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What Is A Self-Healing Cutting Mat And WHY Does Every Hobbyist Need One? (The Answers To All Your Questions)

If you are a hobbyist, then you can protect your table surfaces from sharp knives and rotary cutters by using a self healing cutting mat.

How does a self-healing cutting mat work?

Self-healing mats are made with separate tiny pieces of material that create a solid surface to cut on.

Whatever type of cutting tool you use on this mat, the blade will go between these tiny pieces. The blade SEPARATES the mat’s pieces rather than cutting into the entire unit of the surface.

Once the cut has been made, the memory-retaining properties of the mat allow it to close back together again.

Just like you can’t permanently separate water when splashing, you can’t always cut into these mats and separate the ‘water’ drops’ from each other. After each cut, the ‘water’ flows back together.

Do I need a self-healing cutting mat?

Self-healing mats are not just good quality mats. Finding the best self-healing cutting mats allow for more accurate and professional work.

On regular mats, past cuts create uneven surfaces and grooves.

The benefit of a self-healing mat is that it always returns to a smooth and undamaged surface. Meaning you will never have to work against an uneven surface.

The picture below is a scary reality for some. They probably only have one corner that isn’t uneven, and they treasure it. Drawing and handwriting over the mat are a nightmare. They have developed coping mechanisms and habits that would be too embarrassing to describe.

It’s okay to feel sorry for people with mats like this. Just know there is hope out there in the form of self-healing mats.

Working with prints, graphics and sensitive details – a self-healing mat will allow you to be more accurate and cleaner in your cuts.

Is it impossible to damage these mats?

Dull blades can damage Self-healing mats. As worn blades can’t cut through and separate the tiny pieces of material, they will only make contact with the material on the mat and create grooves.

Therefore, making sure your knives or blades are sharp is essential. Cutting at a straight 90’ angle with the mat will also ensure you never harm or cut the mat material and separate the tiny pieces.

How do you treat a self-healing cutting mat?

Without proper care, a self-healing mat with wear and tear like any other product.

Begin first with taking a scrubber (like the one used for dishes) and clean through the grooves and pieces of the mat. You want to try and clean out excess dirt, threads, paper and other materials you could have left behind.

You could also wash the mat with a solution of dish soap and vinegar. This will clean and polish the mat, so it looks fresh and new again. Like any other surface in the house, these mats get layers of grime and dust built up.

It’s always a good idea to try and keep things clean and fresh. This way, every project begins without the traces of the previous one.

How long do cutting mats heal?

Depending on how it is used, most of the self-healing cutting mats are made to last for years.

However, the mats are not indestructible. Any material in the world will show a knife mark unless it is made of stone or hard metal.

Do not be alarmed if you can see some minor knife marks on some mats. Performance and longevity is dependent on several things:

  • Type of material being cut
  • Type of knife being used
  • The sharpness of cutting blade
  • Cutting pressure by the user

How can I extend the life of my mat?

Always use new, sharp knife blades when cutting and change blades often.

Try not to skimp out of $3.00 blades. What’s the point of spending hundreds of dollars on a mat when you buy the cheapest blade that will wreck it?

Use moderate pressure on the cutting knife. Some projects might require more force to cut through thicker material but try to not be excessive or damaging (to the mat or fabric)

Rotate your cutting mat often to avoid frequent cuts in the same area. The person with the ‘scary mat’ clearly didn’t rotate it, and that’s why they have a sacred corner that’s smooth while the rest is damaged.

Apart from the clever technology and design of these self-healing mats, they have

  • Measurements and helpful guides for hobby projects 
  • Standard colours that stand out against the table or workspace you have – helping you see the borders before cutting into your dining room table (cue the horror music)
  • Sizes fit for every space and need