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How to Flatten a Warped Cutting Mat

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 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.

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