Rose's Quilting Blog

How to easily care for your quilting self-healing cutting mats

How to easily care for your quilting self-healing cutting mats

How to "Easily & Simply" care for your Quilting Self-Healing Cutting Mats!

Quilting rotary cutters and self-healing cutting mats, are something that of course we are all so remarkably familiar with,
and many of us have quite a collection of these “quilting tools of the trade”.


We may have very large fabric self-healing cutting mats, or very small mats, maybe you have several rotary cutting mats both square or round.

Maybe your cutting mat is fastened to a table, a desk or a sewing bench, maybe it spends much of its life on the kitchen table… never mind about the family meals happening there… but whatever type, size, shape or amount of quilting cutting mats you personally have, do you know how to care for your self-healing cutting mat to get the longest life you can from it?

My very first cutting mat that I had and still have for that matter, was long before self-healing cutting mats were born, well at least here within Australia. I would have purchased this in approx 1983, when patchwork was quite new to Australia, and the products you could buy back then, were extremely basic in comparison to today's broad & expansive range of quilting tools.

Yes it’s full of cutting lines etc, and it did blunten many rotary blades but I use this for all those things that we do that may place glue onto it, or when spraying things with spray glues, 505 basting sprays etc, but considering it’s age, it’s still in relativity good condition, BUT I wouldn’t dare use it to cut fabric on anymore, never lone place my rotary cutter near it.

As our cutting mats & rotary cutters are a huge part of our patchwork and quilting life we need to look after them like gold.
As we all know once you make a cut on these mats with your rotary cutter, the mat leaves no visible signs of where we actually made that cut, unless of course you Always cut across the Same cutting line or mark every time you make a cut, then that can really start to damage your cutting mat, so a good practice is to always cut in a different place each time you make a new cut.

If you purchase a good quality rotary cutting mat in the first place, and you look after it, it’ll last you for many many years, especially
if you give it a little care.


The way that I regularly clean my mats, is by using some room temperature water with some dish washing detergent in it…
Do Not use hot water or harsh chemicals as they can damage your cutting mat.
I then use a soft bristle dish washing style brush to create a soapy lather over my mat, then rinse off in room temperature water and dry.

Do not place your mat out in the direct sunlight to dry as that can damage and harden your quilting mat.

 

One way to stop fibers like batting, fleece, or fuzzy type fabrics, being caught in cuts within your mat is to cut in a different place
for each of those cuts. If you do get lint stuck within your mat, you need to remove it, so the cuts are able to heal and close up again.


A fantastic way to remove lint that is stuck to your self-healing cutting mat is to use a normal artist’s rubber eraser. Just smooth
this across your cutting mat, and you’ll be surprised at how easy it removes all sorts of lint & fibre build up on your much loved and used cutting mat. You can also try using some batting scraps for picking up the loose bits of your quilting fabric, fibers etc but do give the rubber a try, you may be amazed.


As with all things in life, your cutting mat does still have limits to
its actual life span, or maybe I need to say, cutting life, so if you see your mat is starting to show cuts that are not healing, or you need
to add more pressure when cutting, then maybe your fabric cutting mat is on its way out, but with the above care, including storing
your mat flat, never on it’s side, storing away from direct sunlight etc, you can have many many happy quilting years of cutting on your mat.


A hardened or damaged mat, can also ruin the blades in your
rotary fabric cutters as well, just the same as a damaged rotary
blade, can also ruin your perfectly good cutting mat.
You can check out my range of mats here.

I’ll talk more about rotary cutters on another day.

That's it for me for this week,
as usual I'll be back same time, same place next week...

Have the most beautiful creative & inspiring day
Rose
Be Creative, Be Inspired

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