. These are designed for ironing and should not burn or transfer heat to the surface below.
Alternatively, choose an ironing blanket that is scorch-resistant. If you add non-slip backing to this, it should be fine for ironing on. It can also be rolled up and stored when not in use.
What Should I Do If I Have Melted My Cutting Mat?
Unfortunately, there is not usually much that you can do once you have melted a cutting mat. Once the fibers have fused, self healing mats cannot self-heal. Cuts will damage the surface instead of pushing between the fibers without cutting them.
Often, repairing it will be impossible, even if the damage is only minor. You may choose to keep using the mat if it is large, and you can avoid the damaged area. Eventually, cutting mats wear out anyway, so you can ignore the melt if it doesn’t impact your crafts.
However, remember that cutting on the melted area will damage your blades more than cutting on an unmelted mat. The blade will be slicing the plastic instead of pushing through, which will blunt it. You may need to replace a damaged cutting mat.
Can Any Cutting Mats Be Ironed On?
A few brands of cutting mats have also been designed to withstand the heat of an iron. This can be very useful if you have a crowded craft room. It lets you cut down the clutter of having both a cutting board and an ironing board.
Some cutting boards are designed to be reversible, so you iron on one side and cut on the other. They may have a padded surface on one side and a self-healing surface. Some are both self-healing and capable of withstanding the heat of the iron all on one surface.
These products tend to be expensive, but you may find them worth it if you are a dedicated crafter. You should check the heat rating and ensure that it is high enough for your iron before buying one. Ironing on an unsuitable surface could be dangerous, as well as expensive in terms of replacing damaged materials.
Only iron on a cutting mat that has been designed for it, and always check to make sure. If it is a two-sided mat, use the correct sides for ironing and cutting.
Summary: Can you use an iron on a cutting mat?
Cutting mats are heat resistant, but they are not usually designed to withstand the heat of an iron. In general, this will melt them and spoil their surface, making them unsuitable for cutting on in the future. It’s therefore important to iron on a properly designed surface that can withstand the heat.
Melting your cutting mat is typically beyond repair. However, some cutting mats will warp with heat exposure.
Fixing a warped cutting mat involves putting a damp towel over your cutting mat. You then iron the towel over the warped areas to make the mat more malleable. Consider stacking heavy books on the mat overnight to allow the mat to set.
You may be able to find cutting mats that are iron safe. However, these mats are typically more expensive. Alternatively, you can use an ironing board, teflon surface, or ironing blanket for ironing.