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Self-Healing Cutting Mats: How to Cut Them to Size

A self-healing cutting mat (or rhino cutting mat, as they are also known) is an extremely useful tool for any professional in the sign industry, as well as printers, designers, dressmakers, and many other crafters. They provide a large cutting surface that is safe for a rotary cutter and can be used over and over again without leaving marks. They can be purchased in standard sizes from medium to super large and are often available in custom sizes to fit a particular production table or counter.

However, there are times when you need to cut your rhino rug to size. Maybe you moved it from a larger table to a smaller one, maybe custom sizes weren’t available or more expensive? So what’s the best way to trim a self-healing cutting mat to size?

clean cut
If you want to keep clutter to a minimum, scoring is the answer. Score it with a long straight edge, apply bending pressure, and then score it again. It will cut quickly and cleanly this way.

fast and messy
A circular saw will get the job done in no time if you don’t mind cleaning up the mess! Make sure you have your industrial vacuum close at hand.

curved edges, irregular shapes
If your production space has curved edges or an irregular shape, try cutting the mat in place to fit the shape with a router. Hold the mat in place and use a flush cut bit, running it around the table. This is also quick and easy, if a bit tricky.

Once you’ve trimmed your rhino cutting mat to exact size, your production table is ready for cutting, trimming, and all those other tasks. If you have some reasonably sized clippings, don’t throw them away. They can be used to make mini cutting mats for smaller jobs, or portable cutting mats for when you’re out and about and need to do some last minute trimming modifications. Even a small A4-sized piece goes a long way, so trim the cutouts into usable pieces and save them for future use.

Of course, many places that supply self-healing cutting mats will cut them to custom sizes at no extra charge, so check first when you buy a new one. You could easily skip the hassle of cutting yours to size and receive it already with a perfect fit for your table.

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