Have your precious cutting mat gotten all warped and curvy? And perhaps it got even worse when you tried to fix it, with the warped areas spreading all over the mat? Well, I’m here to offer you a simple solution that will restore even badly warped mats in just a few simple steps.
What causes a warped cutting mat?
The consensus on the internet seems to be either heat, storing it vertically or a combination of heat and moisture. And the bigger the mat, the more common the issue seem to be.
I’ve also tried to find out what the physiological reason to why cutting mats tends to warp, but have so far come up empty-handed (but drop me a note if you have the answer!).
To flatten a curled cutting mat you’ll need:
- An iron
- Lots of heavy books
- Large wood plank or cutting board
- Pressing cloth
- Patience 🙂
1. Press the mat with an iron
Place a pressing cloth on the mat to protect the surface. Place an iron on top (I used medium heat) and press until the surface is warm to the touch.
2. Check the heat of the mat
The mat should be warm to touch, but nowhere near scorching heat.
3. Place wood board and books over the heated warped area
Make sure the weights cover a large area, larger than the warp. Because if don’t you’ll run the risk of just moving the curled area to another spot on the mat. Let the mat cool under pressure, I kept the weights on for a few hours to get the full effect. I also tried letting it sit overnight, but that didn’t make much of a difference.
4. Remove the weights and check the mat
The surface should have begun to flatten, but don’t expect it to be totally flat after your first attempt.
5. Repeat the pressing sequence
Do this as many times as needed. I had to repeat this four times until the mat was flat enough for my liking.
The flattened mat
If your mat is badly curled and in several spots (like mine was) maybe it’s unrealistic to expect the mat to be 100% restored to its original shape. But using the method I have shown here made a massive difference, in fact before I did this process, about 25% of the mat was pretty much unusable. But now I can use the entire mat for my cutting needs again!
Video tutorial: How To Flatten A Warped Cutting Mat: Step-by-Step Tutorial
This video goes into even more detail, plus a few bonus tips on other ways to fix your curled mat.
You can also watch the tutorial on YouTube and check out the comments with lots of awesome suggestions on how to flatten a warped cutting mat.
Curious about how I built my large cutting table (hint: it’s an Ikea hack). Check out my tutorial on how to build your own cutting table on wheels with lots of storage.
Emilie LaFaveMarch 16, 2021 at 1:33 am
March 15, 2021
Thank you so much for the article on flattening your green sewing mat. The idea to
use an iron had come to my mind but I wasn’t sure if that was the answer and I
was afraid to try it. Your article made me be willing to try it.
I think I may know what caused my mat to warp. Sometimes when I’m in the
middle of a project in my sewing room I will fix some lunch and take my plate to
the table where the mat is and set my plate on the mat – in the exact place where
it has warped. I think the heat from the plate warped my mat. I’ve had them for
over 20 years but it’s been just recently that I ever brought a meal to my sewing
room so I’m pretty sure that the heat from the plate caused the warping.
I live in NC.
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Susan RamsayJanuary 23, 2022 at 7:12 pm
I stored my mat flat on the floor of my guest room. When the summer days got into the high 90’s, it warped. I tried soaking it in hot water and then placing a towel on it weighed down with books but that didn’t work. I’ll try your method now, and in summer I
will weigh it down during storage flat on the floor.
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SheilaMarch 8, 2022 at 6:04 pm
Hi……I also read a tip to use a piece of glass (like window glass) and the sun.
I tried that a few years ago and it also worked.
TrishMarch 31, 2022 at 6:21 pm
Sheila’s recommendation is the easy solution. We salvaged a 24×36 badly curled mat this way. Get a piece of plywood and a piece of glass as large as the mat. (I used the glass top from an outdoor table.) Put the mat on the plywood and cover with glass. Place flat (glass side up) in warm sunlight and leave for a few hours. A no-hassle way to get a flat-as-new mat.
VeeJuly 4, 2022 at 5:07 pm
My largest mat warped from storing it on its side next to a mini fridge. I laid it flat all day outside on a hot day directly on the concrete driveway, then placed a piece of wood larger than the mat on top weighted down by heavy items and left it for days in the garag. That did the trick, it was almost 100% flat.
jeanJuly 26, 2022 at 4:18 am
try putting the mat under a mattress for a while. when i first got mine i left it standing on it’s edge, and it went out of shape. put under mattress worked a treat.