Any quilter should not overlook the importance of having a quality cutting mat. Having the right cutting mat for your space and how you sew will make all the difference in your sewing experience and the finished project’s quality.
Just like using a proper rotary cutter or cutting machine, using the best cutting mat will ensure that your fabric is cut accurately without shredding the fibers. Clean cuts help retain the fabric’s cohesion and will hold up longer as time goes on, making it easier to match up corners as you work for accurate pattern placement.
Of course, these cutting mats aren’t just for quilters, though! They can be used for all kinds of crafts that require precise cutting, such as scrapbooking.
We’re going to introduce you to a few of our favorite self-healing sewing mats on the market so that you can choose the best one for your needs.
As quilters, we’ve used many of these products. We’ve also thoroughly researched customer reviews on each of these products, making sure that we’re helping you choose only the best self healing cutting mat for you and your sewing experience.
In a hurry, here is a quick summary of our recommendations.
- OLFA 24″ x 36″ Self-Healing Rotary Cutting Mat – Best Overall
- OLFA 35″ x 70″ Connecting Grid Rotary Cutting Mat Set – Runner-up
- ALVIN Cutting Mat Professional Self-Healing Cutting Mat
- US Art Supply 24×36 Self Healing Cutting Mat
- Dahle Vantage Self-Healing Cutting Mat
- ALVIN Professional Self-Healing Cutting Mat 3.5” x 5”
- ALVIN Translucent Professional Cutting Mat
- Skyhawk Self Healing Folding Rotary Cutting Mat
- Fiskars 14×14 Inch Self Healing Rotating Cutting Mat
- Omnigrid Rotating Mat Cutter
- Omnigrid Fold-Away Cutting & Pressing Station
- Why Self-Healing?
- What should you consider before purchasing a self-healing cutting mat?
- Best Large-Sized Self-Healing Cutting Mats
- Best Medium-Sized Self-Healing Cutting Mats
- Best Small Self-Healing Mats
- Best Travel-Sized Self-Healing Mats
- Our Verdict
Self-healing mats are the top go-to cutting mats by many quilters. Its durability lasts longer than its plastic-only counterparts. In the long run, self healing mats can save you money and reduce waste. Not only are they wallet-friendly, but they’re Earth-friendly, too!
Cuts made using the same rotary cutter and lines will leave divots and gutters in your mat as you work with different fabrics. A self-healing mat will fill in those marks when it’s hydrated.
Taking care of a self healing cutting mat is much easier than you might expect! The self-healing materials swell quickly in the bathtub (or sink, depending on size) with only water. Although it will not heal as quickly as it would if you soaked it, you can mist the mat with water if it is attached to a table or other flat surface.
Rolling for storage is not recommended. These mats will warp over time, which will make precise cutting difficult. Make sure to store them flat or vertically, which is easy as they’re thin enough to fit between the wall and shelves.
Self-healing mats are less likely to splinter as you work. Plastic cutting mats are more likely to shred the more you use them, which might create splinters.
What should you consider before purchasing a self-healing cutting mat?
Size of your Workspace
The main thing you need to pay attention to when deciding which cutting mat for sewing to purchase is the size of your workspace. You won’t want to purchase a huge cutting mat if it’s going to hang off the table you have available for it. In fact, that will only make your task more difficult and your cuts less accurate.
Size of your Fabric
On the other hand, having only a tiny cutting mat when you need to cut out large pieces of fabric is nearly impossible, too, so you want to make sure that you have enough space to work on your mat.
Storing Cutting Mat When Not in Use
Another consideration you might make is if you’ll need to be able to store the cutting mat when not in use. Large mats aren’t always the easiest to store properly in order to avoid warping.
Traveling with Cutting Mat
Will you need to take this cutting mat on the road? If so, you’ll want to think about how you’re transporting it places. Smaller mats do best as travel cutting mats, or those that are built with travel in mind.
Types of Materials to Cut
And, finally, perhaps another incredibly important consideration? What you’ll be cutting on your new self-healing mat. We understand that not everyone using these quilting mats are going to be quilters or will be using their mats exclusively for cutting out fabric. There are mats out there that have features that are assets to other types of crafters, such as being translucent in order to use with a lightbox, or spin so that you can quickly get to cutting the perfect angle.
Best Large-Sized Self-Healing Cutting Mats
Large cutting mats can be a great asset to anyone with huge space! A wide area to cut out your quilting fabric is perfect for cutting large cuts. It also allows you to space out your work and use larger or specialized rulers. Professional quilters and sewers will likely have these large self healing cutting mats affixed to their cutting counters.
What would be considered a large cutting mat for sewing? Typically, large cutting mats are anywhere from 24″ by 70″ to 35″ by 70″, or even 40″ by 70”. If you’re looking for something even larger, you can easily combine them to create a huge mat that covers a large counter.
If you’re looking for a giant cutting mat, this set of Olfa mats is one of the best choices! It consists of three rotary cutting mats that can be attached using small connectors that are low-profile so they won't obstruct your cutting. Considering that it comes in 3 separate pieces, you can store it more easily than in one giant piece, and you can pull out only what you need for each project.
The one downside to this mat is that it can move apart if it is not properly anchored. The accuracy of cutting large pieces will be affected if it slides out of place.
Another great option for a large cutting mat is the ALVIN mat. It comes as one piece. That means you’ll get even more life out of this mat! This fabric cutting board is also double-sided, so you can easily flip it over when you’re wearing cutting tracks on one side, and water won’t heal it as well as before.
Keep in mind that it is a giant piece. If you don’t plan on keeping it out on a cutting table at all times, it will be difficult to store it out of the way.
Best Medium-Sized Self-Healing Cutting Mats
Medium-sized cutting mats are probably the most widely used. They’re the right fit for most sewing rooms and can be stored much easier than larger mats. This size still gives a decent work space for cutting out your quilt patterns.
Medium-sized fabric cutting mats measure approximately from 12″ by 24″, 18″ by 24”, to 24” by 36”.
This self-healing fabric cutting mat is a great option. It comes in three fun color combinations: classic green with black, hot pink with bright blue backing, and a crisp white with an alternate side of navy blue.
It fits well on almost any cutting table or counter. This mat has 6 layers of material that are all self-healing, which makes it very durable.
The US Art Supply mat is reversible and comes in a wide variety of size options.
This 5-layer self-healing cutting mat comes in three colors. The sleek black or bright blue and clear can add a pop of color or elegance to your sewing room. Every color is matched with stark-colored writing so that it’s easy to see by everyone. It’s a basic self healing cutting mat that will certainly get the job done.
The downside to this option is that if it’s rolled, it will retain the curved shape, making accurate cutting difficult.
Olfa is one of the most popular and easy-to-find quilting cutting mat brands out there. These mats are high quality and come in a plethora of different sizes.
This is not the best choice if you’re looking for more color options. Classic green is the only available color for this mat.
Best Small Self-Healing Mats
Sometimes you need just a small mat for rotary cutting fabric. This handy self-healing mat is convenient. Whether it’s meant for your travel bags or you want it right next to your sewing machine for little bits of trimming after a seam, this is the suited mat for you.
Small-sized mats come in a few different sizes: 5″ by 5″, 6″ by 8″, 12″ by 12″, and 12” by 18”. They fit well in different styles of travel bags.
Among the smallest cutting mats available, the ALVIN self-healing cutting mat is an excellent option if you're short on space. It’s 3.5” by 5,” and will fit into any bag if you want to bring it with you during classes or retreats.
However, the 17.5 square inches size has not enough space to cut out pieces that are larger than 5 inches one way. It’s great for cutting tiny pieces or trimming, but it’s not recommended for cutting out quilt pattern pieces- unless they’re postage stamp blocks!
This translucent cutting mat is quite different than other cutting mats for sewing. The light can pass through it with ease. Are you a quilter who works with a lightbox? Then this is the cutting mat for you! Make sure to find a small size on any lightbox you use.
The one main drawback of this cutting mat is stiffness. While it’s made of the same layers and thickness as other mats, the material has used another layer to get the translucent effect.
Best Travel-Sized Self-Healing Mats
Travel-sized cutting mats are essential for quilters who frequently attend retreats or take classes.
There are several different types of travel-sized cutting mats. Regular and rectangular cutting mats tend to be very small. On the other hand, foldable travel mats can provide a little extra space as they collapse when you’re ready to pack them away. And finally, there are rotating cutting mats that help you to cut at odd angles in a small space!
Folding mats are great for traveling because they offer a larger cutting area that takes up half the space when unused. The fold isn’t straight, instead, it resembles a squiggly line down the middle of the cutting mat. The design is made to avoid getting stuck in gutters while cutting seams.
While the seam is meant to keep your lines straight without issue, it doesn’t have the sturdiest fabric on the back. If you’re not gentle with it, it will wear out over time. But that can be avoided by storing it properly when traveling and at home.
A rotating fabric cutting mat can greatly assist anyone in cutting odd angles in a small space. Want to cut diagonally? Simply rotate your mat with your fabric already placed and slice away! There are different degrees marked on the mat if you need a specific angle. The backing is meant to be non-slip and does a good job of keeping the mat in one spot as you work.
The downside to this mat is that if it gets warped in any way, it won’t rotate anymore. So, take extra care in how you carry and store it.
Another rotating option for your self-healing quilting mat is this Omnigrid. It is round and not rectangular. It has a scalloped edge for easy turning. It also has diagonal lines so that you can cut at the perfect degree. Choose the perfect size you need! It is available in an 8” diameter and a 14” diameter. It also has a non-slip base that creates a light suction against the table. You won’t have to worry about it moving as you cut out your quilt pieces!
In the same way that a bent or warped Fiskars rotating mat would affect its ability to rotate, this one has the same issue. But, with proper care, this mat will last a long time and work great in small spaces!
What’s better than a travel cutting mat? A travel cutting mat that is attached to a pressing mat! It comes with a handle and folds up very easily for quick clean-up and transport. It’s the perfect combination and provides the perfect workspace for anyone who wants to have their cutting and pressing tools in the same space.
Wondering about the drawback of this cutting mat and pressing station combination? It’s not a travel-friendly mat. You’ll have to carry it separately rather than packing it into your bag or sewing machine case.
Perhaps the most well-rounded option, in our opinion, is the OLFA 24″ x 36″ Self-Healing Rotary Cutting Mat. This mat is the perfect size for most cutting tables and workspaces. It’s also one of the most widely used brands on the quilting market. It’s trust worthy, easy to care for, and stores easily without warping if stored vertically along the wall or flat against the floor or tabletop.
Our runner up cutting mat is the OLFA 35″ x 70″ Connecting Grid Rotary Cutting Mat Set, We love this set because it offers a very large workspace, but can easily be made smaller since it comes in three different pieces. You can easily customize your cutting space each time you need to cut out a new project! And, because it’s an Olfa, it’s the same quality as our first choice, so you know it’s easy to care for and store when not in use!