The best cutting mats make it easier to make precise cuts in all kinds of materials. They're used by photographers to trim photographic prints and card frame mounts. They're used by artists and designers putting together scrapbooks, collages and mood boards. And they're also used by hobbyists for sewing, quilting, and other arts and crafts projects.
A cutting mat won't just protect your surface, but also prolong the life of your blade and help it stay sharp. The best cutting mats also come with grid lines, angles and measurements to help you make more precise and accurate cuts. And these days, they're also self-healing, which means that if they get cut by your blade, they'll spring straight back into place. (This sounds like magic, but it's actually because they're made from lots of small, separate pieces of material pressed together. )
How big amat should you buy? The answer should be it should be as big as the biggest piece of paper, card, or print you will want to cut. Read on to discover the best self-healing cutting mats available today, in a variety of colors and sizes.
The best cutting mat in 2023
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Constructed from five layers, this self-healing, rotary cutting mat from US Art Supply is lovely and thick at 3mm, making it a nice surface to cut on, and very durable. Suitable for all sorts of arts and crafts projects, including scrapbooking, quilting and sewing, it features clearly printed grid lines, numbers and angles, and comes in a range of sizes and color combinations. It's reversible, too, with grid markings on each side. In short, we can find little to criticise here, and a lot to like, making this our pick as the best cutting mat overall.
Like our number one pick from US Art Supply, this mat from art supplier Arteza is also self-healing, double-sided, and comes in a range of sizes. It's printed with a handy grid that's easy to read thanks to its anti-glare coating, and features 15°, 30°, 45°, 60° and 75° angles. At an impressive 3mm thick, it's very durable, and boasts a non-slip surface too. This cutting mat is suitable for cutting fabric, paper, vinyl and plastic. On the downside, you don't get any alternative color options, but as this is even cheaper than the US Art Supply mat, it does represent excellent value.
Low on funds? Here's the cheapest cutting mat we can recommend. This self-healing, rotary cutting mat is made of five-layer PVC and is suitable for cropping photos, and small, medium and large craft and sewing projects. It's double sided, with measurements printed clearly with both inches and metric, and comes with grid lines and angles that help you make precise cuts.
If you're looking for a square cutting mat, here's our top recommendation. Coming in two sizes (12 x 12 inches or 17 x 17 inches), this self-healing cutting mat teams a non-slip, stationary base with an interlocking green top rotary mat, which rotates through the full 360°. The yellow grid lines and markings are clearly printed, allowing for precision cutting, and feature 30°, 45°, 60° and 90° angles.
This cutting mat is foldable, making it super-portable. And although there's a crease, it's barely noticeable when you unfold it, and it doesn't interfere with your cutting at all. That makes it our choice as the best cutting mat for travel. At 2.5mm thick, it's also nice and durable, and suitable for heavy cutting, such as quilt and patchwork projects. This self-healing mat features easy-to-read numbers and metric grids, and can be used with Olfa rotary cutters or any Olfa cutting knives. The main negative is that it's considerably more expensive than other cutting mats on our list.
Quilters and other crafters will be drawn to this square, self-healing mat, which makes squaring large quilting blocks up to 12.5 inches easier and quicker. It rotates to allow you to cut pieces of fabric at lighter angles. Plus it features an easy-to-read measuring grid with 30°, 45° and 60° bevel lines, making it easy to create triangle and star shapes. Note that the total board size is 14 x 14 inches but the measurement grid is 12 x 12 inches.
Here's another well-made cutting mat that's self-healing, made from five layers and 3mm thick, making it very durable. It contains both imperial and metric measurements on the top surface as well as 1/2-inch grid lines, which include scale lines for making diagonal cuts. Double-sided, this cutting mat is suitable for both adults and children, and can be used for tasks such as cropping photos, cutting, drawing, sewing, and tracing. Note, though, that it is a little on the pricey side.
Purpose-built for crafting and sewing, this self-healing cutting mat is made of five-layer hard PVC with a white hard spine, making it long-lasting no matter how you much use it. It works great with various kinds of rotary cutters, and there's a nice weight to it, so it doesn't slip and slide around the place.
Available in a range of sizes, this green mat is fully reversible, with grid markings, different angles and diagonals on each side. It doesn't come in any other colours, and to be frank there's nothing particularly special about it, but it does the job well and at a decent price.
What size cutting matt should I buy?
Ideally, your cutting matt needs to be larger than the piece of card or paper that you want to cut. Many cutting matts are sold using standard European paper sizes - with A4 being similar to the size of American Letter. The table below gives some standard dimensions of cutting matts you will find on sale:
|A1||594 x 841 mm||23.4 x 33.1 in|
|A2||420 x 594 mm||16.5 x 23.4 in|
|A3||297 x 420 mm||11.7 x 16.5 in|
|A4||210 x 297 mm||8.3 x 11.7 in|
|A5||148 x 210 mm||5.8 x 8.3 in|
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