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A cutting mat is essential for many craft projects. Self-healing cutting mats are a great way to protect your tabletop from sharp blades. Adhesive cutting mats are required for most materials when cutting with a Silhouette or Cricut. If a cutting mat is a standard item for many crafting projects, can you iron on a cutting mat, or will it get damaged beyond repair?
Crafting cutting mats are heat-resistant but are not designed to withstand the heat of an iron. Silhouette and Cricut adhesive cutting mats and self-healing mats will warp and be damaged by the heat of an iron. Industrial strength or dual purpose craft mats can be used with an iron without damaging them.
A cutting mat is a very necessary piece of equipment when using a digital die cutting machine like the Silhouette Cameo 4 or the Cricut cutting machines. Self-healing mats make for an amazing work surface for most crafting projects. But heat can also be a part of many craft projects. Learn more about how these craft mats will stand up against heat and what some other alternatives are instead.
Are Cutting Mats Heat Resistant?
Cutting mats are designed to protect a workspace or cutting machine from cutting damage and keep cutters and knife blades sharp for as long as possible.
Most cutting mats are made from a hard material like polyurethane plastic and are heat resistant to a point. Heat can, however, weaken the bonds of the material and the adhesive, which could cause it to become less flexible and eventually unusable.
A self-healing cutting mat is designed to absorb the cut from the blade. Generally, they are made from many layers of PVC, the particles are pressed together to create a solid surface that absorbs the cut from the blade, leaving no mark behind and prolonging the mat’s lifespan.
A crafting cutting mat can withstand a small amount of heat, so if you need a platform for a project involving a heat gun, a crafting cutting mat should be okay. If you need a cutting mat for any heavy-duty projects with lots of heat, we suggest buying a heavy-duty cutting mat instead of using your crafting mat.
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Heavy-duty industrial cutting mats are thicker than a standard crafting cutting mat and are designed for handling intensive work. A heavy-duty cutting mat is generally used as workbench protection so, if you have a complicated crafting project coming up, buy one of these to make your cutting and crafting jobs easier!
Cutting mats that are used with digital die cutting machines like the Cricut Maker and the Silhouette Cameo have an adhesive coating on them. Each cutting mat has enough heat resistance to use in the machine it was designed for, meaning it can withstand any heat created due to friction.
But cutting mats for these machines are not meant to withstand heat. Heat will warp an adhesive cutting mat and will likely damage the sticky coating. Learn more in my article about Why Cutting Mats Warp and How to Fix Them.
Can You Iron On A Cutting Mat?
Cutting mats aren’t built to last and will eventually wear out. Most cutting mats are made from plastic, so placing a hot iron directly onto them is not a good idea!
Self healing mats will warp under the heat of an iron. It’s unlikely that it will melt but a warped cutting mat is difficult to work with and can lead to inaccurate cuts.
The Cricut and Silhouette cutting mats have a sticky layer to hold projects in place to prevent the materials from sliding around when placed inside the cutting machine. Placing an iron on the sticky side will destroy the mat and make a mess of your iron!
The best way to keep your cutting mat in tip-top condition is to use it for the purpose it was designed for and not for any other crafting projects! Learn more in my article, How to Care for your Cutting mats.
Which Cutting Mat Can You Iron On?
As mentioned Cricut and Silhouette cutting mats should not be used as an ironing surface. Neither should self healing mats. Both will be damaged by the high heat from an iron
The best self-healing cutting mat to use for ironing are heavy-duty workbench mats. Do not use the green self-healing crafting cutting mats; there is a difference! The heavy-duty cutting mats are general-purpose, large, durable cutting mats suitable for ironing.
They are heat-resistant and fire retardant, so they can be used as a base for ironing, although you should always place an ironing cover over the mat to prolong its lifespan. Always follow the safety rules as directed before using an iron with the cutting mat.
Another option is a combination mat. These mats are specifically designed to be used for cutting or ironing. Many have one side designated for cutting and then another side for ironing. June Tailor is a well known brand in the quilting industry and makes high quality ironing and cutting mats.
Alternative Ironing Surfaces
If you need an ironing surface and don’t have an ironing board or a heavy-duty self-healing cutting mat to use, what other methods can you use for ironing your crafting projects?
Top Alternative Ironing Surfaces
- Find a firm surface like a table, a kitchen, bathroom counter, and cover with a thick towel or two.
- Purchase an ironing blanket that is heat and scorch-resistant and backed with a non-slip foam. Place over a hard surface before ironing.
- A clothes dryer is the perfect height for an ironing surface! Cover the top with a thick towel or an ironing blanket for easy ironing.
- Keep a small ironing board in your craft room for easy access.
Cutting mats have been designed for a specific purpose, cutting. Using your mat with extreme heat from an iron can badly damage or ruin your mat. Using a surface that is intended to be ironed on and withstand high heat will result in a better finished project.