Thursday, May 1, 2014

Caring for Your Self Healing Cutting Mat

From professional drafters and designers to hobbyist quilters and scrap-bookers, Self Healing Cutting Mats are a must. These non-stick, non-slip cutting mats protect drafting tables and other work surfaces from rotary blades and utility knives without dulling knife blades. Best of all, nicks and cuts left in these polyvinyl chloride (PVC) cutting mats disappear in minutes, allowing the mat to be used again and again.

Though they are extremely durable, these cutting mats are not completely indestructible. They require proper care and maintenance in order to retain their self healing properties. The following tips will help the professional and hobbyist preserve their cutting mat for years of use.

The surface of the cutting mat should always be kept clean and residue-free. Fabric fibers, paper residue, dust, and lint can get caught in the grooves of the mat and can dry the mat out over time. This debris should be wiped away from the mat using a lint magnet or damp sponge.

Moisture is critical to maintaining a cutting mat's self healing properties. Mats should be soaked occasionally in a solution of cool water mixed with white vinegar for 15 to 20 minutes, then allowed to dry on a flat surface. Cutting mats should always be stored flat, never in an upright position.

Although small knife marks and nicks will heal due to the three-ply PVC construction of the cutting mat, users should be careful not to cut too often along the same lines. Occasional maintenance with a mat smoother will also help to remove stubborn cutting marks that haven't healed completely.

Heat is one of the cutting mat's worst enemies. Excessive heat can cause the mat to warp and become unusable. Cutting mats should never be left in direct sunlight or inside a hot car, and must not be used as an ironing surface. Spilled coffee or hot foods can also damage cutting mats, so great care should be taken to avoid spills.

With a bit of care and maintenance, weekend crafters and full-time drafters can enjoy the use of their Self Healing Cutting Mats for many years.


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