Has long been a teacher of English Literature, after the retirement focused on freelance copywriting. She’s now our full-time writer since our website allows her to know more about the hobby of her lifetime – sewing.
A professional fashion designer and seamstress. Isabel has her own video blog where she shares her experience about all the aspects of sewing – from choosing suitable materials to step-by-step instructions on how to sew a summer skirt.
Last updated: May 28, 2021
There’s nothing better than creating something with your own hands! Regardless of whether you are making a new dress or you have an exciting new quilting project, a cutting mat is an essential piece of equipment. There are plenty of various mats on the market – in this article, we’ll help you to find the best cutting mat for your needs.
In our review, we considered some of the most important things that you need to look out for when shopping for a cutting mat. For instance, is it self-healing? How about its thickness? You’ll also want to pay attention to its grid and the type of tools that are going to be used on the mat, which we’ve also taken into consideration. Based on our research, we found the OLFA Double-Sided Self-Healing Rotary mat to be the best all-around option, suitable for a wide variety of projects.
We spent days searching for the 5 best cutting mats that will work for a variety of projects, large and small, which we’ve reviewed in detail below. Whether you craft for a hobby or for a living, there are plenty of cutting mat shapes and sizes, from full table size to travel-size. Find out more about features you need to consider in our buying guide. Do you undertake a lot of quilting in class or at home? Do you carry out a lot of projects away from your sewing room? Whatever your needs, here are the best cutting mats available on the market.
Top 5 Cutting Mats Review 2021
OLFA Double-Sided Self-Healing Rotary Mat – Editor’s Choice
Dimensions: 24 x 26 inches
Other available sizes: 18 x 24 inches
Extra features: includes angle markings; 1.5 mm thick; non-slip base
As well as protecting your table surface, this OLFA rotary mat has got a lot to offer. OLFA Double-Sided Self-Healing Rotary Mat will extend the life of your rotary blades, as its surface has been designed to prevent them from going dull.
This mat features gridlines with angle markings that make the creation of precise bias strips a lot easier.
The OLFA Double-Sided Self-Healing Rotary Mat is good cutting mat for quilting, cutting out patterns, sewing, scrapbooking, general crafting and more. It’s available in two sizes – the one you choose depends on how large your working area is. As it’s a self-healing mat, you should remember to try and move it around as you’re working (sticking to one area isn’t the best choice), so that it has some time to heal. The moisture layer on the surface of OLFA Double-Sided Self-Healing Rotary Mat enhances its self-healing while preventing your blades from becoming dull.
The OLFA Rotary Mat is double–sided, meaning that you can easily use the solid green side for other cuttings that don’t require measurements.
If you’ve experienced the struggle that comes with rotating your fabric or paper when cutting them, this rotary mat will definitely be really helpful in keeping the material(s) firmly in place.
What makes it stand out?
Large working area
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Can smell a bit when new
mCasting Cutting Mat with Craft Knife & Ruler Set – Best Cutting Mat Set
Dimensions: 24 x 36 inches
Other available sizes: 12 x 9 inches; 18 x 12 inches
Extra features: 5-ply PVC construction; comes with a steel ruler, hobby knife and 10 replacement blades; non-slip base
Just as the name states, mCasting Cutting Mat with Craft Knife & Ruler Set comes with a ruler and a knife set all in one package for you. With this mat, you can carry out all kinds of projects that require cutting – it works perfectly for crafting, sewing, and more. This is a high-quality cutting mat, and will make a great choice even for more advanced, commercial projects.
Are you in the market for a cutting mat that will last you for years to come? If so, look no further than the mCasting Cutting Mat. This board has a durable 5–ply construction with the ability to withstand sharp knife cuts without losing form, and without any trace of damage to the surface. The knives that accompany this mat are made for control and ultimate precision.
Each of the stainless steel blades that accompany the mCasting Cutting Mat is super sharp, meaning that you can easily cut through paper, plastic, fabric, and thin metals without a lot of difficulty. All the handles are lightweight but heavy-duty, and they come with safety caps for protection.
The stainless steel ruler that comes with this mat is rust–proof and consists of a non–slip cork bottom to help resist any slipping and sliding.
Why is it special?
Its cutting wheel makes cutting out patterns easier and quicker
Stainless steel cutting knives and replaceable blades
This mat is ideal for hobbyists and professionals
What are the flaws?
The ruler is a bit flimsy/floppy
Calibre Art Self-healing Rotating Cutting Mat – Best Rotating Cutting Mat
Dimensions: 18 x 18 inches
Other available sizes:14 x 14 inches; 8 x 8 inches
Extra features: non-slip base; includes angle lines
This next cutting mat from Calibre Art is a favorite amongst customers. One of its key distinguishing features is the wide variety of markings and lines, as this mat also features circular markings, for perfect rotary cuts.
The rotatable mechanism of this mat is perfectly manufactured and moves easily when you need to turn it, but also stays put as you are measuring and cutting it. This is a wonderful self-healing cutting mat which performs very well for a wide range of tasks. A lot of people who have used this mat love its square 18×18 format, as well as the fact that it heals within seconds, meaning you don’t have to constantly move your working area around – you can keep cutting in the same place without waiting for it to heal.
Calibre Art Self-healing Rotating Cutting Mat is large enough to be squared up when quilting as well as undertaking some complex cutting. If you choose this mat, you’ll appreciate its quarter-inch grid, the circle grid and the angles found in the grid. With this cutting mat, one can easily cut just about anything accurately without the need for any awkward and uncomfortable hand placements while cutting or moving the work area around.
The Calibre Art Self-healing Rotating Cutting Mat is a wonderful product and infinitely useful. As noted earlier, this mat is ideal for quilting and the majority of art projects. The Calibre Art Self-healing Rotating Cutting Mat has to be one of the easiest mats to use for cutting, as it turns easily and doesn’t stick to the surface underneath as other mats do.
What makes it stand out?
Allows for accurate fabric cuts
Great mat for quilting
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Might be too small for some tasks
US Art Supply Professional Self-healing Double-sided Cutting Mat – Best Angle Markings
Dimensions: 23 x 35 inches
Other available sizes: none
Extra features: 5-ply PVC construction; non-slip; includes 45° and 60° angle guides
In most cases, professional mats tend to be thicker than non-professional ones. Again, they have to be bigger too. The great thing about the US Art Supply Professional Self-healing Double-sided Cutting Mat is that it doesn’t lack in those qualities. It’s got a great build quality, with a 5-ply PVC construction, and comes in two different color options to choose from.
The grid lines of this mat are perfectly marked at intervals of 0.625 inches to enable a more precise alignment, especially when cutting. This mat comes in black and green, and white and blue color options, and both sides of this mat can be used for cutting and measurements. Unlike other mats that may lack reversible sides, the US Art Supply Professional Self-healing Double-sided Cutting Mat excels when it comes to this area.
Just as the name states, the US Art Supply Professional Self-healing Double-sided Cutting Mat is self-healing indeed. This mat seals up all the scratches and cuts quickly, especially when it gets damaged during cutting sessions. The US Art Supply Professional Self-healing Double-sided Cutting Mat is perfectly suited for quilting and scrapbooking too. You can easily protect your prized table from sharp blades and other craft tools by using this mat.
Bear in mind that though this mat is advertised as 24 by 36 inches in size, the actual size of the grid is in fact 23 x 35.
Why are we impressed?
Very large surface area
Protects table surface from scratches thanks to thick 5-ply construction
What negatives must you be aware of?
Only available in one size
Fiskars Self-healing Rotary Cutting Mat 24x36 Inch – Budget Pick
Dimensions: 24 x 36 inches
Other available sizes: 12 x 18 inches; 18 x 24 inches
Extra features: lifetime warranty; 30°, 45° and 60° angle lines
Introduced to us from the stables of Fiskars is one of the best self-healing cutting mats for quilting. The surface of this mat is gray in color with a non-stick base.
The Fiskars Self-healing Rotary Cutting Mat has got a large surface area that provides enough space or for cutting long fabrics without moving away from the mat. The numbers found on the gridline are written twice (one in a big font and the other in small font size), so you won’t have to squint and strain your eyes while reading the measurements.
On the surface of this mat are bold gridlines which will stay on even after long-term use. The Fiskars Self-healing Rotary Cutting Mat has got 30, 45, and 60-degree bias lines, something that makes it very easy to work with when it comes to creating triangle and star shapes of different sizes.
The majority of people who purchase this mat do so for its many great features, one of them being its easy-to-read measuring grid that’s found on both sides, meaning users can turn the mat over for double-sided use. Most also people appreciate this Fiskars Self-healing Rotary Cutting Mat due to its lifetime warranty.
What do we love it for?
Large surface area
What were we disappointed with?
Doesn’t tolerate a lot of heat
May have a smell at first
Things to Consider
Do you want to know the best types of cutting mats, how to go about using them, and how to extend their lifespan for long term use? If so, you are in the right place. A good quality mat can be one of your best friends, especially when you are aiming for perfect accuracy (when sewing, quilting or cutting other materials). Sadly, a lot of people don’t know what to look out for when purchasing cutting mats. This is a short buying guide designed to equip you with features to look out for to choose the perfect mat for all your needs.
Reasons to get a cutting mat for your sewing and quilting projects
There are plenty of reasons as to why you may find a cutting mat useful for craft projects. A cutting mat forms the foundation of your cutting station and it’s regarded as an integral part of many quilting and sewing projects. Cutting mats protect the work surface from damage in addition to preventing the fabric from shifting around. If you are quilting or sewing on top of cutting mats, rest assured that the surface will stay clean and undamaged by any scratches from needles. Cutting mats feature a lot of precise markings, making it easy for you to make highly accurate cuts on the fabric.
Features to consider when choosing a cutting mat
There are plenty of things to look out for when choosing a cutting mat. If you want to get the most out of your mat, then you must consider all the little details that a lot of people sometimes ignore. Not all mats are exactly the same or perform the same functions. Shopping for any cutting mat available in the store may end up being an expensive mistake on your end. To be on the safe side, we have compiled for you some of the most important features to look out for below for when choosing a cutting mat.
Dimensions and size options
To get the most out of your cutting mat, you need to go for the largest mat that will fit your workspace perfectly, and will also be large enough for your projects. For tasks that require rotary cutters, a full-size cutting table mat is ideal. For quilting projects, larger cutting mats are a good choice as they can provide users with a greater degree of accuracy – the mCasting and Fiskars cutting mats both come in large, 24 x 36-inch size options. Before getting a cutting mat (self-healing or not), you need to ensure that you carefully consider the size of your working area and fabric size, as doing so will prevent you from wasting money on the wrong mat.
If you really want to protect your work surface from damage in addition to ensuring that you don’t spend money on repurchasing damaged cutting mats, then you may want to go for cutting mats with self-healing properties. But what exactly is a ‘self-healing’ cutting mat, you may be wondering? A self-healing cutting mat is a type of mat that pieces itself together after a cut is made on its surface. Self-healing mats are made from a type of material that has multiple particles which separate when the mat is cut. These then close back together, restoring and thus ‘healing’ the surface. This is an important element to look out for when choosing a cutting mat if you want it to last you a long time.
To get the most out of your cutting mat, you should shop for a model with a double-sided grid. Double-sided grid mats last longer than those that have just one cutting surface. The majority of double-sided cutting mats have been put through extensive tests aimed at ensuring that they provide users with the most durable, long-term solution that’s suitable for their needs. Overall, double-sided cutting mats serve as a multipurpose tool that can save you some cash.
Materials and thickness
Another important feature that you need to consider when purchasing your cutting mat is the materials that the cutting mat is made of and its thickness.
Generally, the thicker your cutting mat, the better. This ensures that it will be more durable and long-lasting. In addition, thick cutting mats stay firm even when you work on them for extended periods of time. The US Art Supply Professional Cutting Mat is designed with a thick 5-ply PVC construction.
Furthermore, going back to the self-healing properties mentioned above, you should also consider the materials it’s been made from. Simple plastic mats have a harder surface that is prone to damage and scratches, whereas self-healing mats are made from a softer material that regenerates.
Type of grid markings
If you are in the market for a cutting mat, you should go for those that are gridded and fully numbered on all sides of the mat. This is essential if you sew, and especially if you quilt a lot. There are plenty of cutting mats out there that feature rotating circular markings, angle lines, diagonal lines, and square grids. Depending on the nature and type of your work, you need to choose a cutting mat with the right grid markings for your needs.
How to use a cutting mat
For craft and quilting projects, the use of a rotary cutter is ideal as it can make cutting pattern pieces a bit faster while improving accuracy.
When using your cutting mat, remember to move the surface around to allow it to heal.
Clean your cutting mat after use to get rid of any debris.
You may have to practice working with your cutting mat for the best results, but once you master the art of doing this, you can cut as many fabrics at a time as you need to, layering them when necessary.
It’s much simpler than you think. Just wipe it down with a damp cloth to get rid of lint and any other dust or grime. When not in use, let it lie flat – make sure it’s not stored in a bent shape to prevent any creasing and damage to the surface.
Generally, the larger the mat you can get, the better. However, you may not require a large mat for large materials – simply folding the fabrics to make multiple cuts can often be a better solution, and one that won’t require as much space. However, a bigger mat is preferable to a small cutting mat as it will work for a wider range of tasks and projects.
Cutting mats aren’t a hugely complex product, but it still helps to do some research before you buy. You can find different-sized mats with various markings and angle lines to suit your preferences and needs, depending on the type of projects you’ll be doing. Based on our research, we believe the following three mats made it to our top three, and therefore deserve an extra mention:
If you are looking for a long-lasting, self-healing, double-sided cutting mat with a non-slip base, the OLFA Rotary Mat will not disappoint, with its highly durable surface and large size that works for a huge range of sewing and craft projects.
On the other hand, if you’d prefer a cutting mat that comes in a set, the mCasting Cutting Mat is definitely one to consider, as it comes with a steel ruler, hobby knife, 10 replacement blades and a non-slip base.
Lastly, if you want a top-rated self-healing cutting mat with angle lines and circular markings, the Calibre Art Self-healing Rotating Cutting Mat will definitely come in handy for all your projects.