A Rotary Mat is used for cutting fabrics with a Rotary Cutter and helps to protect the cutting blade. It is also called a "self-healing" mat because, while the blade cuts through fabric into the mat, the mat is not sliced, it remains a flat cutting surface. The Rotary Mat comes in a variety of sizes from: small for travel or tight spaces and large mats for quilting studios and stores. They are marked in 1" increments with lables for 1/8". Many mats also have lines for 30, 45 and 60 degree angles, as well as degrees for circles.
Rotary Mats come in a variety of colors, such as green, gray, yellow, blue, pink and purple. Some Rotary Mats are double-sided, featuring different colors on each side, i.e. green/grays. This makes it easier to see when cutting. For example, when cutting green fabric, the gray side is easier to use than the green side.
Benefits of a Rotary Mat
- A Rotary Mat is absolutely required for safe cutting with a Rotary Cutter. It protects the table and the person operating the cutter by providing a smooth, self-healing surface designed for this purpose.
- A Rotary mat protects the blade in the Rotary Cutter and keeps it from dulling to quickly.
- A rotating mat, on a turntable, is valuable when squareing up blocks because you can turn the mat instead of the fabric.
Supplies and Tools of a Rotary Mat
- A quality Rotary Mat will last a long time. Large mats, 18" x 24" or larger, can be awkward to transport. Totes designed for large mats can be purchased or made from fabric.
- Rotary Mats may benefit from an occasional wipe down with a damp sponge or micro-fiber cloth, especially after cutting fuzzy materials like fleece or batting.
What I Wished I Knew When I Started using a Rotary Mat
A double-sided ROTARY MAT is worth the cost as it provides both a dark and light side for cutting fabrics of all colors. Quality is important, a low-quality mat can dull blades more quickly than better quality mats.