Why everyone should have a self-healing cutting mat

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/09/16/why-everyone-should-have-a-sel.html


It is hard to imagine a life without cutting mats. My tips are (1) don’t put your computer on it, because once it warps it’s useless, and (2) you can get non-green ones; I like the Arteza ones which are dark grey / off-white, with the colors reversed on the back.


So the lovely wife won’t remember what happened to the dining room table last year.

Get a mat.


They call them “self healing”, but I still had to go to the hospital when I cut my finger while using one.


I have 2 of them - a 14.5" x 10.25" el-cheapo mat on my desk/computer station because I frequently want to trim something and simply ‘go for it’ as an overconfident ‘artisan’, and a 2’ x 3’ Alvin mat when I have large or serious cutting work to do.

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still using the 24x36 one i bought in 1987. yesterday in fact

I once was in a hurry to finish up a dummy for a presentation and with a hearty pull on the knife I cut from the tip of my index finger all the way through the finger nail until the knife caught on the first finger joint.

Also, don’t leave it on a table that soaks in sunlight from a window. Had a big cutting mat warp all to hell from that.

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You can flatten them with judicious use of a heat gun, a flat surface, and some weights. Put the mat on a flat surface, heat it until it’s soft, put lots of books or other flat weights on it, and let it cool. You might have to do this more than once, but eventually it will be usable again.

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I use a sheet of glass from an old scanner. It’s really interesting to cut paper because you don’t need to use as much force, you’re cutting only through the paper, not the mat. But I guess you wear the blades faster.
Also : always perfectly flat, and you can use a lightbox.


Also don’t store them upright, they will warp from that, too.


Mine is a 12x18 inch stored upright to no ill effect. It was getting a lot of use when my wife was cutting out cloth for masks, but she decided to buy a much larger one for herself.

Yes! These are fantastic. I just used one this week to precisely cut 5 mm wide strips out of copper tape to make an rf saddle coil for a project.

Weird. Well, I’ve been storing mine upright for a couple of years, maybe it takes some time. Or mine is just a cheap-ass excuse for the real thing?

To go along with a cutting mat I like safety straight edges that have a guard for your fingers if the blade slips. This brand is aluminum but has an inset steel edge (available in different lengths from other suppliers). There are other similar products by different companies, especially in long lengths for vinyl cutting.

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