To get started die cutting with AccuQuilt, you need a fabric cutter, dies, and cutting mats. The fabric cutters and dies are designed to last, but the cutting mats need to be replaced over time. We have seven cutting mats varying in size, including one for our new GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter.
How can you get the most out of your cutting mats? Read on for helpful tips to make your cutting mats last as long as possible.
When you open up a brand new mat, it looks perfect, like the mat on the left below. As you use the cutting mat, the blades from the die cut into the surface and leave marks. This is totally normal! A slightly used mat looks like the mat in the middle below, and a mat that should probably be replaced looks like the mat on the right.
To extend the life of your mat, there are a few tips and tricks. First, if you are cutting with a die that has multiple shapes, only cover the shapes that you are cutting with the cutting mat. You can use a smaller cutting mat to only cover the shapes that you need.
Below the 6" x 6" cutting mat is the perfect size to only cover the two smallest size circles on the GO! Circle die.
Roll the die through the cutter. As you push the uncovered section of die under the rollers, you can feel that the die doesn't catch on the roller until the mat section goes under the roller.
Slide the cutting mat off the die to reveal perfect circles!
Another important tip is to always rotate and flip your mat during use so that the die blades are cutting into a different part of the mat with each cut. Notice in the image below that there is a GO! label printed on each side of the mat. Watch to make sure you are seeing the label facing up on opposite sides each time you cut - that means you remembered to flip the mat!
After the first cut, flip the mat so the label is on the opposite side.
Use your mats on a variety of different dies - the blades are placed differently on each shape, so by rotating your mat between dies, you take advantage of the entire surface area of the cutting mat. Here's an example of a mat that has been used on a variety of shapes since you can see cut marks across the surface of the die.
If you are making a rag quilt with any of the GO! Rag dies, your cutting mat is going to get a work out! The GO! Rag dies are designed with lots of blades to easily cut the fringed edge. Take extra care to flip and rotate your cutting mat with rag dies!
If your cutting mats are looking like the one below...it's time to replace them.