Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Cutting mats: a perfect fit for a perfect cut

There are many different hobbies and professions that use self-healing cutting mats. As such, finding a good mat is paramount as well as understanding how and why such a mat should be used. These tips can keep a mat ready to use for a long time, saving money in the long run.

First, of course, is quality. The Alvin Self Healing Cutting Mats, available in green/black or translucent, are well-made and a good bargain. A self-healing cutting mat is made of three layers: two layers of a special composite vinyl with a stiff layer between them. The vinyl composite is a special polymer that reduces the impact of cuts. The molecules of the vinyl stick back together once cut, closing the seam. If a self-healing mat is carefully maintained, it can last many years.

A self-healing cutting mat is most often used with a craft knife or a rotary cutter. Both of these are very sharp blades with many purposes. A craft knife can be used to cut paper or cardboard, lending itself to use in drafting and design as well as art pieces, school projects, or scrapbooking. Rotary cutters are typically used for cutting fabric, so many quilting and sewing projects will make use of them. Using it with a mat can maintain the sharp edge on a rotary cutter for longer. A self-healing mat is perfect for either of these blades.

Most cutting mats have an inch grid pattern on them. This helps when measuring projects and keeping a constant straight edge, a feature that figures prominently in all uses of a cutting mat. Cutting mats are also embossed with 45-degree and 60-degree angles.

Proper care is important when using a cutting mat. Always keep it flat. The mat can become curved and it will no longer yield straight results. It should also be kept out of the sun, which can warp the vinyl and ruin the mat. It may seem obvious, but keep the mat clean. A bumpy or sticky surface can make getting a straight, clean cut difficult.

Cutting mats fit many needs for many craft tools.


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