Crafting · Sewing · Thrifting

Cheap Talk- How I Got a $50 Cutting Mat for $12.50

I’m so excited to tell you all about my rotary cutting mat!  I have to admit I did not set out to pay only $12.50 for it, but somehow the thrifty stars aligned for me and I got the deal of a lifetime.  My current cutting mat works just fine but unfortunately is too small when I cut pants patterns.  It is 18″ by 24″ and I purchased it last year without really understanding what I was going to be using it for.  Fast forward to last week.  I was up all night Thursday night into Friday morning researching cutting mats to replace the small one I already own.  I had narrowed it down to a June Tailor model at Hobby Lobby that I could get for a little over $17 with a 40% off coupon or a Dritz model at Joann that I could get for $25 with a 50% off coupon.  When I got to Hobby Lobby to see the mat in person, I decided against it because it was pretty hard and not self-healing.

So I headed over to Joann to check out the Dritz.  Unfortunately, there was only one in stock and it was warped in several places.  I really did not want to go to another location to get it so I proceeded to the checkout with the hopes that I could figure something out to fix it.  When I arrived at the counter, the cashier took one look at the cutting mat and offered it to me at a 75% discount because of the damage.  Of course I was ecstatic and even more determined to find a way to fix it.  The cashier then told me I could flatten it back out by leaving it out in the sun on a hot day.

When I got home, I started looking up other ways to fix a warped cutting mat.  I just don’t trust leaving my property outside for someone to steal or bugs to climb on.  The fast and seemingly most effective way I could find was in a video involving a wet towel and an iron.  So that’s what I did.  Take a look at the mat prior to being treated.  Notice all the hills and valleys on it?  I really think someone put this thing in their car on a hot day and forgot about it, then returned it to Joann.  Otherwise, I don’t know how it got this bad.

warpedmat warpedmat2 warpedmat3

To fix it, I laid it out on my cutting table and covered it with a wet towel.  I then ironed the towel on the hottest setting.  It took me about 20 minutes.  I realized halfway in to it that it was best for me to iron the lumps toward the edge of the mat.  Kinda like when you smooth the bubbles out of your screen protector.  Once the mat was flattened, I placed a flat cardboard box and two very heavy bins of fabric on top of it to make sure it stayed flat when it hardened.

warpedmat5warpedmat6flatmat flatmat2

With just a little effort, I now have a usable rotary cutting mat.  I thought $25 was a good deal for it, but I was more than happy to do the extra work with the deep discount I received.  I haven’t measured the squares yet to see if the measurements were thrown off by the heat treatment.  Luckily, I don’t even pay attention to the squares.  I use my mat strictly as a space to cut out my clothing patterns without tearing up my table.  If you want to know anything else about the process, feel free to leave a question or comment!  Peace.

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