Seeking how does a self healing mat works? Quilting and sewing can never be complete without a cutting mat. Also known as a rotary mat, it shields the surface you are working on from cuts and scratches. Just like their name suggests, self-healing mats are designed to cover up cuts made on them even after running sharp blades over them. There will be no visible mark left, and you can COMFORTABLY use the mat again without any mishaps.
After understanding what self-healing mats are, you might wonder what they are made of and how they work. Well, this article will help you understand the science behind it all. So read on to understand more.
What is a self-healing mat, and what is it used for?
As mentioned earlier, a self-healing mat is a mat that allows you to cut over it without leaving any mark on it. When a cut is made, it separates the mat’s surface, which later closes up again. Its primary purpose is to help crafters cut out straight lines and make fabric patterns with ease and preciseness.
The other use of a rotary mat is cushioning the working surface from the impact of dropping tools such as the rotary cutter, from damaging or scratching the work surface.
A self-healing mat is also good for your blades as it helps maintain their sharpness. It helps by ensuring the blade cuts through a soft surface, throughout.
What is a self-healing mat made of?
Self-healing mats are made from unique composite PVC vinyl material and solid plastic cores. These materials are layered then painted to form a mat. Although the manufacturers of self-healing mats don’t want to sell out their secret, the PVC and plastic could explain why quilters and sewers have sore hands after cutting through the materials. That is because plastic is tough to cut. All in all, cutting mats are intended to serve up to 20 years, although most will do slightly over 10 years.
How does a self healing mat work?
Self-healing mats’ ability to absorb blade cuts is quite impressive. But we all want to understand how it all happens. The mat is made from tiny particles compressed together to form one solid surface- A surface not too rigid or too hard to absorb cuts.
The mat was then painted, and gridlines formed to guide you as you cut through the fabric. When a quilter places their piece of fabric on those lines then press the rotary cutter against the mat and fabric, the mat surface separates to let the knife pass through it without causing any damage.
The makers of this mat had put into thought its design which is of ‘spring back memory.’ Once a cut is made, the mat springs back to its original state; that’s why it earned the name, self-healing mat. Its design is unlike any other cutting mat design in the market since the regular cutting mats could have grooves and ditches that form after too many cuts are made on them.
Video: How does a cutting mat work?
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQS)
Yes! All you have to ensure is that the blade is sharp enough so it doesn’t damage the mat.
Generally, mats warp when exposed to high temperatures. But there are designs built to withstand a hot iron passed right over them. The mats, however, cannot withstand very high temperatures as well.
The plastic and PVC model might be strong but easily warp when temperatures get too hot. When hot iron is left to sit on a self-healing mat for too long, there is a risk of weakening the mats’ bond, making it hard to work on and not forgetting shortening the mat’s useful life.
Ideally, the mat’s ability to withstand high temperatures is influenced by the material the mat is made from. You can use heat on the mat as long as it isn’t left to sit for long.
Once a mat loses its purpose, it can be hard to fix it because it has already lost its self-healing power. The secret to getting the best from your mat is by taking good care of it by performing routine maintenance like moisturizing it.
To moisturize it, soak it in vinegar and cold water solution for 15 to 20 minutes. Before soaking it, ensure you have gotten rid of the loose threads that might hold onto the mat. After moisturizing, do not hang the mat under direct sunlight. It should be dried under a shade to dry.
Caring for your mat is the only secret to ensure it remains in your quilting studio for a long time without needing replacement. So how do you do that?
i) Cleaning the mat regularly is one way to ensure you get the best from your mat.
ii) Do not apply too much pressure when cutting over the mat to prevent damaging it.
iii) Rotate the mat between uses to ensure you are not cutting over one spot.
iv) Use a sharp blade always.
v) Do not expose the mat to very high temperatures for long periods.
Self-healing mats make quilting projects so much easier. You can ideally work on any surface without having to worry about scratches on your furniture. If you are one quilting enthusiast, then a self-healing mat is a must-have in your space. Look out for grid markings on the mat, so you get one that suits your needs.