craft cutting mats 101
Each cutting machine was made to create different projects with a variety of different materials. With so many material options, it is necessary that the cutting mat would need to have different levels of grip to hold the material in place properly to ensure the perfect cut. Some mats are made with a very strong grip for heavier materials like wood & other mats are made with a very light grip for delicate projects that you do not want the mat to tear or rip your material during the cutting process or during the removal process from the mat after cutting.
Generally, there are 4 cutting mat types: Light Grip, Standard Grip, Strong Grip, & Fabric Grip.
Cutting Mats are available in various sizes & grip strengths depending on the cutting machine model i.e. Cricut Maker vs Cricut Joy vs Silhouette Cameo 4 Plus. Majority of mats come in standard 12″ x 12″ size. For larger projects there are 12″ x 24″ mats, and for smaller machines (Cricut Joy) there are mats as small as 4.5″ x 6.5″. Your machine instructions should tell you which mat sizes are compatible with your machine.
A quick google search will also show you that there are many brands & look alike mats out there. Some cheaper than others. We use Teckwrap Craft Cutting Mats & Cricut Brand Cutting mats for many of our projects. We have also researched many cutting mats on Amazon and reading other bloggers posts, there are so many great equivalent mats out there that may be a generic brand. Our suggestion with purchasing off brand supplies, is to read the reviews to ensure it is a good quality item and you aren’t wasting your money on a mat you can only use a few times.
Blue Mat | Light Grip
The blue cutting mat is a light grip mat has the perfect grip strength to hold your light weight projects in place during cutting, yet is light enough to allow easy removal material without tearing or ripping when you are finished cutting. Materials to use a blue light grip mat include:
- Light Cardstock Paper
- Thin Scrapbook Paper
- Construction Paper
- Office/Printer Paper
- Washi Sheets
- Vinyl (Thinner/Lighter Vinyl Types)
Green Mat | Standard Grip
The green cutting mat may be the most widely used cutting mat! It is perfect for a wide range of medium-weight materials, including:
- Regular Cardstock Paper
- Embossed Cardstock Paper
- Pattern Paper
- Textured Paper
- Infusible Ink transfer sheets
- Vinyl (Thicker/Heavier Vinyl Types)
- Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) (also known as Iron-On)
Purple Mat | Strong Grip
The purple cutting mat has a strong grip to hold your heavyweight materials firmly in place during the cutting process. This mat is perfect for heavyweight materials, including:
- Thick Cardstock Paper
- Glitter Cardstock Paper
- Poster Board
- Mat Board
- Corrugated Cardboard
- Magnet Material
- Leather/Faux Leather**
Pink Mat | Fabric Grip
The pink cutting mat has a light adhesive grip that is specifically made for a variety of fabrics. The adhesive is different from the other mats, as it is specifically designed to secure fabrics for cutting, with easy release. Typically the pink fabric mat is engineered with a stronger, denser material that withstands the added pressure of Rotary/Fabric Blades. This mat is perfect for all fabrics, including:
- Bonded Fabrics
- Unbacked fabrics
- Crepe Paper
Cutting mat tips:
- If your mat is TOO sticky
- Yes, this is a thing! Even if you are using the correct mat for the correct material, sometimes brand new mats may be a bit too much grip for your material you are using.
- Simply grab your mat, place the sticky side up against your t-shirt or pants 1-2 times. Your mat surface should now have less stick to it.
- If your mat is NOT sticky
- This is a sign that your mat may need to be cleaned. See cleaning instructions below.
- If cleaning does not resolve the issue, it may be time to replace the mat.
- Don’t throw away the clear film cover that comes with your mat! Simply place the clear film cover back over the mat when storing to lint/dust from gathering on the mat.
- Properly remove your mat from projects (vs. removing your projects from the mat)!
- This ensures your mat always stays as clean as possible and your project always looks great & doesn’t have any type of lifting/curl affect happen.
- Simply lay your mat face down on a flat surface and carefully peel your mat up and away from your project.
- Utilize tools for removing your cuts from the mat. i.e. Spatula, Scraper tool, etc.
- Only use recommended materials with each corresponding mat for longer life and best performance.
- Blue/Light Grip: Lightweight materials
- Green/Standard Grip: Medium-weight materials
- Purple/Strong Grip: Heavyweight materials
- Pink/Fabric Grip: Fabric materials
Cutting Mat Cleaning
Always store your mats with the clear film cover to ensure they keep as much dust & lint off of them. Even with the most diligent storage attempts, it is inevitable that your mats will still get dirty with small bits of leftover materials and scraps during the cutting process. Here are a few recommendations on cleaning the various mats to extend their life & quality.
Cleaning blue, green, & Purple mats
- Use a scraper tool to remove all of the leftover scraps and materials after you are finished cutting.
- Use a sticky lint roller to get any remaining small scrap materials that did not come off with the scraper tool.
- Wipe your mats down with a non-alcoholic cleaning wipe. (I.e. Purell Wipe or Baby Wipe)
- Wash the mat with warm water and gentle dishwashing soap, then allow to dry
Cleaning Pink Fabric Mats
- Avoid touching the adhesive surface as much as possible. The oils on your skin can damage the adhesive.
- Do not use a scraper tool to get fabric bits off of the mat, as this can accidentally remove the adhesive.
- Do not use soap & water or any other cleaning products on the Pink Fabric Grip Mats.
- Use tweezers, spatula tools, or Strong Grip Transfer tape to clean the Pink Fabric Grip Mats.
- For extra fuzzy fabrics, like fleece or felt, you can use transfer tape behind your fabric before sticking it to the mat. This helps keep your mat free of extra fuzz.