Making the Cut - Machines & Mats
Hello my crafty friends!
I know we love our cutting machines and all they allow us to do with ease. Most of the time! That is, when it cuts right and your paper stays put. Many issues we face are due to the same underlying cause, the mats! Replacement mats are expensive and sometimes, unnecessary. Lets talk about that dreaded mat maintenance and quick, easy & budget friendly DIY solutions.
These tips are for Circut, Brother Scan-n-Cut and have been reported to work on other sticky cutting mats.
When you first get your mat, lightly touch it all over with either a t-shirt or denim to let some of the intense stickiness get nocked down prior to the first cut, this will help your paper not tear when you want it off the mat. NOTE - if you are purposely using a strong hold mat, you bought that mat for the strong hold properties and you should disregard this tip! Use the plastic mat cover when not in use, every time on any cutting mat you have.
After several uses, when the mat is getting visibly covered with paper remnants, it si time to do a little light mat maintenance. First try to remove the paper bits with the Circut scraper. Lightly, remember that the goal is too remove the paper not the glue residue. Don't have a circuit scraper? Use an old gift or credit card or one of those promotional cards that come in the junk mail. Wipe the edges of the card every few swipes. Next, with your mat of a flat surface, wipe it down with a baby wipe. You may need to scrub in some areas but you will see the residue coming off. The goal is to remove the fuzzy remnants and reactivate the sticky glue. Let this dry completely before using again. **Baby wipe, not bleach cleaning wipe!**
After many uses and repeated baby wipe cleanups, it may be time to re-stick the mat. This is surprisingly easy to do and cost effective. How to tell its time? If you can stick your hand to the mat and pick it up without the mat lifting, it is past time. If your paper wont stay put when cutting, it is past time.
Clean it up as noted above and allow to dry. Re-stick the mat with Zig 2 way glue. I do not cover the entire mat. I do all edges and a line in the center of the 2nd inch all around. Then I use ever 2 or 3 lines in both directions following the grid pattern. A little goes a long way. The glue goes on blue and drys clear; a light layer is all you need to use. Let it completely dry before use. Once dry, use a t-shirt or denim to lightly touch the mat too and let it be a little less sticky, This will keep your images from tearing. Use as if the mat was new.
If you have cut through your mat in places, put packing tape on the back of the mat wherever it has been cut. This helps keep further damage from occurring and will extend the life of the mat.
If you have previously washed, scrubbed or scraped all of the glue from your mat, you may need to wash it (use Dawn to get all of the residue off) and allow it to completely dry for these tips to be effective. Still a better option than the cost of the new mat IMHO.
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- Michelle Calvert
- I'm a Texas mom of adult kids who has been playing with paper my entire life. I love to create! What's more, I find that I am overall a happier person when I spend time creating things. Be it Art, Food or Decorations. I am an event coordinator by profession and have used my skills to create elaborate room designs, tablescapes, invitations and favors for weddings, parties of every occasion, fundraisers and corporate events. I create jewelry, stained glass and paintings but mostly, I love paper! Many of my projects are for others as gifts or swaps with other creative people I am blessed to call friends. I use tools to create pattern paper and embellishments to get the most bang for my buck. In my blog, I share my creations along with tips, tricks, techniques and tools used to get specific effects.
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