The one downside to craft supplies is they eventually have to be replaced. If you’re a vinyl crafter that includes your vinyl/HTV, blades, blanks and even your cutting mat. While some cutting mats may be beyond saving and need to be replaced, we do have a few tips that will help extend the life of your cutting mat, saving you time and money (that you can put towards more craft supplies)!
A clean and sticky mat is an important component of your craft projects. Debris on your mat could interfere with your cuts, and a mat that isn’t sticky enough could cause the material you’re cutting to slip and mis-cut.
Keep the Clear Cover
That clear plastic-like cover that comes with your cutting mat is there for a reason. Do not throw it away! Not only should you be sure to keep it, you should also make sure you put it back on your mat after each use. This prevents debris and lint from accumulating on the mat.
Load Your Mat in Machine From Top & Bottom
You’re most likely in the habit of loading your mat into your cutting machine one way and one way only; from the top. However, if you flip it 180º and load it from the bottom at least every other time, you can use more of the mat and prevent the top from losing its stickiness before the rest of your mat.
Utilize the Middle Space
Furthermore, if you’re cutting small designs, you can also use the middle of your mat more. Before you cut your material and you are in preview mode, move the design to the middle of your mat. Place the material in the corresponding spot on you mat and cut!
Before we discuss the best ways to clean and re-stick your mat, I just want to note that these methods are not recommended for fabric grip mats. They do, however, work great with light, standard and strong grip mats.
What can’t Dawn do? It cleans your dishes, saves wildlife and restores your mats. Use a little dish soap and some water to scrub all the debris, pet hair and grime off your mat with your fingers or a scraper. Then let it dry. That’s it! It will be clean and re-sticky again.
Watch how I did it here:
Wipe it Clean
Baby or disinfectant wipes are another solution for a dirty mat that has lost its stick. Just remove the buildup with a scraper, lint roller and/or the wipes, and let it dry. As it dries, it will become sticky again.
Watch how I did it here:
Another note: these methods will not restore the stickiness of your mat to brand new, but they will extend how much more use you get out of them and prevent you from having to tape your material to your mat (but hey, we’ve all been there)!
How Often to Clean Cutting Mat
If you’re working with adhesive and heat transfer vinyl, you should clean your mats once you notice your material isn’t adhering as well. Additionally, if there is a large accumulation of buildup on your mat, it may be time for a bath!
If you have questions, leave them in the comments below. For more tips, inspiration and helpful resources, join our Facebook group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/1837720849872580