If you have a rotary blade you may think as long as you have a cutting mat that’s enough. However, you’ve come to find that there are different mats and some are better than others. With so many options for cutting mats, you may wonder what is a rotary cutting mat?
A rotary cutting mat is a self-healing mat made to be used with brush hogs or rotary cutters. A mat protects a rotary cutting tool’s needs and the surface it cuts on. The right mat will help make precise cuts over and over again.
A rotary cutting mat separates and bounces back to protect the blade and ensure your cut is accurate every time. Knowing the difference between types of mats will ensure you choose the right mat for the job.
Whether you’re cutting paper or fabric or paper you need a rotary cutting mat. Read on to learn what a rotary cutting mat is and how to choose the right one for the job.
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What is a rotary cutting mat?
A rotary cutting mat is made to protect your blade and surface when cutting fabrics with a rotary cutter. Rotary cutting mats should always be self-healing so that no grooves are left behind after each cut.
Rotary cutters make particularly deep cuts, so a mat that helps protect your blade from getting caught in grooves is essential. The mat also needs to work with all sorts of materials.
Since rotary blades are often used for fabric, rotary cutting mats are made to work for cutting cloth. A rotary mat can hold your fabric in place and has the proper measurements for crafting and sewing material for clothing.
When using a rotary blade you can use any mat on the market, but it’s best to choose a self-healing mat for rotary cutters.
What is a self-healing cutting mat?
A self-healing cutting mat is made of pressed plastic that lays flat over your desk or table. The mat protects the surface you’re cutting on and your blade by bouncing back together when the mat is cut.
Self-healing mats are special because of their ability to “heal” themselves. They are made from elastics like rubber, vinyl, and PVC that slowly separate each time it’s cut. Instead of the cut staying in the mat they pull themselves back together.
This means your blade doesn’t get stuck inside the mat in the same place each time you cut. A smooth surface allows you to cut to your fabric at the right measurement each time.
Are all rotary cutting mats self-healing?
All self-healing mats aren’t rotary cutting mats, but the best “rotary mats” are self-healing. Any mat claiming to be a rotary cutting mat should be self-healing.
When choosing a mat be careful because not all cutting mats are made for rotary blades. You can find cutting mats that are not self-healing that will advertise they work for cutting with a rotary blade.
You can use a mat that isn’t self-healing, but self-healing mats are made for rotary blades. The continuous rolling of the blade will create deep grooves in mats that can’t take the pressure or self-heal.
Mats that aren’t self-healing that claim to be specifically a rotary cutting mat will dull your blade faster. They will also cause issues with cutting fabric. Your precise measurements will quickly get grooves in areas that you measure frequently, making your cutting slightly off, so be careful with “rotary mats” that aren’t self-healing.
Do rotary mats wear out?
Rotary mats wear out over time. All cutting mats wear out over time. Self-healing mats last longer than typical cutting mats because the cuts wear down the mat slower.
If you have a mat that can be used on both sides you can make it last even longer. You’ll know it’s time to replace a rotary mat when you begin to have grooves you can’t get your blade out of.
To increase the amount of time your mat lasts, try not to cut in the same place over and over again. Choose a mat that can be used on both sides for the best results.
Take care of your mat to make it last. Flip the mat from time to time to give it time to heal. Also, be sure to store your mat flat out of direct sunlight so it doesn’t warp.
How long does a cutting mat last?
A cutting mat lasts based on the number of cuts. A good mat will last over hundreds of cuts on both sides.
This means the length of time a mat lasts depends on how much you use it. Smaller mats can last for 40-50 uses while larger self-healing mats can last for over 100 cuts.
Despite the fact that all mats wear down over time, a quality Fiskars mat comes with a lifetime warranty. The truth is with proper maintenance and care your mat will last longer than you would expect.
Be sure to store your mat flat and flip it from time to time. If you need to clean it, avoid harsh chemicals and use only soap and water. Wash with warm water because you don’t want your mat to get too hot or cold. Harsh sunlight and a room that’s too hot or too cold will warp your mat.
Of course, all of your maintenance depends on choosing a quality mat that will work well for a rotary cutter. Be careful what you choose and you’ll have a mat that lasts a lifetime.
Summary: What is a rotary cutting mat?
A rotary cutting mat is a runner that protects the surface you cut on and the blade you are cutting with. They are made to be used with rotating cutting blades that are often used for quilting or fabrics.
A good rotary cutting mat helps you hold your material in place and measure precisely each time. The best rotary cutting mats should be self-healing.
If you choose a quality mat it will last for hundreds of cuts. If they are double-sided, with proper care your mat can last even longer.
All you need to do is keep your mat flat and out of direct sunlight and you will be able to use it over and over again. You can cut fabric, paper, and make quilts without worry. Choose a rotary cutting mat for your rotary blade and have fun cutting and creating.