There are 2 types of Cutting Mats
- Self Healing
These are the style of mat that has been most commonly available. A great deal of mystery surrounds their actual composition, this is one of the few time Mr Google has failed me. I can tell you they are made of several layers, the core most likely some form of vinyl which acts to stabilise the outer layer of mystery polymer. This type of mat does exactly as the name suggests: the surface heals when it is cut. That first mat of mine, the one I showed in the previous post is the self healing variety. It may have been cheap, but it certainly stood the test of time. Name brand self healing mats will be at the higher end price wise,but my experience has proven that even a knock off will do the job. No matter the price you pay, this style of mat has one major draw back. They must be kept completely flat at all times or they will buckle. If they warm up ie the sun hits them through a window...they will buckle also and no amount of reheating and squishing will make them flat again.
Thes are thinner and lighter than a self healing mat as they only have the one layer. The brand I am most familiar with is made from 100% recycled materials and is manufactured in a carbon neutral factory. They are also made in Australia by an Australian owned company. Somewhat surprisingly they come in at a more affordable price than the self healing variety which is not often typical of products manufactured at home. I am also told that the surface of the the hard mat is kinder on the blade of your cutter. Unlike the self healing mats, hard mats are warp resistant. (Trust me that is quite a big selling point)
Life span of either style will depend on how much you use the mat, how well you care for it and maybe a little surprisingly HOW you use it. Your actual cutting technique plays a significant part in the life of your mat AND the blade of your cutter. (There will be a cutting technique tutorial coming in the future.....)
|Matilda's Own 17" Rotating Cutting Mat|
Mats that are designed specifically for patchwork feature an imperial grid with the addition of some 45 degree angle lines also printed on the surface. Some mats are double sided, and usually those that are feature a metric grid on one side, the typical imperial on the other. These lines aid you when cutting fabric for your quilts, but more about that in the Cutting Technique Tutorial.
Traditionally all mats have been a dark green with yellow writing. Lately I have seen mats in a rainbow of colours....the colour makes no difference to the performance.
So how do you choose? Here is my list of things to think about when buying your first or even upgrading your cutting mat.
- What size is practical in the space I work in.
- What size is practical for me to store safely.
- How much do I have to spend.
Pictured below are 2 mats by the same Supplier, one of each type. The size is not exactly the same but is the closest I could find for comparison. As you can see the difference in price between the 2 types is quite significant even factoring in the size disparity. In this situation spending more is not necessarily getting you a better quality product. You could ask why you would spend more when a quality product is available at the more affordable price? I have used both and find I have a preference for the Self Healing Mat....but if my circumstances or needs changed I would absolutely consider the Hard variety.
|22" x 28" Hard Cutting Mat RRP $35.00 24" x 36" Self Healing Mat RRP $89.95|
So my final word? In this case you are spoiled for choice. I truly believe it is hard to make a wrong decision.
You will not presently find Cutting Mats listed on my Website. I am still working through which is the most user friendly size, generally speaking and the safest most cost effective shipping method. In the meantime I will happily special order anything I don't have. Or if you would just like some more advice, drop me a line.
NOW for today's treasure hunt! Can you make out the Brand name of the mats I have featured in this post?? See if you can, and then see if you can find out where their Head office is...leave your answer in a comment here!
PS Don't forget to share this blog.....the more the merrier!!
PPS I may not have Cutting Mats...but I have LOTS of other awesome stuff....so why not stop by the store anyway..... SHOP HERE!