Are you fond of sewing or quilting? I am a seamstress and have been all my adult life. Thanks to my grandmother, at the tender age of 6 I was able to do a hem on one of my summer dresses.
Although it wasn’t quite straight, I still took pride in it, and that stirred my sewing juices.
Fast forward, some years back, I was in the market searching for a self-healing cutting mat.
You will agree with me when I invoke that when you need to cut a small piece of fabric or quilt you soon discover why cutting mats are must-have tools.
Self-healing mats are an inexpensive and ideal purchase that takes the brunt of all the cutting you do.
To get the best self-healing mat I went shopping, and by the times I was done, I had ordered a few different pieces to see which one would work to my liking.
Indulge me as I take you on a journey of the ups and downs I have had using these self-healing cutting mats;
For the small cutting mat, I found out that the Alvin Deluxe Professional Self-Healing Cutting Mat, 12 x 18 Inches worked out best for me!
It fetches less than $30, and I can agree that it’s extra durable.
I have slashed and cut it so often that I always assume that it will be riddled with lines and marks, to my surprise that is not the case. Moreover, it’s a general-purpose work mat.
For the larger self-healing cutting mat, I am a big Alvin GBM Series Green/Black Professional Self-Healing Cutting Mat 36 x 48 fan!
Not only is it a reversible cutting mat, but it’s also 3mm thick and extra durable. The grid is only on one side, and I use it for see-through applications and on lightboxes.
These are just my top picks before you conclude that they’re yours too, allow me to list several other below that might pick your curiosity.
As the article concludes, read the buyer’s guide to get more insight on the best self-healing cutting mats. The info noted below will help you make better decisions….
Editor’s Pick: Self Healing Cutting Mat
Best Self Healing Cutting Mat Review
1. Alvin GBM1218 GBM Deluxe Professional Self-Healing Cutting Mat 12” by 18”
I rank this as the top small best self-healing cutting mat for quilting and sewing for the service it continues to give me.
In particular, I love the vinyl material design on the straight utility blades and rotary blades.
Each side comes with gridlines; I love that it has two colors, one side is black, and the other is green. I often use mine as a desk blotter and any other cutting activity I undertake.
Because I use sharp tools, I feel sorry for all the slashing it undergoes on every project.
Every time, I try to locate whether I’ve left behind any cutting lines or marking and none appear!
For me, this is the best of the best.
The vinyl material has been specially designed to hold on the straight and rotary utility blades.
As a user, I find the zero centering lines useful for getting the perfect center in my quilt and piece cuttings. The hanging hole in this tool makes it easy to store!
The heavy-duty mat as you will discover lies completely flat on the table simplifying your job further.
The measurements and grid lines are well placed so you will not develop a headache with calculations.
To see whether it continues to heal two years down the line, I took an X-Acto blade and cut it severally, to this day, there is no sign of damage!
But this is just my experience; there are those that suggest it doesn’t heal as they quite expected.
Others are cautionary about the chemicals used in this self-healing mat noting that they may cause cancer. I don’t, I kinda love my Alvin Deluxe professional Self-Healing Cutting Mat 12” by 18,” and I’d swear by it…
2. Nicapa Cutting Mat for Silhouette Cameo 3/2/1 Standard-Grip 12×12 Inch 3 pack
To cut my full range of medium-weight materials, I love using the Nicapa Cut Mat.
The pack of 3 is not only cheap but versatile. I use mine for cutting:
- Thin fabrics
- Printable fabric
- Washi sheets
It’s also a great cutting matt for: embossed cardstock, printer paper, glitter cardstock, construction paper, pattern paper, window cling, vellum, handmade papers, and glitter iron-on.
A word of caution: Always have a transparent film covering the mat after you’re done using it. The film keeps away dust and scraps. Use the spatula to remove cut images and the scraper to get rid of excess pieces.
Each Nicapa cutting mat has its uses, and they are:
StrongGrip mat: Use this mat for cutting the heavy-duty materials including; glitter cardstock, fabric with stiffener, specialty cardstock, and chipboard.
LighGrip mat: Use is solely for lightweight material cutting. It’s perfect for light cardstock, office printer paper, and vellum.
StandardGrip mat: It caters to all your medium-weight materials such as; cardstock, patterned paper, iron-on, and vinyl.
On the downside, some users complained that they find it hard to use the Nicapa cutting mat to cut materials that don’t hold on to it. Some kept getting the inconsistent print and cut sensor error.
3. OLFA 1119734 Folding Mat, 17″ x 24.”
Whenever I plan to get out of my studio and take my craft somewhere else, I always pack the Olfa self-healing mat.
Why? Because it folds in half and fits in my wizardry crafts bag with the rest of the tools/items.
The 2.5mm thickness makes it durable (have used it for more than 18 months on my endeavors).
It comes with a smooth surface that handles all my cutting projects without breaking!
The mat keeps on surprising me by not missing threads when I unfold it and begin my cutting rituals and more because it holds in firmly both the rotary and fixed blades!
In as much as it is one-sided, the manufacturer ensured that the back would grip the table so that it doesn’t wobble or slide thus compensating for the lack of the second side, very clever I say…
4. Alvin GBM Series Green/Black Professional Self-Healing Cutting Mat 36 x 48 (GBM 3648)
For larger quilting and cutting projects that need to be done on lightboxes, I use this self-healing cutting mat.
I love that it’s 3mm thick and extra durable. Both (the black and green) sides have grid lines.
Also, the fact that it’s translucent it helps me with see-through applications.
Having used it for more than three years (I am a hoarder, I know…), I appreciate that it’s a heavy-duty mat that protects working surfaces I lay it on.
Unfortunately again, there are those who complain that their self-healing mats don’t lie flat entirely much as they try.
But on the bright side, one user praised the mat by saying that she uses a sharp razor on her projects, but the mat self heals and leave zero marks behind!
6. OLFA 24″ x 36″ Double-Sided, Self-Healing Rotary Mat
The 1.5mm thick mat is double-sided. On one side there are grid lines marking inches that are great for detailed cutting, while the other green side is excellent for general crafting.
It does more than protect your working space; it extends the life of your rotary blades. That has to be a reason to purchase it, methinks!
It has two sides, the solid is for your general cutting, and the other is for precision cutting.
The cuts made when using the rotary cutter wear off almost immediately, and even after using it for more than a year, it would pass for a brand new mat.
For a large self-healing mat, this Ofla is perfect for a quilter who struggles with reading measuring lines. In this mat, they’re bold thus saving you that dreaded headache!
The only disappointment you will get from using this mat is if you try using a hot iron to flatten as it will melt and leave a pungent smell. Also, kitchen knives are a big NO!
7. Self Healing Rotary Cutting Mat Full 24×36
If you have an issue with odor, you’re in luck, because this 15 layered cutting mat is odorless and by far the fastest self-healing mat I have come across.
The 15 layers are purposely compressed together to give you an even smoother working surface. The 24×36 grids make it the ideal beginner’s mat.
Seasoned quilters relish using it too, thanks to well-placed measurements that give us lots of room and precise positioning to work with!
The double-sided mat lies flat on your worktop, and its heaviness makes it smoother to work on.
If you’re sensitive to chemicals, you will have a field day working with the self-healing rotary cutting mat.
Other users and I only detected a faint sweet smell that I can only deduce that is from the natural materials used.
The only flipside to this beautiful mat is getting one made from China; those may produce an order that might be unpleasant to you if you’re sensitive to such…BUYER’S GUIDE
With the right knowledge and tools for learning, choosing the right self-healing cutting mat can be very rewarding and fun. Our buying guide is a summary of all the essential factors of your choice.
If you are new into the sewing and quilting world, let me make a few things clear.
I will take you through a simplified buyer’s guide that will help you learn a few things you needed to know before you choose a self-healing cutting mat…
What Is A Cutting Mat?
In essence, it’s a flexible type of mat that helps you attend to many kinds of arts and crafts.
Many in the quilting, sewing, wood, and papercrafts use this mat to cut precise and measured pieces.
I and other quilters and dressmakers; use the mat together with rotary blades to cut cloth and textiles.
What Are The Different Types Of Self-Healing Cutting Mats?
Cutting mats come in two variations; hard surface (self-healing) mats and self-healing (soft surface) mats.
Hard-Surface Mats: These mats are both rigid and rugged; they are also self-healing since the blade you use skims over the surface.
Self Healing Mats: The most popular cutting mats made from thinner and flexible materials. A majority of these soft surface mats are made with a thin vinyl layer on the cutting surface.
Side note: The most common types of cutting blades used on self-healing mats are rotary or solid blades. Click on this link to learn more about the best quilting ruler to use.
Every project you use a blade on will leave scratches on the mat’s surface which recloses afterward hence invoking the self-healing process.
Why Do I Need a Self-Healing Cutting Mat?
For every craft project you use a rotary cutter or knife, it’s wise to have a cutting mat placed on your worktop.
The mat lengthens the time your knife blade will take before it becomes dull; it also protects the work surface from getting scratched or damaged.
What To Look For When Buying A Self Healing Cutting Mat?
Depending on the type of crafts you take upon, the right kind of healing cutting mat will make your cutting work easy and protect your working surface.
If you are into quilting, sewing, paper crafting, a soft self-healing cutting mat is an ideal investment.
However, if you take on more rigid crafts such as wood crafts, then a rugged cutting mat will suffice. Some of the things you ought to put into consideration before getting a cutting mat include:
Material: If you are a quilter, seamstress, fashion designer, paper craftsperson, a soft self-healing cutting mat is the best option.
The flexible, appropriately layered cutting mats available will accord you excellent service.
Working surface: If you use your studio table or desk as the working surface, and also if you are into cutting cloth, and materials, a soft cutting mat is reasonable.
For more rigid crafts such as wood crafts, your working surface should also be stiff and hard to handle your crafting. A hard self-healing mat is a right tool.
Size: For quilting, a fabric cutting mat will do, but for cutting pattern pieces using a rotary cutter get the full-size cutting table mat.
Thickness: Most soft self-healing mats are between 2mm and 3mm thick.
The 2mm plastic texture mats are hobby mats that come either too rough or too smooth. You should NEVER use straight knife blades on these mats.3mm mats are perfect for quilting and sewing; they can take the brunt of rotary and straight knife blades. Almost all my mats are 3mm thick, and they continue serving me well.
Now that I have given you a rundown on the types of cutting mats I use, I hope that you’re better informed.
I will say that they are all special in their unique ways.
Having used some for years, I still stick with Alvin Deluxe professional Self-Healing Cutting Mat 12” by 18” as the go-to self-healing mat.
It’s perfect for beginners and pros ( I consider myself one lol). It’s well priced and will give you a long and satisfying service life. What would you pick? Let me know in the comments.