Accidental gouges and scratches on kitchen counters and dining tables are the occasional byproducts of crafting and sewing at home. Many crafters and hobbyists lament these dings and abrasions inflicted upon their work surfaces. The best cutting mat eliminates this problem, so crafters can enjoy sewing, quilting, scrapbooking, and other hobbies without worrying about damaging countertops and tabletops. We researched dozens of cutting mats and tested 8 of the leading products to see which stood up to various cutting methods.
Whether you cut materials with scissors, craft or utility knives, or rotary cutters, there are mats designed for every type of cutting tool. They’re available in a variety of sizes and colors, imprinted with helpful grids and guidelines, and many of them come with self-healing properties. Read on to see our testing results of the best cutting mats along with helpful shopping information.
- BEST OVERALL: Dahle Vantage 10693 Self-Healing Cutting Mat
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Fiskars Small 12″x 18″ Cutting Mat
- BEST FOR ROTARY CUTTERS: Anezus Self-Healing Sewing Mat
- BEST FOR SEWING: Fiskars 3-Piece Rotary Cutting Mat Set
- BEST PORTABLE: Alvin Professional Self-Healing Cutting Mat
- BEST LARGE: Olfa Continuous Grid 35″ x 70″ Rotary Mat Set
- BEST FOR SMALL SPACES: Fiskars 14″ x 14″ Rotating Cutting Mat
- BEST FOR DIE-CUT MACHINES: ReArt Cutting Mat Variety 6 Pack
How We Tested the Best Cutting Mats
There are dozens of manufacturers of cutting mats. However, a few brands have a good reputation in the crafting world. We considered popular brands like Fiskars, Olfa, and Dahle, which are widely known and well respected, and some lesser-known brands that received high ratings from satisfied customers.
For each mat, we used a rotary blade, craft knife, box cutter, and pocket knife to test the durability of the surface and its self-healing ability. We cut through various materials, including card stock, leather, fabric, cardboard, and foam. We also considered how easy it was to read the measurements and make consistent and accurate cuts using the mat’s grid lines. Lastly, we rated each mat’s portability in case it would need to be moved to a new area.
Overall, the top cutting-mat brands performed well, further solidifying their reputations. We were also pleasantly surprised with the performance of the lesser-known brands, and we think they are excellent products for beginners or budget-minded crafters.
Our Top Picks
The picks below represent high-quality choices for self-healing, soft-surface, double-sided cutting mats that hold up to craft and utility knives, rotary cutters, and scissors. They’re also available in a variety of sizes, weights, and colors.
Imprinted with U.S. customary and metric rulers, grid lines in half-inch increments, and angled cutting guides, this 24-inch-long by 36-inch-wide Vantage cutting mat from Dahle offers double-sided versatility. The thick and durable polyvinyl chloride (PVC) material protects work surfaces and preserves the sharpness of cutting blades.
The Vantage cutting mat offers maximum self-healing properties due to its five PVC layers. After use, the cuts disappear, leaving behind a soft and smooth surface. This substantial 5-pound cutting mat features white grid lines that are screen printed on a blue background for increased visibility and minimal glare. Additionally, it can be used on both sides: one side for measured cutting along grid lines and the other side for freehand work.
A heavy-duty cutting mat is beneficial for quilting and paper crafts. The Dahle Vantage self-healing cutting mat withstood repeated cuts from rotary blades and utility knives due to its multilayer PVC construction. We found that the mat did not dull blades, and the self-healing layers maintained a smooth surface after multiple uses. The only con we found was that the mat is a tad heavy and may be hard for some people to move around. However, we also felt that its weight did help prevent the mat from shifting during use. It’s perfect for use in a dedicated craft space or work area that will not require the user to move it often.
Read our full review: Dahle Vantage 10693 Self-Healing Cutting Mat
- Grid size: 24 inches long by 36 inches wide
- Measuring and cutting guides: Inches, centimeters, and 45- and 60-degree angles
- Self-healing: Yes
- Surface remains undamaged after repeated use of rotary blades and utility knives
- Offers plenty of room to cut large pieces of fabric and paper
- Stays in place and does not shift during use due to its size and weight
- May be cumbersome for some to move due to size and weight
Get the Dahle cutting mat at Amazon, B&H, or Walmart.
Measuring only 12 inches long by 18 inches wide and weighing just 10.4 ounces, this double-sided cutting mat from Fiskars is easy to transport and store. Use it on multiple work surfaces throughout a home, workshop, or studio.
Both sides of this affordable cutting mat feature a highly visible grid that includes lines, inch marks, and angles. Bias guidelines for 30-, 45-, and 60-degree angles make it easy to cut triangular shapes. With self-healing properties, cut lines disappear from the soft, smooth surface of this cutting mat. Use both sides to extend the versatility and serviceable lifespan of the mat.
We own and have used Fiskars cutting mats for many years. They are affordable, lightweight, and can withstand repeated use. The best feature of this mat is its light and dark background grid options. The colors allow crafters to use one side of the mat for dark materials and the other for light materials. The colors make it easier to make accurate cuts when using materials of contrasting colors.
This Fiskars is our go-to mat for small crafting projects at home or on the go. The only downside of this mat is that it’s too small for large projects. However, shoppers can pair this affordable mat with the Dahle Vantage to cover all their cutting needs.
- Grid size: 12 inches long by 18 inches wide
- Measuring and cutting guides: Inches and 30-, 45-, and 60-degree angles
- Self-healing: Yes
- Lightweight and compact size makes it easy to carry and store
- Cut guides and grids are on both sides of the mat
- Light and dark sides make the mat more versatile for cutting light and dark materials
- Not suitable to use for cutting large items due to its smaller size
Get the Fiskars small cutting mat at Amazon, Michaels, or Joann (18″ x 24″ size).
Five layers of PVC material work together to self-heal and maintain a continually smooth surface on this cutting mat from Anezus. The hard PVC core lends stability and durability. Along with protecting work surfaces from scratches and gouges, the five-ply PVC material prevents rotary blades, X-Acto knife blades, and other craft tools from becoming dull with use.
The green surface color features clearly imprinted white grid lines that are easy on the eyes for both centimeter and inch measurements, along with angles, circles, and shapes. Both sides of this double-sided cutting mat are also imprinted with cutting guidelines. Easily flip over this 12.1-ounce cutting mat for versatility and to extend its usable life.
Rotary cutters are the go-to tools for quilters. The Anezus sewing mat easily withstands multiple passes with the sharp rotary blades, leaving the surface as good as new. It also does a great job of holding up to repeated cuts from utility knives. We also liked that in addition to the angle, metric, and standard units of measurement on the mat, it also features hexagon, circle, and oval shape measurements.
The only drawback we found with this mat is that it is not precisely 12 inches long by 18 inches wide as advertised. It measured about 11.5 inches long by 17.5 inches wide in total. and the grid on one side measures 11 inches long by 17 inches wide. While this isn’t a deal breaker, we thought it was odd.
- Grid size: 11 inches long by 17 inches wide
- Measuring and cutting guides: Inches, centimeters, 45- and 90-degree angles, circles, ovals, triangles, and hexagons
- Self-healing: Yes
- Heavy-duty but lightweight, so it easily fits in bags for use anywhere
- Features shape templates in addition to inch, centimeter, and angle measurements
- Rotary blades effortlessly glide over the surface without leaving noticeable cut lines
- Advertised size is not accurate
Get the Anezus cutting mat at Amazon or Walmart.
Fiskars 3-piece rotary cutting mat set pairs its iconic 18-inch-by-24-inch self-healing cutting mat with two other essentials for sewing: a 6-inch-by-24-inch clear acrylic ruler and a 45-millimeter rotary blade. The acrylic ruler includes highlighted seam allowance for strip cutting and a grid for simplified shape cutting. The 45-millimeter rotary blade features an ergonomic handle. It easily cuts multiple layers of fabric and allows the user to make more accurate, straight cuts without jagged edges.
The 18-inch-by-24-inch mat features an easy-to-read measuring grid and a self-healing surface found on all of Fiskars’ cutting mats. However, this set’s stand-out feature is that it folds in half for easy storage. The set is an affordable way to get three essential tools for sewing and crafting.
We are fans of Fiskars tools and have used the brand’s cutting mats, rotary blades, and rulers for many years. This three-piece set performed just as well as any of our other Fiskars products. We did like that the mat folded in half, making it easier to place in a bag or tuck away for storage. The mat holds up to repeated cuts from the rotary blade and craft knives. The only drawback we found was that the mat is not double-sided. However, the back of the mat features a felt nonskid surface that prevents the mat from shifting while cutting.
- Grid size: 18 inches long by 24 inches wide
- Measuring and cutting guides: Inches; centimeters; and 30-, 45-, and 60-degree angles
- Self-healing: Yes
- Features a felt nonskid backing that helps to prevent the mat from shifting while cutting
- Lightweight and foldable for easy storage and portability
- Provides 3 essential tools for sewing and crafting at a reasonable price
- Offers only 1 side for cutting
- Only available in light or dark gray, making it less versatile than dual-sided Fiskars mats
Get the Fiskars 3-piece cutting mat set at Amazon, Joann, or Walmart.
Alvin’s professional-quality cutting mats are made from a composite vinyl material designed for rotary and straight utility blades. Available in a variety of sizes, all the mats are 3 millimeters thick and double-sided for versatility. The surface is nonglare, self-healing, and double-sided. The smallest Alvin mat is 3.5 inches long by 5.5 inches wide. It features an inch grid in white on both sides with a green background on one side and black on the other.
We like mats that offer dual color options because it makes it easier to cut dark and light materials when using a contrasting background color. This mat easily withstood repeated cuts from rotary and craft blades in testing. The only downside we found was that the mat only has U.S. customary measurements. We like the added convenience of having metric measurements on cutting mats because it makes cutting smaller items more accurate when there are measurements down to the millimeter. However, for a small mat, we found it just as durable as the larger mats we tested. Its small size makes it easy to pop it in bags and pockets, making it simple to take anywhere.
- Grid size: 3.5 inches long by 5.5 inches wide
- Measuring and cutting guides: Inches
- Self-healing: Yes
- Features the same 5-ply construction as the larger Alvin self-healing mats
- Small size is easy to put in bags and pockets and is great for crafting on the go
- Double-sided mat in 2 colors, making cutting materials in contrasting colors easier
- Features only U.S. customary measurements and no metric measurement options
Get the Alvin cutting mat at Amazon or Art Supply.
The Olfa continuous grid rotary mat set consists of three 23.33-by-35-inch mats that connect to create a large area for seamless cutting. The set has four clips that tightly hold the mats together, forming a continuous grid, and features numerical measurement in U.S. customary units and angles only.
These mats are double-sided with yellow grid lines on one side for precision cutting and solid green on the opposite for general cutting. The mat’s 1.5-millimeter-thick self-healing surface extends the life of rotary blades, and its large surface area allows more than one person to cut at a time.
We had used several Olfa mats before and always appreciated their durability and functionality. We liked that this mat can be used as one large mat or three smaller mats if needed. They easily clip together and come apart. Its surface handled multiple cuts with rotary blades and craft knives. The grid and angle lines are easy to read, making precise measurements a cinch.
The only con we noticed with this mat was its smell. Upon opening, it gave off a strong chemical odor. Olfa claims that the smell does dissipate over time and suggests gently washing the mat with a mild household cleaner to speed up the process, which did not work for us. We imagine it will eventually go away, but in the meantime, be sure to use it in a well-ventilated area.
- Grid size: 35 inches long by 70 inches wide
- Measuring and cutting guides: Inches; 30-, 45-, and 60-degree angles
- Self-healing: Yes
- Can be used on 1 large cutting surface or 3 smaller surfaces
- Yellow contrasting grid lines are easy to read and offer bias/angle measurements
- Durable, thin mats are easy to move despite their large surface area
- Emits a strong chemical odor that takes a long time to dissipate
Get the Olfa cutting mat at Amazon, Joann, or Target.
The Fiskars rotating cutting mat simplifies cutting fabric squares, quilt blocks, and more. It features a self-healing surface and easy-to-read measuring grids in inches. It also features 30-, 45-, and 60-degree bias lines that help make creating triangle and star shapes easy.
Rotating cutting mats are popular among quilters because they can easily square up quilt blocks accurately. It rotates 360 degrees, allowing users to make accurate cuts without lifting the fabric or mat. Each time a ruler is moved when cutting, the odds of inaccurate cutting increase. Trimming fabric without having to pick up the ruler and risk losing the ruler’s placement is the best perk of a rotating cutting mat.
This rotating mat is also perfect for small spaces because it allows users to sew and trim without getting up from their place at the sewing machine. This rotating ruler is a mainstay in our craft room, holding up to rotary blades and craft knives. It fits nicely next to a machine or in a small crafting space. Our only con for this mat is that it’s only designed for fabrics smaller than 13.5 inches squared, despite being 14 inches squared. Anything larger than 13.5 inches makes it hard to see the corresponding measurement marks on the opposite sides of the mat. However, for quilting or small projects, this mat is perfect.
- Grid size: 13 inches squared
- Measuring and cutting guides: Inches; 30-, 45-, and 60-degree angles
- Self-healing: Yes
- Rotating mechanism makes it easy to trim items without moving them or lifting the mat
- Fits in a project tote and rotates to help users cut and trim the fabric at easier angles
- Surface is large enough for quick trims on quilt blocks, pant cuffs, or fabrics less than 12 inches squared
- It’s difficult to cut anything on this mat more than 13.5-inches squared
Get the Fiskars rotating cutting mat at Amazon, Joann, or Walmart.
Die-cut machines utilize specialty mats with tacky surfaces to help keep material in place while cutting. Eventually, after repeated use, the mats need to be replaced. The ReArt variety pack features six mats in two sizes and three grip levels to help keep users crafting without putting a dent in their wallets.
The multipurpose mats work with many materials, including patterned paper, card stock, and vinyl. The mats are color-coded and feature three levels of tackiness: light, standard, and strong grip. The set has three 12-by-12-inch mats and three 12-by-24-inch mats in the three grip levels. Each mat is protected by a transparent film cover to keep dust and debris off the surface when not in use. The mats work well with top die-cutting machines, including the Cricut Explore and Silhouette Cameo.
Overall, these cutting mats performed just as well as mats made by Cricut and Silhouette. However, they are thinner than the brand mats. Nonetheless, the mats did a great job of keeping card stock and vinyl in place while cutting. The materials were easy to remove without damage. The only con we noticed was that the cutting lines made by the machine seemed to stand out more than the cuts made on the brand mats. This isn’t a deal breaker; it just means it may not last as long as the brand-name mats. Overall, the ReArt mats are worth purchasing as an inexpensive replacement mat for the Cricut and Silhouette machines.
- Grid size: 12 inches squared and 12 inches long by 24 inches wide
- Measuring and cutting guides: Inches and centimeters
- Self-healing: No
- The mats are color-coded and feature 3 grip levels: light, standard, and strong
- The set has three 12-by-12-inch mats and three 12-by-24-inch mats
- The mats work well with top die-cutting machines made by Cricut and Silhouette
- Machine cuts seem more pronounced on these mats than on brand mats
Get the ReArt cutting mat set at Amazon.
What to Consider When Choosing a Cutting Mat
The best cutting mat for DIY projects can become a favorite item in the studio, workshop, craft room, or sewing room. Before choosing a mat, consider the types of cutting procedures it will facilitate as well as the most frequently used cutting tools. The size, thickness, and weight of the mat are important factors. Additionally, the surface finish and imprinted cutting guidelines add value to a cutting mat. Keep reading to explore essential considerations for choosing the best cutting mat.
Before selecting the best cutting mat, think about its intended use as well as the physical parameters of the work space. Cutting mats serve numerous purposes for crafters, hobbyists, artists, and sewing enthusiasts. Consider the advantages of various cutting mats for protecting surfaces from rotary blades, X-Acto knives, utility knives, scissors, and other tools.
In addition to protecting work surfaces from damage, cutting mats preserve the sharpness and prolong the usable life of cutting blades. Different cutting mats also offer advantages for diverse functions based on their varying thicknesses and self-healing qualities.
Cutting mats are available in a variety of sizes to suit the intended uses of DIY enthusiasts. For some applications, large nonportable cutting mats may provide the most favorable service. On the other hand, DIYers who intend to transport their cutting mats or use them for light work may opt for small, lightweight, and portable versions.
Most cutting mats available on the market today are constructed from compressed layers of PVC. PVC is a dense, thermoplastic polymer, and the flexible, plasticized PVC in cutting mats is bendable, unlike the rigid PVC used in plumbing pipes and agricultural applications.
The surface of a self-healing cutting mat is composed of tiny, separate PVC fibers that are compressed together. When a blade cuts into the mat, it passes between those fibers rather than cutting into them. Following the cut, the fibers return to their normal position, and it appears that the surface has “healed” itself.
Generally speaking, cutting mats are not thick items. They are intended to serve as coverings for solid, substantial work surfaces, such as tables and countertops. However, high-quality cutting mats should be no less than ⅛ inch thick, as blades can cut through thinner mats. Most cutting mats range in thickness from ⅛ to ⅓ inches. They prevent accidents where rotary or knife blades cut through and damage the work surface.
In addition to overall thickness, users may consider the number of layers (plies) of PVC material in cutting mats. Manufacturers label cutting mats as three-ply or five-ply to indicate the number of PVC layers compressed in a mat. These are desirable thicknesses that offer durability and prolong the life of cutting blades. Additionally, a design in which the inner layer (core) of PVC is thicker than the outer layers provides a self-healing quality and prevents cutting through the mat.
Hard vs. Soft Surface
As mentioned above, the small compressed PVC fibers in a soft-surface cutting mat allow knife blades to pass between rather than cut through the mat. After a cut, these fibers return to their original position, and the surface appears to “heal.” In addition to maintaining the smooth, unblemished appearance of the cutting mat, soft-surface construction prolongs the sharpness and functionality of cutting blades.
Alternatively, hard-surface cutting mats made from glass and other hard materials allow blades to skim over the surface, rather than cutting into it. They do not feature self-healing qualities and may dull the blades of cutting tools over time.
The optimal surface texture for a cutting mat is neither too smooth nor too rough. Overly smooth textures tend to reflect light, producing a glaring effect. This distraction can cause eye strain and inaccurate cutting for crafters and sewers. On the other hand, textures that are too rough may negatively affect cutting accuracy, as blades might snag on rough surfaces.
A smooth matte finish reduces glare but does not present the problems of excessively rough textures. However, it is essential that cutting mats do not slip or slide on work surfaces during use. A nonskid surface is desirable for peace of mind and safety while working with sharp cutting blades.
Double-Sided vs. Single-Sided
Double-sided cutting mats offer greater usefulness, as users can flip them over and work on the other side. A five-ply cutting mat provides two soft outer layers on each side of a thicker inner layer. A three-ply cutting mat features a single outer layer on either side of a hard core layer. Both designs provide durability and extend the life of these self-healing cutting mats.
Most cutting mats include measurement markings, grid lines, and cutting guidelines for specific angles and shapes imprinted on their surfaces. Some double-sided cutting mats feature a wide array of cutting guidelines with distinct sets of grid lines on both sides. DIYers may flip these mats to reveal the desired angles and shapes for their projects.
With the ability to protect work surfaces and preserve cutting blades, a cutting mat makes DIY projects safer and more enjoyable. Additionally, a cutting mat with self-healing properties offers long-term service and opens up possibilities for employing a variety of DIY tools. When using a new cutting mat, the answers to these common questions may be helpful.
Q. What is a self-healing cutting mat?
Cutting mats are “self-healing” when no marks are left behind from cutting tools. These mats are made of tiny, separate pieces of PVC material that are compressed together. This allows a blade to cut between these pieces, followed by them closing back together or “healing” after the blade is removed.
Q. What should I look for in a cutting mat?
The thickness of the cutting mat should offer at least three layers of PVC material, and the inner layer (core) should be thicker than the softer outer layers. Additionally, the self-healing quality adds value to a cutting mat. Look for a size that can accommodate most DIY projects.
Q. How do I maintain my cutting mat?
Store the flattened cutting mat away from extreme temperatures and sunlight. Don’t roll it up for storage. Clean the cutting mat occasionally with mild dish soap and water, and dry it using a lint-free cloth.
Q. How long do cutting mats last?
Cutting mats should last 5 to 10 years, depending on how frequently they are used and how well they are cared for.
Q. What is the best cutting mat for knives?
The best cutting mat for knives is a heavy-duty self-healing mat with multiple layers, like the Dahle cutting mat. This mat features five-ply PVC layers that can withstand repeated cuts of knives, rotary blades, utility knives, and more.
Why Trust Bob Vila
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Meet the Tester
Debbie Wolfe is a photographer, author, and freelance writer in various niches. She has contributed hundreds of home, garden, and crafting articles and DIY tutorials for leading media outlets and retailers, including HGTV, Real Simple, Forbes Advisor, The Spruce, The Home Depot, Walmart, and Mother Earth News. She is the author of two DIY books: Do-It-Yourself Garden Projects and Crafts and Crafting with Herbs, from Skyhorse Publishing. Her testing approach is straightforward and budget minded.
Additional research provided by Carol Benton.