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1.09.2013

The Pinterest Project Day 8: Reconditioning a Craft Cutting Mat

My Day 8 Pinterest Project sort of morphed into a Michelle project. This is because my perfectionist and hyper-controlling nature is to modify the instructions on just about everything I attempt. It's a sickness, I know. But, I used Pinterest, the mecca of all things craft and DIY to see if there was a great method for reconditioning the cutting mats I use with my Silhouette machine.

I know, you may be thinking, who sits around wondering how to recondition their craft mats. Um. Weird people like me? Or you may be thinking, what's a craft mat, and what's a Silhouette?

Good questions! A Silhouette is a machine for cutting shapes. It's like a printer, only with a blade instead of ink. You can cut out letters for crafts and scrapbooks, or make vinyl wall decals. 

Some people have something called a Cricut, but my Silhouette is a little different, in that you can design a shape on your computer and then cut it out. The machine uses little mats that remind me of the plastic I throw away regularly from inside packages of bacon. It's similar to the plastic that milk jugs are made of too. Uh, perhaps I shouldn't write blog posts when I'm hungry.

The plastic mat that comes from the factory is sticky. But it gets all gummed up with paper fuzz after a while. Yet, it needs to be a little sticky to hold the paper down while it is cutting your shape. Lightly sticky, like a Post-it note.

There are some nice tutorials online, like this one on the Imperfectly Beautiful blog on how to get those mats back in working order. This is a photo from that tutorial.
 Great post, but I needed the instructions for cleaning too. I found another one with instructions on a site called Michelle's Adventures With Digital Creations that included cleaning and re-sticking. Who can go wrong with someone named Michelle?

I didn't have all the supplies on hand for that method. I didn't have a glue pen, and the idea of taking a glue pen and scribbling all over the whole mat to make it sticky again after cleaning seemed very labor intensive. So did painting on Tack-it-Over glue.
 
So, I came up with my own method. Here goes!

This is how the mat looked before. Some of what you see are scratches. But trust me, it was full of paper pieces and goo.
Goo Gone is a perfect solution. I sprayed it all over the mat and left it sit for a few minutes. 
Then, I used an old gift card to scrape the mat. You can use a scraper from pampered chef, or  special mat scraper than comes in your Cricut accessory kit. But the gift card works super.
Eeww?!

After scraping, the fuzz and lint were gone, and the board was still a little tacky. This is okay. We need it a little sticky anyway. If yours needs a little more stickiness or if you purchased a mat that comes with no adhesive on it at all (a much cheaper option by the way compared to the ones that are specifically branded for your cutter), you'll need some adhesive spray. 

This is the SIMPLEST method of adding adhesive.
This is the kind of thing you need. It's repositionable adhesive. VERY important since you want light stickiness, not permanent adhesion. Your brand might be called temporary adhesive. This works too.

Give your mat a light spray when you are ready to use it and let it dry. Now, your mat is ready for many uses before needing another spray. After you get too many layers of spray buildup, repeat from step one above. 

I already had this adhesive on hand, since I had bought after market (been catching on to my motor-head hubby's auto parts terminology, I guess) supplies and my extra mats came unstickified and included this handy can of spray.

Pinterest tip: I did find one tip on Pinterest on one of the tutorials. Tape the edges of the mat or cover them in a thin strip of paper so that they don't get any adhesive on them when you spray. It's better for the wheels of your cutter if the edges aren't gummy when you feed it through. See? Pinterest is still worth something.


Now, I'm all ready for more crafting. They are scratched, but clean!

I'm going to call this a Pinterest success. Why? Because I just created a Pinterest pin to this post, in which I just demonstrated a method that works very well. And, because there are nuggets of help that can be mined from the other posts, as well.

Pinterest Project Score:
Successes-5
Fails - 3

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