Multiple white ScanNCut cutting mats on wooden desk

ScanNCut mats – picking the right one for your project

Whatever you do on your ScanNCut you’re going to need one thing – a mat!

Your ScanNCut comes supplied with our standard tack mat, and depending on the model you’ve bought, there may be other mats in the box too.

We know that when the crafting bug hits us, we want to get started as soon as possible. However, it’s worth taking the time to set up properly and choose the right materials. This includes choosing the right ScanNCut mat for your project.

Like laying the foundations for a house, making sure you have the right mat for your project can be the difference between a professionally finished project and a bit of a mess.

Let’s have a look at each of the ScanNCut mats and what they’re used for.

Scanning mat

Tackiness: not tacky at all.

Sizes available: 12” and 24”.

Uses: to scan images for anything other than direct cutting. This mat is great because you can even put thin paper on it, without the risk of it tearing when you try to remove it.

SNC-Mats-DX Scanning

Low tack mat

Tackiness: low tackiness, ideal for cutting and scanning fragile materials.

Sizes available: 12” and 24”.

Uses: to cut and draw on paper, vellum and any fragile or thin materials.
SNC-Mats-DX Low Tack

Standard mat

Tackiness: medium. Good enough to keep card, vinyl and even balsa wood in place, especially when it’s new.

Sizes available: 12” and 24”.

Uses: to cut or draw on ‘normal’ materials up to 3mm thick, such as card, the template material for rhinestones, vinyl, thin metal for embossing, balsa wood, foam, leather, felt etc.

If you find that your Standard mat isn’t gripping delicate materials and fabric well enough, you can create more support by using a fabric mat (below) or using the High Adhesive Support sheets. To see how to prepare your standard mat for fabric with the High Adhesive Support sheet, follow our instructions here.

Tip: If you have some Standard mats with the High Adhesive Support sheets on and the sheet is no longer tacky, peel or scrape off the support sheet. Lightly wipe your mat down with a little liquid soap and water, then let it dry. You should now be able to use that mat as a standard mat again.
SNC-Mats-DX Standard

Fabric Mat

Tackiness: very tacky.

Sizes available: 12” only.

Uses: For cutting and drawing onto fabric and other materials that need a better grip, such as thin cottons and quilting fabrics. This mat replaces the previous solution of adding a High Adhesive Support sheet to a Standard mat. It is only available for the ScanNCut DX series.
SNC-Mats-DX Fabric

What should you consider when choosing a mat for your project?

  1. How much tack will you need to keep the material still while cutting or drawing? This may be influenced by which blade you choose – for example, the new rotary blade can cut very detailed fabric without needing a strong bond on your mat.
  2. How easy will it be to remove your materials from the mat after cutting or drawing without damaging or tearing?

Always do a test with your material before you start your main project. This will help you see which combination of mat and blade/pen will give you the best result.

Looking after your mats

Mats get less tacky over time. Here are some tips on how to make your mats last longer:

  1. If your mat has lots of fabric fibres on it - soak for about twenty minutes in the bathtub, with a little bit of dishwashing soap. Take the mat out and with your fingertips, gently rub the fibres stuck to it off. Rinse again and leave to dry.
  2. When you are cutting or drawing, place only the size of material you need on the mat, instead of covering the entire mat. This way you will only get fibre transfer on the area you have used. Use the background scanning function to see where your material is to place your design accurately.
  3. Use different areas of the mat – the machine will always place a design in the left top corner. If you cut in the same area all the time, the mat will wear out in that spot. This is especially true if you are cutting many sheets of the same design.
  4. Make sure that when you cut, the blade cuts through your material, but not too deeply into your mat. With the Auto Blade cutting pressure is automatically regulated, but you may need to manually change it. Just remember to change it back!
  5. Clean your mats straight after use and store them with the acetate cover sheet on. If your climate is very dry, or you have air conditioning in your workroom, store them in a plastic container or even just in the plastic bag they came in.

Recycle and upcycle!

When your mats are not as tacky as before, you can use a fabric mat as a standard mat, and a standard mat can become a low tack mat. If they are no longer tacky at all, it’s (sadly) time to replace them.

To cut down on waste I cut my old mats up to use as bag bottoms, templates, as stabilizer in fabric baskets – anywhere I need a stiff but flexible sheet.

Do you reuse your old mats? Tell us what you do with them!

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