Does anyone have tip to refresh a self-healing cutting mat? I was cutting quite a few strips for my first quilt project and I can feel ridges on it. I really didn't get any instructions with on the care and feeding of mat. Hope someone can help.
Karen from Winona, WV
They sell a gadget you rub over your mat which is a very gentle sand paper. I'm pretty sure I got mine thru Keepsake Quilting, but it was a long time ago. It takes off the nubs. Of course, if we didn't use worn out blades this wouldn't be so much of a problem! Dull blades are very bad for your mat. You can buy sharpeners for your blades too. If you keep your blades sharp, your mat should last a very long time. I've had mine close to 20 years now.
Sounds to me like your mat did exactly what it was supposed to do. Once used, it's not new and will never look new again. I look at every cut on mine as a tribute to the great treasures that I've made. When I see the mats of others, I gage how creative they must be by how much their mats have been used. There's nothing worse than seeing someone who has put huge amounts of money into supplies that are never used.
You can get the gadget at Joann Fabrics and most fabric stores. It takes out the minute pieces of fabric that are in the grooves and this allows the mat to heal itself.
I also have a well-used cutting mat. I had no problems until I tried cutting lots of quilt fabric with a dull cutter. It left lines in the mat the color of the fabrics. I realized that it was little threads from the fabric preventing the mat from 'healing'. I read the tips, including the description of the gadget that was 'like fine sandpaper'. It occurred to me that a nail file might work, and sure enough, a few minutes rubbing with the 'fine' side of a wide, foam core type nail file did the trick, took out all the threads. It did scratch the surface just a little, but cost nothing.
To clean the fabric "whiskers" from my rotary cutting mat, I DRY-scrub it with a "greenie", which is really designed for scrubbing dishes. (It reminds me of A/C filter material.)
There is a TRICK to removing ALL of the fabric particles from the cuts in the mat. I just gently bend the cutting mat over the edge of the table or over a coffee can. This opens the cuts, and the greenie grabs the fuzzies out.
From Kathryn Kistner in Texas, who's now saying,
"It's only a TRICK until you discover the SECRET."
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