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Thread: 'Refreshing' a cutting mat

  1. #1
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    'Refreshing' a cutting mat

    I have started on a project this afternoon, and changed my rotary cutting blade as it just doesn't seem to be cutting very well, despite not being very old. Now the new blade is not cutting well either, and so I wonder if it might be my (admittedly rather old, and has been used a lot for papercrafting) cutting mat that might be the problem?

    I had a look on the internet, and found one suggestion that the mat's life could be extended by soaking it in tepid water with white vinegar, then scrubbing with a stiff bristled brush. The theory being that adding moisture to the mat would make it more flexible and therefore able to self-heal again.

    I was wondering, has anybody here tried this method, and did it work please?

  2. #2
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I soak my self healing mats in water overnight in the bathtub at least once a year. I think it extends the life as they feel like new when dry. A child's plastic pool will work great in the summer, just keep the mats out of the sun.
    Got fabric?

  3. #3
    Super Member EasyPeezy's Avatar
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    If you see lots of marks on your cutting mat that should be an indication.
    Also, could it be you have tighten that screw too much? It should be snug
    but not too tight. Are you sure you put it back together like it should?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by EasyPeezy View Post
    If you see lots of marks on your cutting mat that should be an indication.
    Also, could it be you have tighten that screw too much? It should be snug
    but not too tight. Are you sure you put it back together like it should?
    I checked that the blade was rotating, so I know that's okay; but I think maybe it's time to treat myself to a new mat; DH and I just worked out exactly how old this one is, and it definitely doesn't owe me anything! It's having a bath in the meantime, but I think I shall be replacing it come payday.

  5. #5
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    BellaBoo, how do you keep the mat from curling in the bathtub? I don't think my tub is wide enough for the mat to lie flat. Does it matter if it's bent while it's bathing?

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    Just replaced my mat with a beba's and it is wonderful. I always soaked mine too but there comes a point where it needs to go! Treat yourself. It makes all the difference in the world.
    ,

  7. #7
    Super Member patski's Avatar
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    yes that is what I learned from Fons & Porter,use the vinegar and a soft brush (like a mushroom brush)soak it for at least an hour and be sure it is flat.Then rinse and brush and it will be good as new
    Patski
    always learning

  8. #8
    Senior Member rush88888's Avatar
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    before you throw it out, are you using the back?
    "perfection is the enemy of done."
    "the secret to having it all is knowing you already do."

  9. #9
    Super Member Cybrarian's Avatar
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    I have the same question as Dunster, I don't have anything big enough for my mat (36x36) to lie flat and soak. How to accomplish this?
    Come to Me and I will give you rest--Jesus.

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    Just a thought but what if you put a wet towel on bathroom floor then your board then another wet towel on top, that way it would stay flat.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by rush88888 View Post
    before you throw it out, are you using the back?
    oh yes, it has been very well used on both sides.

  12. #12
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    Time to say "goodbye" and get another (says she who still hasn't unwrapped her new one and put it to work).

  13. #13
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    I have a 24x72 mat and I have no place big enough to dip it. Also, it is attached by four screws so I can't use the back as the screws stick out. I don't need to replace it yet; I'm thinking in the future right now. I guess that kid's wading pool could work. Where do you find a mushroom brush? In a grocery store?
    "Be yourself...everyone else is taken."
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  14. #14
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    I'm going to lay down a plastic drop cloth and then some towels and try the wet towel suggestion on my living room floor. How much vinegar should you put in the water?
    Cheryl Robinson
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  15. #15
    Super Member HillCountryGal's Avatar
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    Would using a large plastic trash bag work too?
    Mat would be flat and what little bit of water it takes to wet the mat shouldn't be much of a problem.

  16. #16
    Power Poster gabeway's Avatar
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    I found that a new mat makes a world of difference. I figure the old one has paid it's. Dues and actually use one of the old ones for a shoe mat in the garage.
    Wayne & Gabriele, the married quilters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gabeway View Post
    I found that a new mat makes a world of difference. I figure the old one has paid it's. Dues and actually use one of the old ones for a shoe mat in the garage.
    Now that's what I call recycling. Will keep this in mind for farm's mud room when mine wear out.
    Cheryl Robinson
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  18. #18
    Super Member MaryMo's Avatar
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    My favorite mat has an ironing surface on one side and cutting mat on the other. I am wondering if I can lay a wet towel soaked in vinegar and water on it to refreshen the mat. Has anybody done this ... and how well did it work out?
    Make it a scrappy happy day!

  19. #19
    Super Member Becky Crafts's Avatar
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    Before you toss the old one, think about this...I have two & just sent for a new one myself, but I use the top to cut fabric and the back to roll bread/pastry dough on. Then I wash it again real good so it doesn't get brittle. It contains the flour mess, is easy to scrape off & can even be used with cookies cutters without damage!
    Live Simply, Love Generously, Care Deeply,Speak Kindly, Leave the rest to GOD

  20. #20
    Super Member thimblebug6000's Avatar
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    Never heard of this before, I have an OLFA mat and it has very few marks on it after all these years of cutting. The first mat I had before I knew how to use a rotary cutter properly did have some gouges. Guess I won't try this yet, as I'm thinking "if it's not broken don't try to fix it". Please post how you make out with your experiments.

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    Olfa recommends soaking your mats and as long as you lay them flat to dry out, it's ok to curl a little in the tub while soaking. The material in the mat which makes it self-healing doesn't work well when it's dried out which is the reason for the occasional soaking.

    If you are getting rid of your mat - remember that it can be cut up...use part as a template for folding fabric for your shelves, use another long piece for the end of your ironing board to use as a cutting mat when making the continuous bias binding, some could be covered to make a stiff, yet flexible cover for a journal....etc...and I like the shoe mat idea.
    Kate

  22. #22
    Super Member thimblebug6000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ktbb View Post
    Olfa recommends soaking your mats and as long as you lay them flat to dry out, it's ok to curl a little in the tub while soaking. The material in the mat which makes it self-healing doesn't work well when it's dried out which is the reason for the occasional soaking.

    If you are getting rid of your mat - remember that it can be cut up...use part as a template for folding fabric for your shelves, use another long piece for the end of your ironing board to use as a cutting mat when making the continuous bias binding, some could be covered to make a stiff, yet flexible cover for a journal....etc...and I like the shoe mat idea.
    Can you please give me a link to the place where OLFA actually recommends soaking your mats...I've just finished a little searching & couldn't come up with that..... I started to quilt in 1993 & have never heard of it, and would really be interested to see the research on that, thanks!

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  24. #24
    Super Member ccthomas's Avatar
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    What do you use to cut a mat? Knife, scissors, saw?

    Quote Originally Posted by ktbb View Post
    Olfa recommends soaking your mats and as long as you lay them flat to dry out, it's ok to curl a little in the tub while soaking. The material in the mat which makes it self-healing doesn't work well when it's dried out which is the reason for the occasional soaking.

    If you are getting rid of your mat - remember that it can be cut up...use part as a template for folding fabric for your shelves, use another long piece for the end of your ironing board to use as a cutting mat when making the continuous bias binding, some could be covered to make a stiff, yet flexible cover for a journal....etc...and I like the shoe mat idea.
    Carol

  25. #25
    Power Poster solstice3's Avatar
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    glad to hear the info from all of you ... going to soak mine. If it doesn't lay flat in the tub I guess I could put it on the carport and lay wet towels on top. Thanks

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