How to Choose a Quality Cutting Mat

How to Choose a Quality Cutting Mat
Sep 24

When it comes to your important craft project, you can’t sacrifice quality when it comes to any of the tools you use to get the job done. That’s why even the surface you work on is an important consideration in the success of your project. If you’re considering adding a cutting mat to your collection of stationery supplies, read on for tips to choosing a quality product that will last, and that you can trust will offer a smooth, reliable, protective surface.

Why Invest in a Cutting Mat?

Whether you’re using a rotary cutter or a utility knife, you’ll want a cutting mat at the base of your work surface. It not only protects your desk, table, or other furniture pieces you may be working on, it will protect your blade or knife from the types of dings, nicks, dullness, and unevenness that can damage the quality of your project over time.

Soft or Hard Surface Cutting Mats

The first choice you’ll want to make is relative to the type of cutting mat that will best suit your needs. There are primarily two styles to choose from: soft-surface cutting mats or hard-surface cutting mats. A hard-surface mat will be more rugged when it comes to significant regular use. Your blade won’t cut into the surface of a hard mat, but will rather glide across, giving you a smooth, protective cutting surface without worry about wear and tear. 

Soft-surface mats are more flexible and are made of a thinner material. They typically include a thin layer of vinyl on the top layer. While your blade will make small grooves and scratches on the surface of a soft-surface mat, the flexible nature of the material will render the slits somewhat superfluous, as the rubbery mat will simply close back in around the tiny scratches.

Available Sizes

The best size to choose will be dependent on the type of work you are doing, and the size of the work surface you need to cover. If you are cutting pattern pieces using a rotary cutter, you may need a full-size cutting table. For more desktop hobby work, a 36-inch x 18-inch or 18-inch by 25-inch mat should give you ample coverage.

Choosing the Right Thickness

If you are shopping for soft-surface cutting mats, be prepared to choose a thickness. Depending on the type of cutting tool you’re using, and how much regular use the mat will receive you may want to choose a mat anywhere from two millimeters thick to three millimeters thick. Even though it’s only a one-millimeter variance, that extra amount of cushioning could make a difference in the comfort you feel. If you are looking for a mat for general, occasional crafting, a 2-millimeter mat should suffice. If you are regularly using the mat for more complex projects, however, you may find the 2-millimeter mats are too slick, having an almost plastic-like quality to them. A 2-millimeter mat will also be more susceptible to wear and tear and may need more frequent replacing.

Our Recommendation

Whether your use will be more general arts and crafts hobby work, or more professional artwork, we recommend an Alvin & Company professional cutting mat. These soft-surface, self-healing and reversible cutting mats are three millimeters thick and extra durable. Made from a unique composite vinyl material designed for both rotary blades and straight utility blades, they provide a long-lasting, non-glare surface that can be cut and slashed constantly without showing marks or cutting lines. They can also be used as a desk blotter or general-purpose work mat. As an added bonus, you can find the perfect center on any project with the mat’s zero centering lines. Our Alvin & Company mats are convenient and easy to use and also offer:

  • An ideal cutting surface when your work needs to be precise
  • A special material that makes for cuts to re-heal for use over and over again
  • A grid pattern to keep cuts accurate

 Click here to shop online now. We offer mats that are black on one side and green on the other in sizes 36-inch x 18-inch or 18-inch by 25-inch.

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