“Self-healing” cutting mats are made from independent tiny pieces pressed together to create a solid cutting surface. When you cut on the mat using a rotary cutter, the blade actually goes between the tiny pieces, separating them, and not cutting into the surface as a whole unit. After the cut is made, the surface has a “memory” and closes back together, thus it is referred to as “self-healing.” This is why it is very important to always use a sharp blade in your rotary cutter. A dull blade can actually slice the mat because it is not able to make that thin precise cut. In addition, always keep your cutter at a 90° angle when cutting on the mat. It is easy to hold it slightly slanted instead of perfectly perpendicular, even when using a rotary cutting ruler. The slanted cut can actually cut the tiny pieces rather than separating them, leaving a gash in the mat.
How should I store my cutting mat(s)?
If you need to store your Omnigrid® cutting mat between projects, never stand the mat up, leaving it unsupported and bending. This can permanently misshape the mat and it will no longer allow your cuts to be accurate. Never roll your mat. Store it laying down (flat) is the best option. Make sure it is stored away from any sunlight or heat. Extreme cold temperatures can also cause the mats to become brittle, so it is best to store a mat in a temperature controlled environment. Some of the smaller mats can be placed in a hanging organizer for easy storage.
Which cutting mat size is recommended for first-time quilters?
The Omnigrid® 18” x 24” standard cutting mat is a great mat for first time quilters. This mat works well with the Omnigrid® 24” ruler; this ruler/mat combination is ideal for use with a standard folded width of 45” fabric.
Can I use both the front and back of my cutting mat?
Both our standard and double-sided Omnigrid® cutting mats are designed for use on both sides.
Standard Omnigrid® mats have a front side that is printed with a grid and measurements; the back side of standard mats is unprinted. Some people see better on the blank (gray) side than on the printed (green) side. If you are having problems with blurry vision when cutting, try cutting on the back side and see if that helps.
Omnigrid® double-sided mats are printed on both sides; one side has an inch-marked grid, and the other side is a centimeter-marked grid.
How do I avoid getting cuts and gashes in my cutting mat?
It is important that your Omnigrid® rotary cutter is held at a 45◦ angle when cutting. Holding the cutter even slightly slanted can cut the mat. Always use a sharp blade – dull blades can damage the mat. When a mat is kept on a cutting table, it is easy to continuously cut on the same area of the mat each time. Eventually, this will cause the mat surface to weaken and pieces of the mat may come off, leaving a worn area and even gashes. Occasionally turn your mat or move to another position when cutting.
How do I clean my cutting mat?
Keeping your Omnigrid® cutting mat clean can extend the life of the mat. To clean your mat, use a sticky lint roller after every project and roll it over the mat. This will pick up any bits of lint and fiber that can get pushed into the mat's surface. You can also wipe it using a clean tack cloth. For spills or soiled areas, you can use a mild dishwashing detergent and water to gently wipe the mat clean using a soft, nonabrasive cloth, just be sure to rinse it well and only use cool water to clean and rinse it. You don’t want to use any chemicals on the mat because these can damage the markings.
Why does my mat have a warning label on it?
This warning is placed on these products due to the legal requirements as required by the State of California. Prym Consumer USA is adamant about product testing and our testing indicated the mats contained a small amount of phthalates so you'll see the following warning label on our Omnigrid® cutting mats:
WARNING: This mat contains phthalates, substances known to the State of California to cause birth defects and other reproductive harm.
If this is a concern to you, we suggest you clean the mat before each use with a mild dishwashing detergent diluted with cool or tepid water; then, after each use, wash your hands thoroughly.
If my mat has a strong odor, how do I remove it?
Occasionally you may notice a slight odor with a newly purchased mat. This odor will dissipate with time but here is a suggestion that can expedite the process:
Using your bathtub, put enough cool or tepid water in the tub to cover the mat and add ¼ cup of white vinegar for every gallon of water. Let it soak for at least 30 minutes to an hour in order to change the PH balance and remove the odor.
Rinse the mat with clear water, and then wipe the mat with a soft cloth to dry. Store it in a well-ventilated area to make sure it is completely dry. Remember that heat is an enemy of the mat so make sure it is on a flat surface and not stored in direct sunlight or exposed to any type of heat.
If you still notice the odor, you can repeat the process.
Is there anything I can do to flatten a warped mat?
Keeping your mat away from direct and indirect heat is very important. Once a mat is warped, there is no way to flatten it.
Cutting Mat Basics
A cutting mat forms the foundation of your cutting station, and is an integral part of many sewing and quilting projects. In this tutorial, you’ll learn about the features of the Omingrid® cutting mats, and determine which size mat is right for you.
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