CB21-051 - how to flatten a warped cutting mat (straighten and repair)(1)

How to flatten a warped cutting mat (straighten and repair)

How do you reshape a warped cutting mat?

Warped cutting mats can be fixed by applying heat and pressure. Place a damp towel over your cutting mat and gently iron the warped mat. Immediately place even weight over your mat, such as plywood with a bunch of books over it.

It’s not uncommon for cutting mats to warp or twist. High heat, humidity, and unorganized craft rooms can do damage on your mat.

However, you don’t need to rush out to buy another mat!

Luckily for you, I’ll show you why your cutting mat is warping so you can prevent it from happening again. I’ll show you how to flatten your cutting mat with items you already have around the house. Your mat will look better in no time!

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Why do cutting mats warp?

There might be any number of different reasons you’re dealing with a cutting mat that bends, twists, or warps. The most common reasons cutting mats warp include: 

  • Storing your cutting mat incorrectly
  • Subjecting your cutting mat to extreme heat on a regular basis or
  • Subjecting your cutting mat to extreme humidity and excess moisture

Cutting mats should be stored horizontally and flat on a surface. Storing your cutting mat vertically can result in your mat twisting out of shape. Cutting mats are typically stored near other objects which can push into your mat causing it to warp. 

Heat makes cutting mats pliable and the material sets as the cutting mat surface cools down. Exposure to heat, changing temperatures, or direct sunlight can damage your cutting mat.

You should also avoid exposing your cutting mat to excess humidity or moisture. Not all cutting mats are designed to be water resistant. Humidity can cause your mat to swell and your mat can twist when it starts to dry out.

Therefore, you should always store your cutting mat in a temperature and humidity controlled environment. Don’t cram your cutting mat into your craft closet, but take time to lay it out horizontally.

Can you fix a warped cutting mat?

It is possible to fix a warped cutting mat by applying heat and pressure. The best way to fix a cutting mat is with a damp towel and a clothes iron. After ironing the damp towel over the mat, weight should be applied to the cutting mat to allow the material to set.

How to Flatten a Warped Cutting Mat

Warped cutting mats can be reshaped and fixed by applying heat and evenly distributing heavy weight over the mat. The cutting mat should be allowed to set overnight to allow the material to regain its shape. Repeat the process if your cutting mat isn’t straight or decide if a new mat is worth the cost.

Keep in mind, cutting mats can have gridlines which help you measure. Any heat applied causes the cutting mat material to become pliable, which can change the location of your gridlines.

Most cutting mats should be replaced after a few hundred cuts. However, cutting in the same location or not using both sides of the cutting mat can decrease the life of your mat. Placing or using hot items, such as a hot drink or heat gun, on your cutting mat will also decrease the life of the mat.

Fixing a warped cutting mat with an iron

You’ll need to gather a few items from around your house before you can flatten your cutting mat. You’re going to need: 

  • A regular clothing iron
  • A microfiber towel or soft piece of fabric
  • A bunch of really heavy books
  • A big piece of wood (or even a cutting board will work in most situations)

Fix a warped cutting mat by:

    1. Place a damp towel over your cutting mat on a smooth surface. Make sure your towel isn’t wrinkled over the cutting mat. Instead, the towel should lay smooth.
    2. Use your clothing iron to apply heat to the damp towel and smooth out your mat. The clothing iron will heat the damp towel, causing steam to heat up your cutting mat. Gently push the clothing iron into the mat to apply pressure while heating.
    3. Evenly apply pressure to the cutting mat. You’ll need to apply even pressure to your cutting mat immediately after you’re done heating. The more weight you apply and the more evenly the weight is applied, the better your results will be. Ideally, you’ll use a sheet of plywood to cover your mat and then add weight. Most people use books for adding weight.
    4. Let the weight sit overnight. The weight needs to sit overnight to keep constant pressure on your mat. The cutting mat is going to cool down, setting the material in place. Removing the weight too soon will cause your mat to spring back to the warped position.
    5. Repeat as needed. Chances are you may have to repeat this process two or three times to get a flat mat.

Summary: How to fix a warped cutting mat

As you can see, it is possible to fix a warped cutting mat. Cutting mats can be ironed to fix any warps, bends, or twists. Iron a damp towel over your cutting mat to allow the steam to heat the material. Then, apply even pressure to the mat overnight to allow the mat to reshape.

Avoid cutting mats from warping by properly storing the mat horizontally, without items pushing into it. Do not let your cutting mat be exposed to high or low temperatures or direct sunlight. High humidity or water is not good for your cutting mat.

You may want to consider replacing your cutting mat if you’ve used it for a few hundred cuts. Cutting in the same location multiple times and using hot items on or near your mat can decrease life.